why are germans called huns?

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barbarosa
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why are germans called huns?

Post by barbarosa » 16 Jan 2003 07:04

i have often wondered why germans are called huns. my understanding is that the germans are nordic tribes. if this is true they are not related to atilla. does any one know?

Phaethon
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Post by Phaethon » 16 Jan 2003 08:32

Well, the Huns were a warlike race who kicked seven bells out of the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths, forcing them Westward. The Hunnic tribes threatened the Roman Empire and extracted tribute from the Romans.

Under Attila the Hun, a confederation of Hunnic tribes ravaged much of what is now Western Russia, working westward and eventually reaching as far as Germany and France and threatened Rome itself in the 5th century CE.

As a derogatory term it was applied to the Germans of WWI to reflect their perceived aggression and martial (warlike) culture. This continued into WWII when the pattern repeated.

A modern equivalent would be rather like saying Tony Blair and George Bush are acting like Vikings.

K.
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Ken Cocker, London

barbarosa
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well done

Post by barbarosa » 16 Jan 2003 08:49

but i must say. if we dont do something about these islamic terrorists, we will all be getting our own seven bells kicked
A modern equivalent would be rather like saying Tony Blair and George Bush are acting like Vikings.

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 16 Jan 2003 09:43

When the Germans were dispatching troops to China to help quell the Boxer rebellion, Kaiser Wilhelm held a widely reported speech where he urged his troops to fight with complete ruthlessness, himself invoking the huns - for centuries a byword for cruelty and savagery in European culture - as an ideal. When the war came, the phrase was remembered and pounced upon by allied propaganda, especially as it fit with the focus on German atrocities in Belgium and France.

cheers

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YCC
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Post by YCC » 16 Jan 2003 13:44

Qvist wrote:When the Germans were dispatching troops to China to help quell the Boxer rebellion, Kaiser Wilhelm held a widely reported speech where he urged his troops to fight with complete ruthlessness, himself invoking the huns - for centuries a byword for cruelty and savagery in European culture - as an ideal. When the war came, the phrase was remembered and pounced upon by allied propaganda, especially as it fit with the focus on German atrocities in Belgium and France.

cheers

Didn't the Germans also call the Russians "Huns" in some of their propaganda?

So you say Kaiser Wilhelm urged his troops to fight like the Huns against those Chinese boxers? Hmm... it's kind of interesting.

You see, Hun was originally a nomadic tribe living in northern China, practically to the north of the Great Wall. As a matter of fact, the Great Wall was erected solely to prevent them from going south. The Huns was a long-time enemy to the ancient Chinese and used to cause lots of trouble along the border. But at the end of the first century (around 86-91AD) they suffered a major defeat, some surrendered to the Chinese and was eventually integrated, some moved west and after about 2 hundred years, part of it arrived at Europe and... well, you know what happened next :wink:

Therefore, both the Chinese and Germans could be considered as victims of the Huns. And now Kaiser Wilhelm demanded his troops to fight like a Hun against some Chinese rebels... The twists and turns of history... :roll:

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sylvieK4
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Post by sylvieK4 » 16 Jan 2003 15:10

The Kaiser did, indeed, invoke the name of the Huns in a speech delivered to troops departing for China from Bremerhaven in 1900.

Here is an excerpt from his remarks from http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~german/gtext ... china.html
...When you come upon the enemy, smite him. Pardon will not be given. Prisoners will not be taken. Whoever falls into your hands is forfeit. Once, a thousand years ago, the Huns under their King Attila made a name for themselves, one still potent in legend and tradition. May you in this way make the name German remembered in China for a thousand years so that no Chinaman will ever again dare to even squint at a German!
German version of the speech: http://www.zum.de/psm/imperialismus/hunnen1.php

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