Obama to Give Berlin Speech at Famous Hitler Monument? [Updated]
by rayj, Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 02:25:19 PM EDT
This is some embarrassing advance work by Team Obama in picking the Siegessäule monument instead of the originally suggested Brandenburg Gate.
According to Der Spiegel:
The exact location of Obama's speech (more...) had become a matter of intense speculation in Berlin after his campaign team originally suggested an appearance at the Brandenburg Gate. Many, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, questioned whether the site -- where Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both spoke when they were in the White House -- was appropriate for a candidate (more...). Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, who is a major figure in Germany's Social Democrats, was in favor of the Brandenburg Gate site and the Obama visit quickly became yet another excuse for German politicians to fire off barbs at each other. ...UPDATE:Since I've been accused of ignorance in German history by a few commenters, here is why I called Siegessaule a Hitler monument:
Still, even as the issue of his speech's location has now been settled, a number of politicians in Berlin are still dissatisfied with the site. The Siegessäule -- or Victory Column -- was erected in memory of Prussia's victories over Denmark (1864), Austria (1866) and France (1870/71). The column originally stood in front of the Reichstag, Germany's parliament building, but was moved by Adolf Hitler to its current location in 1939 to make way for his planned transformation of Berlin into the Nazi capital "Germania."
"The Siegessäule in Berlin was moved to where it is now by Adolf Hitler. He saw it as a symbol of German superiority and of the victorious wars against Denmark, Austria and France," the deputy leader of the Free Democrats, Rainer Brüderle, told Bild am Sonntag. He raised the question as to "whether Barack Obama was advised correctly in his choice of the Siegessäule as the site to hold a speech on his vision for a more cooperative world."
Andreas Schockenhoff of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats said, "the Siegessäule in Berlin is dedicated to a victory over neighbors who are today our European friends and allies. It is a problematic symbol."
1. The Reichstag (German Parliament) where we learned of Hitler's rise to power, how the Russians captured it and how it again became the German seat of power again after reunification.Like I said originally, this is just really bad advance work by Obama's people. He should have just gone with the Brandenburg Gate.
2. Siegessaule, the 1873 victory column commemorating the formation of a consolidated Germany. Hitler added a fourth section honoring himself and had it moved to its present location.