World News and Trends: Growing German power and influence

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Growing German power and influence

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So said Otto von Bismarck, the architect of the new Germany after the unification of Prussia, Bavaria and other principalities in 1871. Nearly 130 years have since passed, encompassing German redivision into two states in 1945 followed by official reunification four decades later on Oct. 3, 1990.

Some members of the British press have traditionally concerned themselves with German ascendancy in Europe. Reported Philip Sherwell from Bonn: "Two weeks after the launch of the Euro, Germany's left-wing leaders are unveiling their blueprints for a federal Europe built on the back of the single currency."

In reacting to German aspirations through a feature editorial, The Daily Mail bluntly stated: "What Germany wants, Germany will get. This is the clear message. And anyone who still has not realised who will rule the roost in the fast-developing European superstate should take note."

Meanwhile Berlin is in the beginning steps of replacing Bonn as the German capital. A British paper noted that "one of the defining symbols of the millennium is the rebirth of Berlin." A massive architectural program is meeting the progressive needs of the burgeoning capital.

These developments in Central Europe have reawakened British concern. Said Tom Bower in a two-page Daily Mail feature article: "As Germany takes up the presidency of the European Union, strengthened by the birth of the Euro, unease has spread that the country's powerful influence could resurrect its historical bid for domination."

The shadow of two world wars hangs heavy over Europe. Britain in particular is manifesting unease about German intentions in spite of the nation's visible efforts during the last 50 years to live down the past. (Sources: The Times [London]; The Daily Mail [London].)