Comparing French and Germany Identity

Francis Fukuyama writes how French and German identities differ:

French national identity is very much built around French language. I always found very impressive that Léopold Senghor, the Senegalese poet, was admitted to the Académie française back in the 1940’s, something that is indicative of the way French see their identity. If you spoke French and if you could write beautiful poetry in French that qualified you for the Académie française. Therefore, that republican sense of identity has underlined French citizenship.

The German case is very different. German national identity evolved very differently from France. Partly due to the fact that the Germans were scattered all over Central and Eastern Europe, the process of German unification required definition of Germanness in ethnic terms. So legally their citizenship law was based on the legal principle of jus sanguinis. You become a citizen not if you are born on German territory, but rather depending on whether you have a German mother. Up until the year 2000, if you were an ethnic German coming from Russia, you could get citizenship far more easily than if you were a 2nd or 3rd generation Turk that had grown up in Germany, spoke perfect German and did not speak Turkish at all. Germans have changed their practice but the cultural meaning of saying I am German is still very different from the cultural meaning of saying I am French. It has a connotation that is more deeply rooted in blood. This means that when Angela Merkel says that multiculturalism has failed in Germany, I think she is only half right. She would be quite wrong to describe that failure one-sidedly as an unwillingness of Muslim immigrants and their children to want to integrate into German society. Part of the failure of integration comes from the side of the German society as well.

I want to say that the majority of the world culture are similar to that of Germany, but I’m just speculating. I’m not certain if there is hard evidence for this question of defining identity.

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