Don't mention ze war!
...so I won't - it's not about *ze* war anymore but the war of knowledge. And, yes, Germany has lost it. Why? Because a country that believes in the idea of a 'Leitkultur' stands no chance against a culture that embraces (and uses to its advantage) the influx of other cultures. Germany's poor standing in the PISA rankings is one side of the story, but even more telling is the typical excuse that classes full of 'Auslaenderkinder' skewed the results - apparently, Germans still think they are superior to the rest of the world, or is there any other explanation why they wouldn't try to attract the sharpest and brightest from around the world to study, work and live in their country? You might think I'm blowing this completely out of proportion (and you're probably right) but doesn't it make you wonder why the German university system (it's *free* for crying out loud!) can't compete with the American schools (we're talking some 50 - 100k in tuiton here) in attracting the most gifted students from countries like India, Russia, Korea, etc. ? It drives me up the walls when I see the list of (American) Nobel prize laureats and the first thing your typical German will point out is the fact that they are really all German, Russian, Indian, etc. - ask any first generation immigrant in the Satates and they'll tell you "I'm American" - ask any foreign student in Germany ("Deutschland ist kein Einwanderungsland") and they will tell you "I'm here for the free education but I don't feel welcome here - as soon as I get my degree, I'm outa here". Yes, making someone feel stupid for every little grammar mistake and mocking people's bad pronounciation isn't 'a big deal' - but in my mind, it is just one symptom of a very serious problem. Btw, I'm not into 'German-bashing' - this is more an issue of old-world vs new-world, same could be said about the French, British, etc.