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GERMAN NATIONAL ANTHEM
   DAS LIED DER DEUTSCHEN
German Words:                                                                English Translation:   
   
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit Unity and Right and Freedom
Für das Deutsche Vaterland. For the German fatherland
Danach laßt uns alle streben, Let us all strive for that
Brüderlich mit Herz und Hand. As brothers, with heart and hand.
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit Unity and Right and Freedom
Sind des Glückes Unterpfand. Are the foundation for happiness.
Blüh' im Glanze dieses Glückes, Bloom in the glow of this happiness,
Blühe deutsches Vaterland. Bloom, German fatherland.
   
The "official" name of the German National Anthem is Das Lied der Deutschen, or simply, Das Deutschlandlied. The song is often called Deutschland ueber Alles, simply because those are the opening words of the first stanza. It is virtually unknown today that the expression "über alles," or "before all [others]" refers not to the conquest or enslavement of other countries or the establishment of German hegemony over other peoples, but rather to a call for all Germans to abandon their concept of being a subject or citizen of this or that principality or region (such as Bavaria or Prussia) and to realize the common bond they had with one another by simply being German. This concept was considered "revolutionary" at the time the words were written in 1841, since loyalty to "Germany" was considered by the princelings and kings of the disunited Reich (divided into 40-plus separate states) to be disloyalty to themselves.
 
The song's words were penned by the teacher Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, who had been a fervent supporter of German unity and republican government, and who, because of his activities on behalf of these causes, was forced to flee to the North Sea island of Helgoland, where the verses were actually written. The music is taken from the String Quartet in C major, Op. 76,3 of Joseph Haydn, composed in 1797. It was officially ignored during most of the Second Reich, the Weimar Republic (1871 to 1918), which had no official anthem as such.
 
The Deutschlandlied's real popularity began with World War I, when it was sung on the battlefield by young soldiers from every Gau (county) of the Reich who were thrown together against a common foe.
 
The first President of the German Republic, Friedrich Ebert, officially introduced the "Deutschland Lied" as the National Anthem in 1922.
 
In May 1952, the third verse of the "Deutschland Lied" was proclaimed the anthem of the Federal Republic of Germany by President Theodor Heuss.
 
 
 

 

 

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