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Beach towels and Brexit: how Germans really see the Brits

The strategy that Germany's diplomatic corps proposed to keep Britain in the European community was unconventional and bold. In November 1974, the then German chancellor Helmut Schmidt was desperately searching for the right words to convince British Eurosceptics to vote to remain a member of the European Economic Community. Schmidt had been offered a generous slot of 10 to 15 minutes at the Labour party conference, but a number of leftwing MPs had already announced they would walk out on his speech if he tried to "lecture" them.

Katharina Focke, the German federal minister for youth, family and health, had some ingenious advice to offer after an informative meeting with her British counterpart Barbara Castle: "The only way to keep Britain in the European Community," she wrote to Schmidt, "is not to remind it that it is already in."

But the show, which has already attracted 60,000 visitors since opening in July, not only tells the story of Britain's effort to first join and then pull out of the European Union, but paints a mournful picture of what Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper called an "unrequited love".

"The Germans love the Brits and everything that is British," House of History's president Hans Walter Hütter told the regional newspaper Rheinische Post. "In exchange, we have mainly got British reserve."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Oct 1st, 2019 at 03:58:19 AM EST
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