Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The German Soldiers Crossed the Rhine

A couple of days ago, this purported German Army training video was broadcast on German TV and has since then has ricocheted around the internet.*

In the video, an instructor, teaching his soldiers how to use a machine gun tells them:
"You are in the Bronx. A black van is stopping in front of you. Three African-Americans are getting out, and they are insulting your mother in the worst ways. ... Act."

The chattering classes worldwide have, predictably, gone wild and there is a lot of loud huffing and puffing about racism and about training practices in the German Army and if this is the harbinger of the fourth Reich. Of course, the fact that it is the German Army makes people doubly nervous. And while there are a lot of serious concerns that need to be raised, no doubt and several questions that the Bundeswehr needs to answer, here in New York it has caused more amusement than anything else.

But for those Soldaten of the Bundeswehr who might be harboring dreams of goose-stepping through the Bronx, let the following exchange between Rick and the Gestapo officer from the movie Casablanca serve as a fair warning:

Major Strasser: Are you one of those people who cannot imagine the Germans in their beloved Paris?
Rick: It's not particularly my beloved Paris.
Heinz: Can you imagine us in London?
Rick: When you get there, ask me!
Captain Renault: Hmmh! Diplomatist!
Major Strasser: How about New York?
Rick: Well there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade.
(Emphasis mine)

*It now seems that the video is not of official German Army training at all but a bunch of people playing dress-up. Nonetheless, if you know what's good for you, stay the hell out of the Bronx. Or any other part of New York City for that matter!