10 common German prejudices about the USA

Whenever people talk about the USA, it doesn’t take long until you hear sentences that start with “That’s typical. Americans are all…”. Well, what are you? I’ve asked around, talked to people and this is a list of the 10 prejudices I’ve heard most often.

- Americans are extremely superficial.
I tend to blame this on the celebrity culture on both sides. I hear that superstition a lot, but I can’t really see us Germans being different. Yes, I guess you are superficial, but so are we.

- What’s with all the fast food?
The biggest fast food chains in Germany: McDonald’s & Burger King. Of course there are also some Subways, KFC and Pizza Huts. When we think fast food, we think America. And to be honest: I think Americans DO eat more fast food, although I have never heard of a decent Doener Kebap in the US. That’s Germany’s favorite fast food.

- You like to watch how people die, but not how they are made.
This is one of my prejudices about the US. After the “Janet Jackson incident” at the Superbowl, I got an IM from an American. It went something like this: He: “You wouldn’t believe what happened. JJ’s tit fell out. I could totally see it!” Me: “So?”. On the other hand you have no problem with violence in movies. That’s where I’m some kind of wuss. What can I say? I’m more of a productive type ;).

- Americans are war mongers.
Sorry, but you’ll have to live with this prejudice. Foreigners will always judge you by the actions of you government. I don’t know anyone personally who voted for Bushes second term. But if you did, let me use this opportunity to say: You fucked up!

- Beer will kill you, guns won’t.
Minimum age to drive: 16. To own a gun: 18 (depends on state, I know). To drink a beer: 21. Uhm, do I need to explain, why this sounds a little bit weird to a German?

- Go to America and you’re gonna get killed.
It’s easy to understand why people think that. News about violence simply sell better than a documentary about neighbors hugging each other. In 1993 there was a series of murders in Miami. A couple of German tourists were killed in carnappings, if I remember correctly. Even 14 years later, people still remember that. It seems that fear has got a long lasting durability.

- Americans are religious nutjobs.
Jesus Camp, no premarital sex, “I don’t believe in evolution”, homophobia, a president who believes to have dialogs with god - Again, I have never met anyone personally who shows symptoms like that. I don’t think that many Americans are such religious nutjobs, but if you meet a German with this prejudice, don’t be too hard on him. Stuff like that is really hard to comprehend.

- Americans don’t give a shit about their poor people.
In Germany everyone is entitled to certain benefits. If you can’t afford a place to stay, clothes to wear, food to eat, health care, you get help. That’s how we believe it should be, and we pay a load of money for it. You get a lot more help than in the US. Some Germans see that and think of the US as a country where no one cares about the poor. In Germany we don’t have your culture of voluntary work or public service.

- Everything needs to be XXL (houses, cars, refrigerators, Burgers, breast implants,…).
Okay, this is more of an observation than a prejudice. What do you need SUVs for? The place? Don’t you have station wagons? And who needs these huge fridges? And who eats this gigantic portions at your restaurants? Hey, I am fat, and even I don’t need that much. Seriously, could someone explain that to me?

- Americans are a bunch of self-centered ignorant people.
I wouldn’t say it that harsh, but self-centered? Yes, I think so. Your news, no matter what medium, concentrate a lot more on your own issues than the news in other countries. It’s easy to get the impression that you simply don’t care about the rest of the world. Although from my own experience, I got a totally different impression of the Americans I’ve met (on- and offline).

Okay, take a deep breath and calm down. It’s over. After compiling this list, I’ve become curious about the way you Americans see us Germans. So, I’d like you to tell me, what your prejudices are about us. Take your time and tell me what you think about Germany and why. The more, the better. Leave it in the comments, use the contact form or send me an email. I’d be happy to hear from you.

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Comment by Rex Dixon
2007-04-04 15:45:46

Wow! Quite an eyeopener. I think I’ll link back to this post; really good considering I am an American - but know that we have a lot to fix here!


Comment by Derek Anderson
2007-04-04 16:57:14

Germans are cool!
I work for them…so I really like them on payday.

Comment by Adam
2007-04-04 18:25:28

One Quick note: I am not a gun owner and I am all for gun control, but the overwhelming majority of deaths in the US come from motor-vehicle accidents. Alcohol is a major contributor to these deaths. I am all for a more lax alcohol policy, but I am just trying to let you know why alcohol is villainized in the US. Its hard to argue with a grieving mother who is part of the MAAD organization.

American Predjudices towards Germans:

1. Germans are horibly unfunny. Probably more of a language thing and possibly part of number 2 on this list.

2. Germans are efficient to the point of being robotic. Or, basically, Germans are very straight edge and serious.

I was going to list more stuff, but mostly, all of the predjudices I could think of have to do with Germans being rigid and robotic.

Like anything, I know it is really an individual thing.

One quick note on the war mongering: I think this is a huge misconception, but I can see where it comes from for 3 reasons.

1. The US is always involved in armed conflicts, all over the world, because we have somehow been given the world police status (probably because of the Cold War).

2. It is an underlying thing in America not to back down and we do glorify standing up to bullies and going against the grain.

3. Currently we have a government that has completely botched our Global image by engaging in an incredibly unnecessary war and conducting it poorly. I think this will be very different once a new administration is at the helm, although there is a lot of healing to do.

Comment by Tobsy
2007-04-04 19:04:07

Thank you for you comment and the input. Of course I ‘d never try to argue with a grieving mother - I am a total anti-alcoholic myself (nope, didn’t have to give up my citizenship yet ;-)). I guess what confuses us is your strictness with alcohol on one hand but a (to us) big laxness when it comes to gun control and driving on the other.

Thanks again :-).

Comment by Adam
2007-04-04 19:19:43

The problem with the gun thing is that it is written into our Constitution as the 2nd Ammendmant (part of the Bill of Rights). If we mess too much with an ammendment in the BOR then that makes them all subject change, which is dangerous for obvious reasons. Originally it was meant to be a protection against the government if it should ever start to abuse its powers.

I think we are not so much lax as hamstrung. I live in Massachusetts where gun control is very strict (similar to Euro rules) but many states are different.

Comment by Tobsy
2007-04-04 19:35:05

I know, and that was a nice idea at that time. Grab a rifle and you have the same firepower as a soldier. But today? Apache hunting with a 9mm? My money would be on the Apache.

Comment by Adam
2007-04-04 19:47:35

Its difficult to change anything in our constitution and we have never touched the BOR. This makes for great defense for anybody who wants to own a gun and the government is restricting them. This is one of the rare rigid points in our Constitution where there is little wiggle room, mostly things were stated to allow for societal and technological changes.

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Comment by Byron
2007-04-05 02:33:09

True, but today many Americans want the ability to own guns for self-protection more against criminals than the police. As was said above, Americans are big on standing up to bullies, and being able to protect yourself goes along with that. Most of us know that if guns are outlawed, criminals will still get them. We can’t stop drugs from coming into the country despite the massive ‘War on Drugs’, and even though guns are easier to detect, it’s still impossible to prevent their smuggling. Law-abiding citizens would be helpless against against armed criminals, and the police can’t be everywhere and protect you everywhere, they can only prosecute crimes after they’ve happened but can’t prevent them.

There’s also a strong hunting culture in parts of America, mainly the Southeast and perhaps Midwest, who would riot and secede if all guns were banned.

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Comment by False Prophet
2007-04-06 00:48:30

“Americans are big on standing up to bullies”–I never really thought about it that way, but I guess you are correct. Would that explain why any individual or group in America, regardless of how much power or influence they have, always claims to be oppressed and downtrodden, or standing up for the oppressed and downtrodden?

Comment by Efraim
2007-04-05 09:57:34

“somehow been given the world police status”

The fact that most of the world dislikes USA because they act like they’re the world police completely by their own rules, combined with the above statement, is telling.

And pretty offensive.

“we do glorify standing up to bullies and going against the grain”

How is that self image possible? What bully would you glorify standing up against? There is only one empire left today which pretty much dictates the “grain”.

Now you got to this position solely by spending insane fortunes on military forces. Lots of tax dollars on military and very little on health care. That’s a curious democracy allowing such leaders.

Trackback by www.blogmemes.net
2007-04-04 18:40:38

10 common German prejudices about the USA…

Liked what you just read here ? Vote for it on Blogmemes ! Whenever people talk about the USA, it doesn’t take long until you hear sentences that start with “That’s typical. Americans are all …”. Well, what are you? I’ve asked around, talked to …

Comment by russ
2007-04-04 20:24:13

saw this on reddit.. interesting to think about how any country sees the united states.
i live in massachusetts, too, which is a state not very much in favor of bush or his ways, nor guns.
the item about sex and violence is a good one, and its one that’s tough for liberal people to put up with. in america, the conservatives do most of the complaining, and thats why they’re heard. but im not very political, so i offer you my notions on germans:

Germans love beer. they love it. all of them.

Germans love David Hasselhoff. All of them.

Germans eat a lot of Bratwurst.

Germans like crazy insane fetish sex. like… crazy wacky sex involving bodily fluid.

…sorry, thats all i got.

Comment by John
2007-04-04 21:07:45

Change of subject slightly.

Why are the streets of Paris lined with trees?

The Germans like to march in the shade.

Comment by Nikki
2007-05-13 20:49:54

Yes, I was also amused by the fact that Germans are stereotyping Americans. Um, last time I checked we didn’t try to take over the world and ethnically cleanse it. Your entire country supported the slaughter of millions of innocent people. Is your next blog going to be German stereotypes of Jews?

Comment by PStryder
2007-04-04 21:28:10

My personal pre-concieved notions of Germans:

1: Makers of the best BEER in the world.
Germans treat beer the way French treat wine.

2: Best mechanical engineers in the world.
I drive a German-engineered car for it’s reliability and performance. No one makes better cars.

That’s really all I have.

Comment by Steve Olson
2007-04-04 21:38:59

The most common prejudice I hear about Germans…

You all like Techno.

Is it true? Do all germans like techno? :-)

About Guns and Alcohol… For some reason Americans are afraid of Alcohol and for some reason Europeans are afraid of Guns. Neither of these things are dangerous when used responsibly by free people.

The only time i get concerned about some else’s drinking is if they are driving down the road endangering others. The only time i get concerned about someone else’s guns is when they are pointing them at someone else.

In my American neighborhood there are far more guns than people and it is one of the safest places in the United States. Guns don’t scare me, stupid people scare me.

Comment by Tobsy
2007-04-04 21:48:41

*argh* I hate techno. But it’s got its followers, yes. God, this is embarrassing.

Your points about alcohol and guns: Perfect. Thank you.

Comment by Billy Dragon
2007-04-04 21:45:57

Two good ones:

“What’s with all the fast food?”

This coming from a people whose main contributions to world cuisine have been greasy sausages and fermented cabage.

“Americans are war mongers.”

Let’s see, in the 20th Century, Germany started two wars that resulted in the deaths of 80,000,000+ people and Americans are the “war mongers”. Projection?

As for other prjudices about Germans…

1) Germans all anti-semites and Nazis.

Hard to argue with the systemic murder of 6,000,000 European Jews. Nor is it easy to argue with the current and wide-spread anti-Israeli anti-Jewish sentiments among the majority of Germans

2) German tourists are rude and boorish.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a Spanish resort to find some Fat German, drunk and red faced, yelling at a waiter while his ugly wife is busy taking off her top so as to show the world her flabby, fallen tits.

3) Individaul Germans are fascist authoritarians who love petty rules.

Ever been on German public transportation? ‘Nuff said.

Comment by Byron
2007-04-05 02:37:12

Yes Germany was a warlike state until the end of WW2, but I think now it is quite different, in no small part due to a shared guilt at what they did in WW2. Not an expert on Germany, but I think it’s much more pacifist now.

Comment by jdhatl
2007-05-03 11:56:04

he has one and only one good point: bad american food is mainly based on german food. Also, our crappy educational system is based on Germany’s. However, Germany has evolved, and has improved their food, education, and moral standing in the world, unlike the US, which has devolved on all these issues (just since WWII).

Comment by tom
2007-04-04 21:58:34

you dont shower and are a bunch of gypsies

you are insecure about your country history and nationalism… very few german flags etc

Comment by tom
2007-04-04 22:01:30

also you are a bunch of nihilists

Comment by Byron
2007-04-05 02:38:37

‘Insecure’ may not be the most accurate word, but yes they are, and for good reason. Nationalism got them Hitler and WW2, a lesson we Americans would do well to learn/relearn.

Comment by ER
2007-04-04 22:19:21

This is easy:

- In Germany, the other writers are correct: the sense of humor is real weak. But if you watch tv there, what makes them laugh is the most banal, adults-in-clown-suit immature stuff that is agonizing to watch as an American. Are they so stunted and immature that they’d like this lower-than-Benny-Hill stuff? I’ll say yes.
- The national efficiency is true - to the point of ridiculusness and arrogance. I’ve done stuff there on business and had people (once I described what I’d done) look me in the eye and flatly declare: “Impossible.”. Like I hadn’t done it all; they were so sure it didn’t fit in their model of logic. They were wrong of coure, but that assuredness of being right is typical.
- Their attitude about women’s abilities is stone-age. More than one VP there told me, when I asked why there weren’t more German women engineers, that “they’re not suited for this type of thing”.
- They hate and resent foreigners, people on welfare, and most of their neighboring countrymen. Forget about the Yugoslavs, the Russians, even the East Germans (i.e. the highest of the despised) - the xenophobic resentment of many foreigners is legendary.
- For all their uptightness, they really blow it out once they drink a bit. They hold all this stuff in all day, acting pompous and efficient, but they like their booze and start actually relaxing like normal humans as it gets dark.
- Compared to the Swiss, the Germans are San Francisco hippies.


Comment by Jon
2007-04-04 22:57:53

Let’s see. I still associate Germans with lots of hubris. But I think they are very good at foreign languages also.

When I traveled to Greece, and Russia and spoke the native tongues, the locals always thought I was German, not American.

But Germans still have a reputation for having a superiority complex. Germans are efficient imho, but not as efficient as the Japanese. And while there were lots of great German scientists per WWII, all of that antisemitism during the War drove most of the good scientists out…

I took a German class recently, and any time there was an implied criticism of Germans in history the professor was always quick to come up with a counterexample…

Unitl Germans learn to take themselves much less seriously, I doubt they will attract the kind of capital that the US commands. Right now I would not start a company in Germany because the work force is too uptight, and b/c Germans are too full of themselves.

Comment by Observer
2007-04-05 00:45:44

Me: 30-something male, born in germany, Canadian citizenship (spent 25 years there), living in California since ‘04.

Really fun topic!

A few observations/opinions:
-agree on the humour comment - germans often think really childish humour is funny, but don’t get british humour
-the german language is quite different from english in terms of flexibility of usage (not saying either is better - they’re just different). This naturally leads to different types of humour, I think. Obviously, many jokes/idioms are nearly impossible to translate.
-many germans of my parent’s generation (including many church-going, who should know better) are still very anti-semitic.
-germans really love David Hasselhof :-)
-to ex-patriate germans of my parent’s generation, “keeping” your germanness (germanity?) is somehow incredibly important - much like it used to be in Preussen (Prussia) or Bessarabien (Moldova). Used to get constant compliments on the fact that I spoke/speak german pretty well with little accent, if any. Was constantly told by little old german ladies they’d find me a nice german girl to marry (so I married a California chick :-)
-german-background girls/women in Canada do NOT want to marry a “real” german guy under ANY circumstance
-german-background guys in Canada have no such pre-conceived dislike of german girls
-german dentistry used to be 20-30 years behind US (probably catching up now)
-having grown up german/canadian, it’s still difficult at times for my wife to understand the german side. The Canadian/US thing is not a big deal
-german mothers-in-law are really stressful for american wives to deal with, because they don’t understand each other, and both want to make the other feel at ease
-(older) german fathers are quite comparable to US/Canadian fathers in terms of bitternes/crankiness
-having driven 3 VWs, german cars aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

Comment by Steve
2007-04-05 02:51:42

SAP - there is no situation for which it is ever an answer

Comment by Terry
2007-04-05 03:29:50

Honestly, who thinks about germans enough to have an opinion, let alone 10.

Comment by Amanda
2007-04-05 03:31:59

one that everyone seemed to forget:
your pants are too tight :)
(does that come from Hasslehoff?)

Comment by MickGee
2007-04-05 04:35:34

I just spent a few days in Berlin and have to say I really enjoyed what little I saw of German hospitality, culture and general flavour. That said, a s an African-Canadian I didn’t dare venture out beyond Berlin because of warnings I received about being a minority in small town Germany.

One thing that struck me as interesting though: seems like Germans still really don’t like the Dutch and vice versa. One German musician told me “the only culture they have in Holland are bicycles.”

Berlin is cool though. Especially the “white boots.”

Comment by Timmy
2007-04-05 06:10:03

I am, on paper, an American. I consider myself a citizen of the whole universe, rather than of once country on one small planet. One of my best friends is German. I was born there(on a US military base) if that counts. We had a German exchange student and kept in touch. I personally love the German culture and would love to retire there. Germany isn’t perfect. I’ve seen that. But Germany is definitely on the right track and is a wonderful place. I spent a week there for a wedding in the ’90’s and I fell in love with the place and the people. EVERYBODY I was surrounded with treated me kindly and, once they figured out I don’t speak much German, went out of their way to help me communicate with them. Isn’t the “legal age” to drink a beer in Germany 16 and the driving age 18? I think that’s a much better system, especially since it is so expensive to be allowed to drive there that you are more responsible. Your list about the US is very correct. Actually you went a little too easy on the US on some of them.

Comment by Shenpen
2007-04-05 09:36:50

The most common prejudice I hear from healthy-thinking Americans regarding not only Germans but Europeans in general is that we all are some sort of wacky socalists trying to reinvent the Soviet Union under the guise of the EU. While it’s certainly wrong it’s somewhat hard to prove to be wrong when it’s so common for a casual cultural blog post like this one to quickly turn into a peacenik rant and BS about “caring for the poor” (read: taking from the ambitious and giving it to the lazy). There’s a good amount of sane (read: Libertarian-Conservative) people here too, we just don’t seem to be able to penetrate the mainstream media, the academia, and, sadly, not even the blogosphere.

And for you Tobsy, I have no problem about your views being different than mine but you really should tag them as SD - Liberal views instead of trying to sell them as if they were generally accepted (even though it’s truly generally accepted by the mainstream media, I admit).

On the positive side, I 100% agree about that people being made vs. people killed stuff. This is something hard to argue with :-)

(a Hungarian living currently in the UK)

Comment by Shenpen
2007-04-05 09:59:31

On the language - I think it’s best described via von Neumann’s famous quote: “Whenever I explain something, I do it in English, because it’s simple. Whenever I define something, I do it in German, because it’s precise. And whenever I’m thinking about a new idea, I do it in Hungarian, because it’s creative.”

I’m generally fascinated by the precision of the German language and I always regret that I can never find enough time to learn it properly. An example of the things I like about it: average is called Durchschnitt, which literally means “cut through”. It’s a very precise, very graphic representation of how you’d note the average of a, say, sin(x) function on a graph.

Comment by Shenpen
2007-04-05 10:52:50

What’s wrong with techno? True, it might sound like shit if you just try it in your home CD player, but at a party of 3000 people and and, err, “being in the right mood”, it’s much more than a nice night out: it’s an outright spiritual experience. Though nowadays it’s much worse than it was 10 years before. I kind of miss that hard, tight, adrenaline-loaded Frankfurt-Techno sound (or “Schranz”, played by people like Chris Liebing or f.e. Miss Djax in The Netherlands) because it’s almost unknown here in the UK (everybody plays mellow, boring trance), while it’s quite popular in Hungary where I’m originally from.

For home listening I’d recommend trying the industrial music: like KMFDM, Frontline Assembly, Wumpscutt etc. It’s basically the same idea, but listening-oriented (as opposed to party-oriented)

Comment by praguebuzz
2007-04-05 11:46:30

Haha, I agree in every prejudice you say about americans and adam’s comment on the rigid robotic German.

Actually,Tobsy, I think you are a little bit lenient. My two German friends thought that the Americans are stupid b/c they don’t know anything or many things un-american or happening else where.

Comment by Mojo
2007-04-05 14:00:30

American here. What follows are the first things that came to mind after reading this article, in order,

1. “Germans are Nazis.” I don’t think that Germans are Nazis, but I have to admit that whenever I hear Germany mentioned, whatever the context, I think of the Nazis. I’ve hear similar sentiment from many Americans and plenty of Brits as well. I think it is greatly unjust considering what a healthy country Germany is today, but I do think think it will be a long time before Germany is free of the stain of the National Socialist Party.

2. “Germany’s philosophers are unparalleled.” Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, etc. You get the idea

3. “Einstein was German.” Though many Americans (myself included) think of Einstein as one of our great thinkers, he would not have made his home here without the rise of Facism in Germany. I stew over this irony.

4. “German automobiles are delightful.” My time working as a valet at a top hotel cemented my love for German automotive craftsmanship. BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz, VW, Porsche - all excellent brands and all fun to drive!

5. “German electronic music is awesome!” Kompakt Records, DJ Koze, etc. Great stuff.

A final point came to me while I was writing this. I have found the Germans I have to known to be oddly humorless. I’ve heard this is a stereotype and I don’t mean to confirm or perpetate it, I only speak from my experience.


Comment by False Prophet
2007-04-06 00:41:00

“Einstein was German”–that reminds me of this

Albert Einstein, speech at the Sorbonne, Paris (December, 1929)

If my theory of relativity is proven correct, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.

Comment by Debbie
2007-04-05 14:41:08

The US has gone downhill so far and fast within the last 20 years or so,that it is quickly approaching 3rd world nation status.America ranks among the bottom in everything from healthcare,education (so much more)etc.,way behind Europe(and many other areas of the world).The US is now only a country for the wealthy.Unlike Europe the average American does not protest in a civil manner,when rights are taken away.In addition America is now overrun with illegal immigrants.US actually has a special interest group to protect Illegal immigrants.Now they are letting everyone become citizens.Rediculous. Germany,like most of the civilized world is miles/kilometers ahead of the US in almost EVERY WAY.Im moving abroad.The US has become a corporate dictatorship.Run by big business!

Comment by Billy Dragon
2007-04-05 16:01:17

Not often you find a comment this stupid.

I’d counter it point by point, but to do so would be to give it more respet than it deserves.

Comment by jdhatl
2007-05-03 12:08:30

I would think you would agree on the illegal immigrant issue. America has gone way downhill since WWII. That’s because we took over from Germany as the host country of international fascism. That’s what we won when we won the war, which was accomplished by way of firebombing cities and nuking japanese civilians in a senseless murder. Our industry had a very pro-german bias going into the war, made us take so long to get involved. made ex lowlevel nazi scientists and engineers be able to get great jobs in the US armaments industry. The same thing happened after the collapse of the Soviet Union (another “evil empire” funded by US businesses)

Comment by Kellie
2007-04-05 14:47:19

Nothing further to add!

Comment by Steven US. Soon moving to UK
2007-04-05 15:00:10

It depends where you live, in America(and how much money you have).However overall I agree with Debbie 100%!Anyone that tries to say America is not messed up is deluded.1 more thing US has the fattest unhealthiest people,as mentioned because thats what Americans do best EAT!US “used” to be a great country.It is not only Germans that think this way,but many other parts of Europe and other nations.And may I say You are right!

Comment by Other Ryan
2007-04-05 16:54:08

On religious nutjobs . . .
Yes, we have plenty. I think it has to do with our ancestry. Personally, religion dosen’t matter to me, but there are plenty of nutjobs running around deaf to any critical thinking.

On not giving a shit about our poor . . .
We’re capitalist. Big time.

On superficial /ignorant /war mongering people . . .
Did I mention we have a plenty of religious nutjobs?

On self-centeredness . . .
That’s our media for you. I’m not sure how it is in your country or anywhere else, but turn on the news channels, whether it be Fox or CNN or whatever, you get the same thing: death, tragedy, and political bias. Our media is almost entirely focused on our country only. You can see that by some of the global magazines we receive having different covers from everyone else. I get most of my news off the internet, and I try to keep up on a lot of worldly news.

On fattnessnessness . . .
Yes there are a lot of fat people here. But there are a lotta hot people too. Go to a nice college party down here and drool away. I don’t see why people make it such a big deal. If you’re fat, it’s your fault. There’s no a fat epidemic, just a buncha lazy people. I plan to get fat when I’m real old because by then I won’t give a damn, and I’d be much more comfortable not worrying about not being fat, and just eat away.

World Police . . . ?
I hate that idea. I think this concept pulls us into way too many conflicts than we need to be in. I think it’s important to help the world and improve our relationships with other countries. But I think the World Police idea just makes us out to be imperial brutes. We do glorify the idea of standing up to the bullies. Not necessarily our bullies, but any entity bullying another. The only idea I can think of to change this is for us not to involve ourselves wholely, but for the world itself to get involved. If something is happening humanely immoral, every country should do something about it as a whole. Course that’s all in theory and will probably never happen.

Lastly . . .
Despite our cons, America, I think, is a great country. But as a great country, it’s prone to have great problems. I have a lot of friends who intend to leave the States for places like the UK or Canada out of spite of what America has become. I think that’s wrong. In my view, America is my country, and if it’s broke, it’s my duty to fix it, not run away. Our country changes constantly, sometimes for the best, sometimes, as recently seen, for the absolute worst. But there’s always the next generation to change that. I see a lotta political motivation in the American younth today (maybe I’m seeing things), but I don’t doubt America’s ability to change for the better. It’s just people.

Comment by Martin used to live in US now happy in Montreal
2007-04-05 17:08:43

I also agree with Debbie!Adding America is the only country(other than many 3rd world nations) that does not have socialized medicine.Socialized medicine works!Americans are the among the most drugged ,yet UNHEALTHY people in the world!But what can you expect from a country(US) that is run by Pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer.Pathetic!The main reason US lets in so many (third world)immigrants is for SLAVE LABOR.I LOVE MONTREAL!

Comment by BANANA
2007-04-05 18:30:11

This is all pretty much true with the exception of the educated and big cities where people tend to have a brain and think about things.

Americans are fat, uneducated, stupid, ignorant, racist, biggoted, gluttonous, self centered, and more.

I know, I live here.

Comment by big Ern
2007-04-22 06:44:22

So says the big city bigot.

Comment by jdhatl
2007-05-03 12:15:24

okay, many americans are not fat, stupid, racist, or gluttonous. Uneducated, ignorant, biggoted and self-centered are justified tags for millions and millions of people. They just don’t know any better, it’s not actually their fault. Once people learn the truth, they usually come around. Unless their brain has been poisoned at an early age by hate-think

Comment by Meg
2007-04-06 04:11:22

I have had the interesting experience of growing up in a small town (U.S.) that could easily be part of the Bible Belt and then moving to a liberal University town - about a half hour drive away. The difference is astounding. There really are two Americas (probably a lot more). However, many of these stereotypes do apply to one or the other fairly well. The problem comes when they are applied to everyone - in or outside the groups.

- Americans are extremely superficial.
It depends on how you define superficial. I don’t think the Bible thumpers are very superficial, even though I don’t agree with them. And most of my 20-something friends really don’t care what the latest trend is. Most of us are too busy with work or family or school. However, most of us do love to dream about glamour. And that’s what’s in the media - the dream of glamour. Unfortunately, the dream is also what many people in other countries mistake for real life here. Even reality t.v. is nothing like it. Our lives are far too boring.

- What’s with all the fast food?
It’s not that we all want to be fat. However, many of us are either busy or poor or both. Many of my friends want to give up the habit, but they don’t have time to go home for meals or anywhere to store and/or reheat food from home while they are out and about. And they often don’t have time to shop and cook food at home, either. For others, it’s because the McD’s dollar menu is some of the cheapest food around.

- You like to watch how people die, but not how they are made.
Yeah, that is messed up. That’s Bible Belt puritanism for you. I still can’t believe people have problems with consenting adults creating/watching porno.

- Americans are war mongers.
I have heard way too many people say “Let’s just nuke them all!” They are a minority, but they are a loud minority. A lot of the other sensible people are just too busy and tired to do anything. Most of us don’t even know what to do. And don’t just say to vote for better candidates because things over here are so rigged from the start. The exact winner might not be pre-selected, but the choices are limited.

- Beer will kill you, guns won’t.
Again, very puritan. Alcohol is bad, remember. Guns are necessary for “self-defence”.

- Go to America and you’re gonna get killed.
I haven’t been killed yet, but I have lost several close friends to car accidents (one last month). That’s the real danger. So, rent the safest car you can. Murder-wise, stay out of the bad parts of towns, especially at night. If you don’t know, it’s generally o.k. to ask someone privately.

- Americans are religious nutjobs.
Very true in the Bible Belt, but plenty elsewhere in the U.S. as well. Many people have this “It’s my duty to convert you - else I must shun you to punish you and protect my children from your ideas” attitude. I have friends who do list “God” as their best friend on Myspace. Some of them blog/bulletin constantly repeating the same religious stories. I especially hate the ones that go “90-some % of Americans are Christian (or believe in God or whatever) so the non-believers should just sit down and shut up (or move to another country). If you’re curious, these are my “friends” from back home. They don’t know I’m atheist, but I like to keep in touch for old-time’s sake.

- Americans don’t give a shit about their poor people.
We do, but most people think that if they have to work hard then so should the bumms on the street. The problem is that most people don’t realize that the beggars on the street are a very small percentage of the poor. The huge problem is the working poor - those who can’t support themselves or a family working full time or even twice that. The really out of touch say that they should just go to college and get a better job like they did. I’m so sick of “meritocracy” and people thinking that everyone get’s the same chances in life. It’s especially bad in the college town where a good number of students are having their college (and sometimes living expenses) paid for by the parents. Of course, in the Bible Belt everyone gets what they deserve because God is in charge. Let’s all pray to win the lottery!

- Everything needs to be XXL (houses, cars, refrigerators, Burgers, breast implants,…).
My house isn’t huge by American standards but it probably is by European standards. It is nice to have a good amount of living space. For one thing, I think we spend more time in our houses. I’d like to spend more time outside but there isn’t much to do within walking distance even where I live now and I don’t feel like taking the car out. Our cities and towns are horribly laid out. You have to drive most places - hence the reason we tend to be big, too. And because of that, we tend to do a lot of errands at once. When my mom comes to town to shop she fills up her SUV. It’s not like they are going to deliver anything to where she lives back home unless they mail it and charge huge amounts of shipping.

- Americans are a bunch of self-centered ignorant people.
We are ignorant. Our school system is obsessed with standardized tests that measure math and reading skills without putting them to any good use. Plus it practically ignores other subjects. We’re constantly told that it’s good to be patriotic (a must in the Bible Belt) and that means believing that America is #1 (at everything). People here assume that America is #1. Why else do people immigrate here, right? Ha. It’s not that we don’t want to learn about other countries, though. We’re just too busy most of the time. Plus we are expected to know all these things about the 50 states. If they were separate countries, we might not look so bad.

Bottom line, though, is that we Americans are over-worked and over-tired. People here are working longer hours and longer weeks for less money and less benefits. The single-earner household is not an option for many, which leaves a lot to be done at the end of the workday. My own husband often works 60-80 weeks. We’d love to cook our own food, go to the gym, spend time with family, learn about other countries, travel outside the country, study other languages, and help the poor, but there is never enough time, money, and energy. And maybe if we had time to learn about other countries we would wage less war. Maybe if we had time to actually study religion for ourselves instead of just spout the same repeated phrases then maybe there would be fewer religious nutjobs.

In the meantime, please don’t hold it against us to harshly. When we call other cultures lazy, it’s sometimes just jealous.

Comment by Martin used to live in US now happy in Montreal
2007-04-06 15:07:45

Basically it comes down to this.America “USED to be a great country and place to live”.Now it is ONLY a country for the wealthy.If you are not rich in US you have far less freedom.The war in Iraq is just a distraction.What is being done to US internally(within)such as outsourcing jobs,granting way too many people citizenship(not closing the borders)and letting drug companies run the show are the REAL problems.Nafta is a disaster!I actually earn a comfortable income,however I cannot and will not pay outrageous health insurance fees.Thats why Im so happy in Montreal.Americans work the MOST hours in the world!Its not that Americans are bad people(Americans are the same as everyone else) its just that America only cares about its WEALTHY.Its a big problem.Again I LOVE MONTREAL!

2007-04-08 23:51:17

[…] If you’re keen on learning the top 10 prejudices Germans have about the USA, check out this blog.  Hard to argue with it’s accuracy.  Had a nagging urge to hop in a submarine and go […]

Comment by Travis
2007-04-13 04:17:23

I don’t have any prejudices against Germans… the US media doesn’t concentrate on Europe…

Comment by big Ern
2007-04-22 06:48:59

Travis I have satellite and when I watch Link, BBC or some other international braodcast guess what they’re talking about. America

Comment by bob logan
2007-04-21 15:49:37

All of those may be true, but we didn’t kill six million jews! Now did we.

Comment by jdhatl
2007-05-03 12:21:40

The United States

Throughout the 19th century, Native Americans were driven off their traditional lands to facilitate the installation of settlers (colonists). The explicit US policy of Indian Removal forced or coerced the relocation of major Native American groups in both the Southeast and the Northeast United States, resulting directly and indirectly in the deaths of tens of thousands. The subsequent process of assimilations, though a less active means of an ethnic cleansing, was no less devastating to Native American peoples. Tribes were generally located to reservations on which they could more easily be separated from traditional life and pushed into US society. Some Southern states additionally enacted laws in the 19th century forbidding non-Indian settlement on Indian lands, intending to prevent sympathetic white missionaries from aiding the scattered Indian resistance.

In 1838, Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs issued an “Extermination Order” against the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), ordering them to either leave the state or be exterminated.

On some occasions during the Indian Wars, which decimated the Native American population in the United States and are often collectively referred to as genocide[citation needed], entire villages were massacred by the U.S. Army (see for example Sand Creek Massacre and massacre at Wounded Knee).

The Conestoga (Susquehanna) tribe of the lower Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania was completely annihilated by the “Paxton Boys,” Scots-Irish militias at the end of the French And Indian War in 1763. The last survivors of the tribe sought and were granted refuge in the Lancaster County jail. The Paxton Boys forced their way in and massacred them. The liquidation of the Conestogas is documented by Benjamin Franklin and in “The Light in The Forest” by Conrad Richter.[7]

Comment by jdhatl
2007-05-03 12:22:27

“…Let me remind you only of the witch-hunts of the middle ages, the horrors of the French revolution, or the genocide of the American Indians… in such periods there are always only a very few who do not succumb. But when it is all over, everyone, horrified, asks `for heaven’s sake, how could I?’ ”

Albert Speer, Hitler’s minister of war production, writing from prison in 1953.

“Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild west; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination - by starvation and uneven combat - of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.” P. 202, “Adolph Hitler” by John Toland

Comment by Seth
2007-04-22 05:48:43

1. Germans are unfriendly and have short tempers, and are prone to kill 6 million people on short notice

2. Germans like ’scheisse’ porn

3. Germans eat sausage all day

4. Germans scare people with their language

Comment by Deanna
2007-04-22 06:05:20

I’m the first born in the US via my German family. I was brought up in a very German environment that happend to be in the US. I see both sides of this, and it’s interesting. True, the US is very fear driven, grown lazy, and we seem to be in Roman times, however, there are plenty Americans who don’t buy into all the crap.

I love the line, “You like to watch how people die, but not how they are made.”

Comment by Nacho
2007-04-22 06:28:06

Uh- most of those things are things that Americans think of Germans.

Americans are superficial? Isn’t Europe the birthplace of art and fashion, and aren’t the biggest galleries of “art” in the world concentrated in Europe?

America is Warmongering? Assuming we forget the last 1,000 years of history in Europe, I guess I could see where you are coming from.

America doesn’t care about its poor?
Most poor Americans are poor by choice (there I said it). Most everyone can or will get assistance in some form. Foodstamps, scholarships, all are available to every American in some way. Most are even available to illegal immigrants.

America isn’t safe? We’ll just completely ignore the young man in Berlin that stabbed 23 people on the way out of a concert.

Americans are puritan bible thumpers? Uh… we have 22 hour porn DVD’s available through the mail for 10 bucks. We have an entire multi billion (my guess) porn industry. Yeah a lot of people piss and moan about it, but it’s not gonna stop. We’re just not into defecation. Me personally, regarding JJ… I wouldn’t have wanted to see her boobie either. Regarding alcohol, we have clean water to drink. We also have about 1,000 soda varities also.

Americans take up a lot of space? We have a lot of it. No ancestor of Europe since the first European criminals that came over here has managed to win it. YOU are welcome to try. Europeans can’t even manage a colony very well. By the way in BMW’s latest radio ad they brag about how their SUV’s are roomy because German people enjoy nearly twice as much personal space as Americans.

Americans are ignorant and self centered? Says the person who blogged about the preconceptions they have about Americans.

Europe may have changed a lot in the last 50 years, but 50 years isn’t going to change thousands of years of territorial disputes, world wars, failed colonies, immigration to a better place (hint; when Europeans want to escape persecution, they came to America).


Comment by Kim
2007-04-22 10:38:12

Someone from Germany calling the USA war mongers? Did you forget that Germany started two world wars in the last 90 years? And that Germany tried to wipe all the Jews,Slavs and Gypsies off the planet?

Did you forget that Germany was in war after war going all the way back in history?

Did you forget who defended Germany from the USSR?

Did you forget that the East German army shot their own people who tried to leave?

Comment by miraphon
2007-05-05 22:08:57

Did you forget who killed the Natives who lived in the country that is now yours?

Did you forget who kidnapped millions of Africans from the 16th to 19th cenury to make them slaves?

And who treated them as 2nd class until the 1960s?

Did you forget who STARTED the Cold War?

The Germans did horrible things - but after 12 years it was over.

Comment by Kim
2007-04-22 10:44:16

Isn’t the loving caring Germans killing off the handicapped and the Jews so the German people can bring back the Aryan superman of the Pagan myths religious extremism?

The loving caring German people started murdering innocent handicapped people in 1934.

Comment by jdhatl
2007-05-03 12:39:38

Kim is the kind of person that makes america look worse than it actually is. She is unlikely to socialize at all with any liberals. we are a very polarized society, fed on talking points and fact manipulation. Fun fact: America used german civilians and POWs as slave labor after the war. Hey, the russians were doing it, why shouldn’t we? Also, some people in america wanted to turn germany into a purely agrarian non-industrial society

Comment by Tobsy
2007-04-22 11:52:06

Okay people, calm down. And read the first sentence again. These are not my prejudices. Well, most of them aren’t. And regarding the “war monger statement”: No, we haven’t forgotten the past. We remember it, and we have learned from it. But our current view of things is more influenced by the news, not the history channel. That’s probably why no one mentioned the indians and slavery, when I asked them about the USA. So, keep it civil.

2007-04-23 00:21:08

[…] 10 common German prejudices about the USA (tags: usa deutschland vorurteile) […]

2007-04-23 12:43:12

[…] [gefunden in den Kommentaren zu diesem Beitrag] […]

Trackback by Roosh V
2007-05-05 00:06:18

American Stereotypes Are So Hurtful…

A German David Hasselhoff lover recently wrote 10 Common German Prejudices About The USA. I am deeply offended as an American and would like to take some time to clear the air.
“What’s with all the fast food?”
We are BUSY people. Have you…

Comment by miraphon
2007-05-05 23:44:57

I’m on holiday right now and it somehow came to my mind to search the internet to find out what Americans think about Germans and vice versa.

What makes me really sick is that a lot of people only see the worst 12 years in German history - and always hit on that. No reasonable German is proud of what happened in the Nazi years with the killing of millions of people - a bad example for German efficiency. But these times are OVER! We are not better or worse than any other country. In the US and everywhere else there are idiots that have problems with minorities in there country - an sometimes they go and attack them. The difference is that when it happens in Germany eveybody says “Oh, they are still Nazis - I knew it!”
But does anybody complain about the Spanish for rotting South American culture? Does anybody talk about African slaves being brought to America over centuries( after having killed most of the Native Americans)? And not making them equal citiziens until the 1960s - on the paper? And what about Britain who dominated 1/4 of the world in times of the British Empire?
No, it’s always those evil Germans. It’s horrible what happened in Germany within only twelve years, but the result - killing and opressing innocent people - is pretty much the same. The others just took more time for their “business”

…and now for something completely different.

“Americans are superficial”

Well, I was dating an American when I lived in Berlin. He always got me into profound discussions - and at some point I was so fed up that I would have preferred a more casual talking
His best friend was “typical American” - getting drunk by a sniff of the barmaid’s apron and then going on about evry passing girl with a deeper cut out than a turtleneck: “Meeeaaan, look at her TITS!”
(Another stereotype: What is it about huge breasts? I once talked to a plastic surgeon an he said in Germany none of his colleagues would make balloon-like breasts. They show American talk show excerpts and there are always pumped-up blondes in micro-bikinis. But showing a nipple is illegal????)
Probably the “American way” - having loads of people you call friends and the “German way” - being close with only a few, exists on both sides. I personally lived the “American way” until my mid-twenties and then decided to cut down because I wasn’t happy. Everybody has to to make their own choice, I guess.

“Germans have no sense of humour”
Yes, we do. It’s just hard to understand as it is less visual but mostly deals with word puns and speech in general. You have to understand german VERY well and know something about life in Germany to get it. Otherwise it isn’t funny at all.

Last things to say:
- In Germany/Europe nobody will tell you to avoid certain parts of town because you cold get KILLED
- Social welfare (housing, food etc.) is paid by the gouvernment to help the unemployed or to prevent people from working on more than one job to make ends meet. This opens doors for abuse, but that’s another discussion. It just seems strange to us that in America there is more charity from citizens then from the state.
Besides, EVERYBODY has health insurance.
-America has the biggest porn industry in the world. That’s OK, but why do you, on the other hand, make such a drama out of porn and sex in general?
-In America you’re told on product packings what NOT to do with the product to avoid accidents, in Germany it’s the other way: if you do anything that’s not explained on the pack it might be dangerous.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

P.S.: My first record was from David Hasselhoff :0)

Comment by yourapussieifyoudontallowanonymousposting
2007-05-10 03:26:55

By the way, Germans really is America Jr.

Americans will tell you this, as well as Europeans. Jokes on you, actually.

Comment by yourapussieifyoudontallowanonymousposting
2007-05-10 03:27:58

And I’m talking modern day Germany. It tries very hard to be like America. When I go travelling I make a point of avoiding Germany for that reason.

Comment by Tobsy
2007-05-10 14:39:42

Yeah, it shows.

“Who are you to talk? I’m not going to bother reading your stuff because quite frankly people with no experience is worthless. As Thoreau once said “how vain is it to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live.”

You, haven’t lived, so to speak so who are you to write?”

Sound familiar?

Comment by yourapussieifyoudontallowanonymousposting
2007-05-11 03:21:17


I have been to Germany 5+ times, for a total of about 4 months. I find it to be a country I now avoid. At least I have taken the time to explore Germany before knowing to avoid it, unlike the author here.

By the way, I am not American, nor living in America at the present moment.

Comment by Tobsy
2007-05-11 14:30:39

I’m not avoiding the USA. Do you really think I would spend my time on a topic I don’t like?

And no, Americans don’t tell me that Germany is America Jr. - the tell me that Europeans, and especially French and Germans, are anti-American. Unfortunately they are right - to a certain degree.

I can’t totally challenge you statement either. There are lots of American things Germany adapted. But that’s true for all countries. Even France. It’s pretty ironic when you hear a German wannabe ganster rapper tell how he doesn’t like the American influence.

Btw - America Jr. is how we see Great Britain.

Comment by Gium
2007-05-20 09:09:50

Guten Tag- Well having been to Germany, and conceived there, I still side with America.

You have ‘never met an American that voted for G. Bush the second time’, gives me: either a view of your social circle, or exposes the world weary sensitivity of those that did vote for him while talking to you.

I sense a relief in Germany about demonization of America.

Last year, in California, I saw many nasty depictions of George Bush, one painted in blood. Did anyone see, visiting 1942 Germany, even one blood painted picture of …

And yet the average German enjoys guiltless joy in viewing those two leaders the same way.

Germans live in the largest glass house of modern history.

Unless you think doing great evil, causes, by some bizarre pendulum effect, a good moral compass.

It seams one German book is very very popular in the Arabic world. I think it was a book about ‘Mines’, or maybe ‘Comps’. Look it up, and enjoy.

Comment by Kim
2007-05-26 13:48:58

Most of the natives in America died of diseases and anyway none of the people who fought the natives in America are still alive.
Many Germans also came to America at this time. So Germany is also guilty of killing the natives.
There are plenty of Germans who clicked their heels and yell Heil Hitler still alive.

The slaves were brought over mostly by Europeans. And none of the slave owners are alive today. Many of the Germans that held Jewish,Polish,and Russian slaves doing WW2 are still alive.

Comment by B. Nolte
2007-05-31 07:55:52

Greetings from California

I enjoyed reading your blog on how Germans view the US. How Germans and Americans view each other interests me because I am trying to connect to my ancestors some of whom came from the Hannover area.

I think that most of your comments in “10 Common German prejudices about the USA” Here are a few of my own reflections on your blog.

The so called “bible belt” (the southern states) help elect our idiot president Bush. And yes millions of Americans think that religion should help run our country - a terrible idea for many of us out here in California. For many Americans, going to war is the highest calling one can show to their country. That is one reason why some, fewer these days, supported Bush’s Iraq war.

And you are right about movies, violence is more accepted than sex. All of this seems to come from the religious nuts, some of who help found our country. To run for politics here 99 percent of the people have to claim that they are good church going people. Something I find silly but we have to put up with that baloney.

Look how mad the right wing Republican nut jobs got when Bill Clinton got caught having a blow job in the White House. They impeached him! But Bush has let almost 3500 American soldiers die in Iraq and some of the same Republican nut jobs still think he is doing a great job.

Big SUVs, you are right on this, big time! With our gas getting up to about $3.50 per gallon, and these same nuts are still buying the SUVs. “Where there is no brain, there is no pain!” I had the pleasure of visiting Germany twice in the last two years. I was in Landstuhl on business, found all of the locals to be friendly and and most of the cars to be of a realistic size. It pains me to see Americans being so wasteful. I have been recycling for years and have been involved in politics to get the laws on the books. Over the last ten years Americans are now doing much better recycling but there is still much work to do. Why do some many products have to come in a cardboard box, like a tube of toothpaste? Such a waste of trees and resources.

HOW I SEE GERMANY (based on my three trips there)

1. Why are the traffic signals on the near corner instead of the far corner, like the USA, ours are much easier to see?
2. But I do like the use of the Yellow light when going from Red to Green, we don’t have that.
3. It seems that “red tape” is a problem in Germany. More difficult to get a driver’s license than in the US. It was fun for me to see the great number of fahrschulen even in the small town of Landstuhl. Maybe young Germans take driving more seriously than young Americans? Less accidents?
4. I am jealous that Germans speak more languages than Americans. Germany being in the middle of Europe has a a greater need to fluent in more than one language. Most Americans do not push themselves to learn more than English. And even here in California, many of us do not want to learn Spanish, I think for the same reason that Germans may not want to learn Turkish.

Many thanks for your webpage, I will continue to explore more of it.
B. Nolte
Los Angeles, California

Comment by Tobsy
2007-05-31 16:00:06

Thank you for taking the time to write your comment. I really appreciate it :-).

I don’t know how many accidents young German drivers cause, but I think without the thorough education it would me a lot more. It doesn’t only take time to get a driver’s license - it usually also costs about 1,500 - 2,500 bucks (if I remember correctly). One more reason not to risk it.

2012-10-16 04:58:29

insanity the asylum review…

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