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Chalk and cheese

The British and the Germans are said to feel a closer affinity than either has to the French. But how similar are they? Mitsuko Uchida says that Britain and Germany are fundamentally divided by geography and intellectual tradition and are therefore unlikely to agree on a common European project

By Mitsuko Uchida   February 1998

Anglo-German relations have improved beyond measure in recent months, and that is most welcome. But-as someone who knows both countries well-let me warn you not to make the mistake of supposing that the two understand each other. Austen Chamberlain was aware of the problem: he wrote in his memoirs that his experience of the French and the Germans was quite different. With the French, you began by disagreeing but then gradually found you had a lot in common. With the Germans, when you first met you thought that you agreed on everything, but as the relationship developed you found it…

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