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The German National Anthem

Germany

Anthem

The anthem has 3 stanzas though only the last one is the official one:

Official Anthem
third stanza
Translation
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Für das deutsche Vaterland!
Danach lasst uns alle streben
Brüderlich mit Herz und Hand!
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Sind des Glückes Unterpfand;
Blüh im Glanze dieses Glückes,
Blühe, deutsches Vaterland
Unity and justice and freedom
for the German fatherland!
For these let us all strive
brotherly with heart and action!
Unity and justice and freedom
are the pledge of fortune;
flourish in this fortune's blessing,
Flourish, German fatherland

History of the Anthem

The music was composed by the Austrian musician Joseph Haydn (1732-1809). The lyrics in the third stanza are from the poem "Das Lied der Deutschen" (Song of the Germans) from Hoffman von Fallersleben (1798-1874).

The other two stanzas of this poem are:

Poem
der Deutschen
Translation
Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
Über alles in der Welt,
Wenn es stets zu Schutz und Trutze
Brüderlich zusammenhält;
Von der Maas bis an die Memel,
von der Etsch bis an den Belt:
Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
Über alles in der Welt!
Germany, Germany above everything,
above everything in the world,
when, for protection and defense, it always
takes a brotherly stand together.
From the Meuse to the Memel,
from the Adige to the Belt,
Germany, Germany above everything,
Above everything in the world!
Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang
Sollen in der Welt behalten
Ihren alten schönen Klang,
Uns zu edler Tat begeistern
Unser ganzes Leben lang:
Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang!
German women, German loyalty,
German wine and German song
Shall retain in the world
Their old beautiful chime
and inspire us to noble deeds
during all of our life.
German women, German loyalty,
German wine and German song!

Notes to understand the poem:

  • Meuse (river that passes through France, Belgium and the Netherlands)
  • Memel (river that passes through Lithuania and Russia)
  • Adige (Italian river)
  • Belt (refers to the Straits of Denmark)

At the time the poem was written, Germany still was not a country. It was divided into small regions which is why this poet tried to encourage the idea of German unity.

Deutschland über alles

The current melody with the poem from Hoffman von Fallersleben was adopted as an anthem after World War I. During the time of Nazism the first verse was used as a tool for justifying expansionism: "Deutschland über alles" (Germany above everything). It is for this reason that the third stanza was chosen as the only part of the National Anthem after World War II; it was to avoid causing any resentment.




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