Anglo-German relations

Anglo-German relations are the bilateral relations between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Federal Republic of Germany.

While economic and formal political contacts between the two European countries are co-operative and friendly, a distrust and dislike of Germany often exists in both the British media's reporting and in society more generally, the two countries having fought against each other in World War I and World War II. A distrust of what Germans regard as the Inselmentalität (island mentality) and British intentions vis-a-vis Europe and European integration often exists on the part of the German media.

In 2002 the then German ambassador to Britain, Thomas Matussek, attributed the atmosphere to history teaching in British schools and "cultural ignorance" among young Britons. One leading British tabloid responded: 'we must never forget the abominations of history'.

Despite the weight of recent negative history, Britain shares a long history with Germany and a rich political and cultural exchange. Both nations have been at times close, not least due to the British Royal Family's partly German ancestry.


Royal family & Hanover

In 1714, George I, a German-speaking Hanoverian prince of mixed British and German descent, ascended to the British throne, founding the House of Hanover. For over a century, Britain's monarchs were also rulers of Hanover (first as an Electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, then as a separate Kingdom). This was a personal union rather than a political one, with the two countries remaining quite separate. Hanover was occupied during the Napoleonic wars, but some Hanoverian troops fled to the United Kingdom to form the King's German Legion, a unit within the British army made up of ethnic Germans. The link between the two kingdoms finally ended in 1837 with the accession of Queen Victoria to the British throne (as women could not inherit the throne of Hanover).

Every British monarch from George I to Edward VII in the twentieth century, took a Royal German spouse. This led to close blood ties between British and German royalty. The British Royal family retained a German surname until 1917, when, in response to the anti-German feelings of World War I, it was legally changed to the English-sounding ' Windsor'. British Royal family members gave up any German titles they held in the same year, whilst their German relatives were stripped of any British titles they held by an Act of Parliament.

Interwar period

This is generally seen as a period of appeasement, especially when the British Prime Minister was Neville Chamberlain. Previously Britain had been involved in both the Locarno Treaties and Kellogg-Briand Pact which helped reintegrate Germany into Europe after the Treaty of Versailles.


See also

External links

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