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My understanding is that today's national anthem, "Einigkeit, und Recht, und Freiheit..." was the third verse of the original and that we're not supposed to sing the original first verse, "Deutschland, Deutschland...".

There was also a second verse, that begins with "Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue, deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang...". Sources such as Wikipedia give the text, but don't discuss it much.

Is this still used as the second verse of the "new anthem"? Or has it been "banned" like the original first verse and therefore not used anymore?

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I edited your question to make it easier to read and improved the formarring, for example putting the link address directly doesn't look good or using too many spaces. You can revert it to your old version if you disagree. – user508 Jan 30 '12 at 6:11
And, is this about German Language and Usage? I think it's more about music than languages. – user508 Jan 30 '12 at 7:45
That "usage" refers to usage of the language, not usage of everything. It's a good question but unfortunately off-topic, at least I think so. – user508 Jan 30 '12 at 14:30
The title says something else, "What Happened to the second verse of the German national anthem?". – user508 Jan 30 '12 at 14:43
You already got one reopen vote. You amend the title, but the body is still the same question: Is this still the second verse of the "new anthem"? Or has it been "banned" like the original first verse? For me, this isn't anything about language & usage. And I believe, it is barely possible. – Em1 Jan 30 '12 at 17:21
up vote 20 down vote accepted

Good question. The first verse was dropped, because it was the only verse that was sung in the Third Reich and was so strongly associated with Nazi ideology (also in part due to the way you can interpret it) that it was too uncomfortable as official anthem.

Why we have only the third verse left, has a simple reason: Adenauer said so.

Daher die erneute Bitte der Bundesregierung, das Hoffmann-Haydn'sche Lied als Nationalhymne anzuerkennen. Bei staatlichen Veranstaltungen soll die dritte Strophe gesungen werden.

-- Adenauer, 1954

(emphasis by me)

It is argumentative why he chose the third verse exclusively because according to the sources I found, he didn't care to explain his motivation at any moment.

A cynical person would say, that you can be lucky if the average German manages to learn one verse. But seeing that the whole anthem was going to be replaced, I think it is more reasonable to assume that Adenauer thought he would have better chances asking for one verse to be used than two. Maybe they planned to eventually add new verses?

You might still ask why the third, and not the second. I see two possible explanations;

  1. The third is further away from the evil first verse.
  2. He simply liked the third better than the second (not necessarily a question of taste but of politics).

From today's politics, I would say that the second verse would be considered offensive to some people due to the whole gender discussion ("Deutsche Frauen, ..." might be considered objectifying in that context - I don't know, just guessing).

Finally, one could argue that "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit" are simply some of the most incorruptible virtues you can get. A good way to get rid of the fascist NS image.

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Good explanation. Just adding a historical fact concerning the 1st verse: Originally it meant, that forming one united Germany should go before all other things (see Wikipedia), but Hitler (mis)used it to place Germany before all other countries. – Alexander Rühl Jan 30 '12 at 13:18
"Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit" are simply some of the most incorruptible virtues you can get. A good way to get rid of the fascist NS image." I would guess that this is why Adenauer chose the third verse. The second verse, I would characterize as "neutral," and the first verse, as "nationalistic." – Tom Au Jan 30 '12 at 13:44
It is indeed the most "republican". The stated ideals are probably intentionally similar to "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite" – Jules Feb 1 '12 at 13:09

I'm very surprised that most posters seem to classify the second verse as neutral, or to imply that it might very well have been picked instead.

To me, the inappropriateness of the second verse is rather obvious.

Anthems are supposed to represent ideals of a nation - it's hard for me to imagine Germans not long after the war proudly declaring in song that the first (and by inference best) thing about their country are the women, closely followed by "Deutsche Treue" (not a good phrase after the war), drinking alcohol and singing - all in all a rather "Germanic" picture of Germans, which after the war was probably not what people were aiming for.

Am I the only one thinking this? (I'm usually very quick at getting annoyed at overdone political correctness - am I too blind to see the beam in my own eye?)

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I do not consider your view "unfounded." On the other hand, there at least an "order of magnitude" difference between the second first verses. But perhaps your concerns are why Adenauer chose to leave it out. An upvote for a "dissenting" opinion. – Tom Au Feb 1 '12 at 14:05
No, I agree that calling the second verse neutral is a bit misleading. I think what Tom Au meant by that is "neutral compared to the first one", especially regarding political orientation. Anyway, one has to realise that political correctness in the 1950s meant something different than today! – bitmask Feb 1 '12 at 14:27
I don't see why the second verse would be inappropriate - heck, we even had the "Trizonesien-Song" as the "national anthem" during the '52 Olympics. BUT: The second verse is "nonsense gibberish" without the first, while the third can survive on his own... – Alexander Aug 12 '14 at 12:49

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