The people's voice of reason


When and where is it all going to end? Ever since I was a little kid, I have loved Germany and the German people. When I was five years old, my father took my brother and me to see the movie, The Blue Max, starring George Peppard and Ursula Andress. It is the story of a brutal, callous, cold blooded killer named Bruno Stachel who flew for the Germans in World War One. I still watch this movie at least once or twice every year. But as a little kid, the aviation scenes and the cool German uniforms all served to make an impression on me that I still love to this day. This event led me to studying German language and eventually A LOT of German military history, in particular WWII aviation history. My first book, Hans-Joachim Marseille: An Illustrated Tribute to the Luftwaffe's Star of Africa, is about a young, very anti-Nazi German pilot who fought and died in North Africa early in the war. I have studied this pilot's life my entire adult life and continue to this day.

Yes, I do love Germany and the Germans. In 1986, I was on temporary duty (TDY) in Keflavik, Iceland when I saw an AWACS aircraft sitting on the ramp. I had seen dozens of AWACS before but this one had strange markings. NATO + OTAN adorned the fuselage with a red lion on the vertical stabilizer. What?? I immediately inquired about the plane and found out it was a NATO AWACS out of Geilenkirchen, Germany and the crew was staying on the other side of the base. I literally ran over there and met many of the crew. One of the Americans gave me a phone number and I called the command post in Germany right then. I got a Major Dan Gellenbeck on the line, told him who I was and that I wanted to go fly for them. He told me they were looking for young American pilots and gave me a contact at our assignment folks in San Antonio. I called and put my name in the proverbial hat. In all my excitement about the possibility of flying in Germany, with Germans no less, I forgot to call my new bride. Luckily she was pretty much onboard right away. Yes, I pestered the living heck out of my assignment guy and within three months I had the assignment to Germany.

What followed was arguably the best six years of my life, certainly of my military career. Flying in Germany with all international crews, living in a German village and my wife I being accepted as members of that community and for me, the opportunity to meet several WWII Luftwaffe pilots I had read about growing up was the best. More important, however, I got to really know and understand a lot of the German culture first hand and the way they think, both good and bad. Music, science, industry, art, architecture, religion, mathematics, you name it. The German people have excelled in all of these and their culture reflects this. This is the point of this Robservation.

In my office in Geilenkirchen, I had portraits of several German aces hanging on my walls. My ceiling was adorned with German and American airplanes. Many of my German squadron mates would come in, sit down and just look around and smile. They would say, "Rob, only you could have an office like this in all of Germany." Being a black guy, clearly nobody with half a brain could accuse me of being a Nazi or sympathetic to their cause. You see, in the portraits, these men were in uniform and of course the hated Swastika was displayed on some of their medals. The German airplanes hanging from my ceiling had Swastikas on their tails (historical accuracy is important to me). In Germany, folks, the Swastika is illegal to display. Even actual aircraft in museums have the Swastika removed from the tails and in many other museums and squadron heraldry rooms, any images deemed "politically incorrect" have been removed for fear of offense. So if a squadron flew in WWII and one of their pilots donated medals or memorabilia to the squadron, in many cases they have been done away with. For what it is worth, the USAF is currently doing the same thing with images of airplanes from WWII with "offensive" nose art.

In discussions with MANY of my German squadron mates and friends, it became painfully obvious that they knew almost NOTHING of their WWII history. If they or anybody on the base had questions about German WWII aviation history, it was me they came to. In short, and rightfully so, they had a lot of shame to deal with. One cannot simply walk away from the holocaust without a really bad taste in one's mouth and severe damage to the national German psyche. One of the most brutal and morally incomprehensible acts in human history is a painful pill to swallow. I get that.

Now let's flash forward to present day and the influx of the refugees entering Germany. I know I have covered this in the past but it seems every day or so there is another aspect that spins my head around. Recently, in certain areas of Germany, the government has approved the banning of pork products on menus for fear of upsetting the Muslim refugees. W-what?? Then last week, it was reported that advertisements depicting those very pretty, busty beer maidens in Oktoberfest were going to be outlawed because they could be "offensive" to the newest members of the non-conforming German population. Just look at some of the stories. And to think that many of these stupid decisions are coming on the heels of all the sexual assaults on New Year's Day that I wrote about a couple of months ago.

The problem I see right now with Germany is that in an attempt to placate the restless masses and while running from their Nazi past, many in the German government, and society as a whole, are becoming traitors to their own culture and people by willfully and woefully allowing outsiders to come and dictate to them how they run Germany. And yes, the immigrants are taking advantage of it. In a misguided attempt to show the world that they are not racist and totally inclusive in their views, the German culture traitors are eroding those aspects of German culture that guess what? Make it German culture. If those who have busted through the borders don't like German culture as it is, uh, leave! Pretty simple, huh? Go to and see how Russians deal with boorish behavior. And you know what, I never heard Putin apologize. Good on him!!

In the end, I want to see "my Germany" survive intact. No pork? Shut up! No beer maidens? Grow some. I believe Winston Churchill said it best. An appeaser is someone who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last. There should NEVER be any cultural appeasement in this way. Never. By ignoring their own history, I unfortunately feel the Germans are falling victim to the same ignorance that many societies have suffered throughout history. If they look back at Adolf Hitler and his rise to power and initial military successes, these all came because the people in the West appeased him and refused to fight day one for what they knew to be correct. They allowed evil and dissention to grow until major conflict was the only, inevitable outcome. The German people today are themselves those people in the West who are standing by and allowing evil to take root without fighting for what is right what is true. Winston Churchill also said, "The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance my deride it, but in the end; there it is." So what are you going to do, Germany? Remember Kenny Rogers' song, "Coward of the County?" You don't have to fight to be a man, but sometimes when you are a man, you have to fight. Wake up and smell the Schnitzel, my brothers, the clock is ticking.


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