Brad DeLong agrees with Daniel Drezner that, in a time in which the world’s news agenda is once again dominated by hatred and violence, it is important to remember that keeping up the hope for a peaceful future is not necessarily in vain.
Let us give thanks that the most brutal and blood-soaked border in the world is quiet – a border inhabited on both sides by those bloodthirsty peoples who have been numbers one and two in terms of the most effective killers of foreigners for centuries: the Germans and the French.
It is now 59 years and 9 months since an army crossed the Rhine River bearing fire and sword. This is the longest period of peace on the Rhine since the second century B.C.E., before the Cimbri and the Teutones appeared to challenge the armies of the consul Gaius Marius in the Rhone Valley.
I’m not sure about those 59 years being the longest period of peace since the second century B.C.E., but having lived on the Rhine’s left bank, close to the westward-watching “Wacht am Rhein” (the Niederwalddenkmal or “Germania” – a monument erected after the foundation of the German Reich in 1871), for most of my life, those 59 years are clearly the ones that matter to me.
Franco-German FriendshipAnd, in light of the recent transatlantic history, let me add that the photo of a French friend and myself in front of the memorial was taken by an American tourist – we do remember which fire bearing army made the Franco-German approchement possible.