However, this does not make them the same and quite obviously as the debate here shows they don't see themselves as the same.
ManfredV wrote:And all over its history, "Germany" (or "area where german speaking people live") was not a centralistic block (although Hohenzollern Kaisers and Hitler claimed this), it was always a "family" of language and cultur with a lot of plurialisties. Germans (citizens of FRG), Austrian, german speaking Swiss etc. belong to the same group of language and culture, but they made their own political ways, have their specific regional history and have their own varity of culture.
I agree completely. But there are common bonds of language and culture, Vienna may not be Berlin or even Munich but it's a lot less like London or Madrid. But we don't seem to have a comfortable, functioning term for this entity. We can say Scandinavian and understand we mean a group of nations (there might be a bit of arguement over some of them!) who are linked culturally and linguistically , who have a shared past but who are nonetheless seperate places with their own traditions.
Some of the common terms we might use for a 'German' equivalent are now unsatisfactory due to the taint they acquired in the NS period. Maybe we could look back further...Germania Magna anyone?