The German Stereotype

During our last week in Germany, I realized that the Germans live up to their stereotype of being efficient and rule-followers. Germany was noticeably different in how they treated their surroundings and themselves. I noticed immediately that people almost never jaywalk in Berlin. Everywhere else we have been, and at home, everyone jaywalks. But not in Germany; here, they follow their rules.
Another interesting thing that I noticed and thought about was the difference in public transit in Berlin from any of the places we have been. German metro stations were always nicer, cleaner, and quieter unless they were hub stations. I have never witnessed German people being rowdy or obnoxious on trains or buses, but I have noticed that happening in London and Paris. I found it very interesting how the German people live up to their stereotype. The trains are never late, the stations are clean, and a German will never say more words than is absolutely necessary to talk to you.

In Awe of the Age of Paris

Inside Sainte-Chapelle

The Rose in the Sainte-Chapelle

The last three days in Paris were a lot of fun. We could experience a small portion of life in Paris and see many of the essential landmarks in the city. One of the things that stuck out the most to me was how old everything is. Almost every building we saw in Paris was as old or older than the United States as a country. It was hard for me to comprehend the age of some of these landmarks we saw; for example, Notre Dame started construction in 1163, and the Sainte-Chapelle began construction in 1238, over 500 years before the United States declared independence. These monuments are more intricate than anything I have ever seen, specifically the Sainte-Chapelle with its crazy amount of detailed stained glass that is over 500 years old. It was truly a sight to behold and something that I will never forget seeing.

When I tried to compare these historical sites to ones in the US, I found nothing to compare them with. I realized that since I have nothing to compare the monuments to from my life, it is tough to grasp the age and importance of these buildings fully. Many Americans will go their entire lives and never see something like the Sainte-Chapelle or Notre Dame, which is sad to think about since I have seen these landmarks and realized how incredible they are. I now realize nothing you can see in the US can compare.

Churchill: How Important Was He?

Over the last five days I saw lots of information about the war and its effect on Londoners and Britain as a whole. One thing I noticed was how much emphasis was placed on Churchill and his participation in the war, especially in the Churchill War Rooms. I wondered how Churchill as a historical figure really helped the war effort for the British people, and if the outcome could have been the same if he had not assumed office. I thought about what if Chamberlain had managed to stay in charge, would the same things have happened, or would the UK have suffered even worse? Churchill at the time of war breaking out was a political character that had a long history in both politics and the military. He was responsible for the failures at Gallipoli in World War I, and for several unpopular decisions in politics post World War I. Despite these failures he was also liked for his oratory skills and for his anti-appeasement advocation. 

When war broke out he was placed as the Head of the Admiralty once again, and soon became the head of state. I believe that Churchill’s many life experiences allowed him to excel as both a statesman and a military leader. His patriotism and oratory skills allowed him to stoke the flames of resistance in the British people, keeping their morale up and allowing for the British people to go on even while facing overwhelming odds. From my experiences in the museums Churchill was much more involved and a much more personable leader than Chamberlain. He was a no nonsense type, and I think that played a large part in his success as a leader. The Bulldog was the best man for the job and everyone knew it, even if they hadn’t seen eye to eye with him in the past.