"The ideal of creating a new man after the bloodletting of the trenches stemmed from the belief that this sort of war had produced a new type of individual [...] Amoral, cool, functional, and hardened, he could withstand the ultimate test of battle without his nerves cracking. [...] Matter-of-factness thus marked the new man, who replaced the romantic relics of a failed bourgeois age with the image of mechanical precision."Germans come in a wide variety of stereotypes. Brutal barbarians from the north, cold blooded Knights Templar, corrupt aristocrats, Those Wacky Nazis, and many more. But at the end of the day, there are only three German stereotypes: Scientists/Doctors, Soldiers and Engineers. And they are almost always highly competent perfectionists. Note that Germans never lose their nerves and know no remorse. They do their job, they do it exceptionally and they are perfectionistic workaholics (also vindicated by the low incidence of strikes); driven by achievement and performance, they seek perfection, and they don't stop until they have it. And when they have it, a little imperfection in their work and they drive themselves to fix that tiniest imperfection to be perfect. Emotions are not necessary. It's almost like a national badasstitute of some kind. You won't find any German mooks outside of World War II. If there are any Germans in the Big Bad's employment, only the position of The Dragon or head scientist will be good enough for them. And if a work of fiction has a famous and important foreign scientist, expect him to be German as well, though this has become less frequent in newer works. Interestingly, before the 1850s Germans were portrayed as being too lazy, stuffed with sausages, and sloshed with beer to be anything but utterly incompetent at everything. For the better part of six centuries the Holy Roman Empire had been the sick man of Europe. Of course in the mid-late 19th century the Austro-Prussian War, Franco-Prussian War, and Germany's ascension as a major industrial power (thanks to state-sponsored education and state-owned corporations) began to change that. The trope's creator was the Kingdom of Prussia. After the destruction of the Holy Roman Empire in the Napoleonic Wars Prussia, under Otto von Bismarck (a Real Life Magnificent Bastard who coined the cynical term Realpolitik) reunified all the Germanic states bar Austria under the Prussian banner. In doing so they made the Prussian virtues of self-discipline the 'hat' of the new German state. Since the dominance of Prussia over the other German states, the older trope of Germanic Inefficiency has shifted over to Austrians and (to a lesser extent) the Dutch, partly because of the influence of Vrijstaat Amsterdam. However, Germany, appreciating both the culture of Bavarian and Prussia, is not a robotic sour "kraut" but closer to a Work Hard, Play Hard attitude. The trope maker was the intellectual climate of Germany and Austria the 1920s. There was a powerful emotional argument that both countries had lost the war because the German people had been too soft, weak, and 'intellectual': to survive and prosper in the cruel world in which they lived, the German people had to become ruthless, strong, and calculating. Germany had to stop being Das Land der Dichter und Denker (the land of thinkers and poets) and become the land of scientists and soldiers. When they came to power the Nazis did all they could to make these hopes a reality. Designed and manufactured by German engineers and companies, German technologies, especially machines and vehicles, are included in this trope: if the manufacturer's name ends with "AG"note or "GmbH"note , you can be damn sure it's going to be at least portrayed as really, really awesome. Compare with Dichter and Denker, German Peculiarities, and Asian and Nerdy (especially the Japanese, a longtime ally, friend and fan of Germany). Contrast with Germanic Depressives and Fascist, but Inefficient. Note that this trope (despite the name) is only about Germans from Germany. It is not about foreign-born Germans, descendents of Germans, speakers of Germanic languages such as English and Danish, or Germanic ethnicities such as the Anglo-Saxons and Dutch.
— Stephen G. Fritz, on the 1920s ideal of The New German Man note
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- Commercials for German-made cars, especially BMW and Volkswagen, love to show us white lab-coated German engineers stoically watching their cars driven over gleaming steel ball-bearings in a controlled lab environment. And flinging inferior cars with a trebuchet.
- Just look at Audi’s marketing slogan "Vorsprung durch Technik", which translates to "lead through technology", or French car company Citroen claiming their new car was "unmistakably German" to convince potential buyers that it was well engineered and efficient, or the Volkswagen marketing slogan "Das Auto", which translates as "The Car", as in "we are the only ones that make cars, everybody else are just a bunch of hacks." For more German singularity, BMW has "The Ultimate Driving Machine," Porsche has "Porsche. There is no substitute," Mercedes-Benz has "The Best Or Nothing," and Opel's slogan is "Wir leben Autos [We live cars]."
- Toyota put out a commercial where a bunch of German scientists (presumably working for a German car company) kidnapped a poor Toyota put it through its paces and wondered how something so good could be done outside of Germany.
- Volvo ran an advert boasting that when German car manufacturers want to test their cars, they do it on Swedish roads. And then makes the rather tenuous leap that a car actually made in Sweden must therefore be better.
- Believe it or not the argument that no speed limits on (parts of) the Autobahn network helps sell cars is only partially humorous in German debates on that issue. Cars are Serious Business in Germany.
- Vince Offer's famous Shamwow commercial: "It's made by the Germans, you know the Germans always make good stuff."
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- Though their nationalities are never actually mentioned, General Uranus and his Number Two Colonel Hades in Appleseed perfectly personify this trope.
- A major badass herself, Deunan Knute is part German, of course.
- Germany in Axis Powers Hetalia.
- Prussia counts as well, when he bothers.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion has Asuka who is German and excels at pretty much everything that doesn't involve emotional intelligence.
- Laura Bodewig of Infinite Stratos was raised first and foremost as warrior, a duty she excels in... ...at the cost of being taught none of the skills essential to being a normal girl, like making friends or understanding the concept of what a marriage is.
- Belka, the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Imperial Germany IN SPACE! from the Lyrical Nanoha franchise, went on record waging war against the rest of the universe and actually dominating the fight for a thousand years in the backstory (even after their homeplanet was lost), and most of their long since abandoned weaponry is still operational. In a possible subversion, though, the fluff suggests that they didn't invent their advanced tech themselves but inherited it from the even more advanced Neglectful Precursors.
- Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach is the very picture of this-and easily enraged when his hapless subordinates don't quite measure up.
- Rudol von Stroheim, a supporting character in Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Battle Tendency. 30 days after being blown to smithereens with a grenade defending Joseph Joestar from an ancient Aztec vampire, he is not only back in action, a feat he attributes to German medical science, but his body has been augmented with fantastic cybernetics far outclassing the capabilities of the vampires. Not only that, in the same span of time, the German military developed weaponry specifically to defeat the race of vampires which now threatened the world, including ultraviolet light cannons, telescopic machine guns, and flawless prosthetics. It's not for nothing that he declares that German science is the best in the world.
- In a Captain America arc, Hauptmann Deutschland manages to capture the Red Skull and his Skeleton Crew to place them on trial for War Crimes in Germany. As the Skull is led into the courtroom bound to a chair, the Hauptmann casually mentions that said chair also doubles as an electric chair and will be activated as soon as the court finds him guilty, adding "We Germans take pride in our efficiency". (Ironically — or irritatingly, depending on one's point of view — the entire operation is suspect from start to finish by German standards. Not only does Germany not make a habit of kidnapping suspected criminals off foreign soil for purposes of forcing them to stand trial in Germany, it has abolished the death penalty in 1949 in its constitution (article 102 of the Grundgesetz) — the last regime that did managed to thoroughly discredit the concept.)
- As for the Red Skull, the old Nazi bitter-ender himself embodies this, as he is basically a highly exaggerated expy of Hitler, which makes him idiosyncratic but very efficient and effective. In one storyline where he won, we get to see what his utopia looks like: a high-tech Nazi police state where advanced science and engineering have taken man to the stars, the various mutants and supervillains of the Marvel Universe are all kept strictly in check, and all subversives and saboteurs are quickly disposed of in a clean and orderly manner. It's got curfews and apartheid, but boy, do the trains run on time...
- James Bond villains seem to have a special fondness for German henchmen and bodyguards, especially Blofeld.
- Hans Gruber and most of his men in Die Hard are German, helping to both make them appear to be foreign terrorists as well as explaining what a tight operation they're running. Die Hard with a Vengeance returns to the trope with Simon Gruber and his crew of badass, German thugs.
- The Swiss bobsled team in Cool Runnings - their discipline is what Derice wants to emulate. It fails spectacularly for the Jamaicans.
- The German drinking team in Beerfest is shown to be maximizing their efficiency by drinking while working out to some Neue Deutsche Härte music. The American team is much more laid-back.
- In No Man's Land, which deals with the civil war in ex-Yugoslavia, a UN officer tells another "We're being sent a German bomb disposal expert. Ours are busy. He should arrive at 1530. It is 1530." [German guy arrives] "Pünktlichkeit."
- Offhandedly referenced in a joke in Hot Shots!. According to Admiral Benson, what wins the day are brave pilots like our hero Topper Harley...and German parts.
- Referenced in Ice Station Zebra (both film and book): "So they took the film made by your German scientists and put it in the camera made by our German scientists and launched it in the rocket made by their German scientists..."
- Subverted One Day in September, the 1999 documentary film on the Munich Olympics Massacre of 1972. British journalist and novelist Gerald Seymour comments that such was the German reputation for ruthless efficiency resulting from World War II, no-one doubted they had an elite storm squad ready for such situations. They didn't, and a bungled rescue operation cost the lives of the hostages. The incident did however lead to the creation of GSG-9 (see Real Life).
- The Train has possibly the most Nazi line ever spoken in film: "I am tired of your inefficiency, Dietrich!"
- This is referenced in the 1632 Series, where the seventeenth-century Germans are surprised to find that the twenty-first-century Americans think Germans are stereotypically efficient and cold-blooded - it being quite the opposite of the seventeenth-century "folksy, fun-loving, perpetually quarreling" German stereotype.
- Subverted in the WWII novels by Sven Hassel, where the the battle scenes portray the Germans as very efficient troops, but presents various officers as incompetent and the stubbornness to fight on as inefficient. Though there are several officers that are presented as competent and efficient, ranging from Lieutenant to even several Generals, they normally are the Butt Monkeys.
- Heinz Guderian in his Memoirs of a Soldier often criticized high-ranking officers who, despite their loss in WWI, were unable to see that motorized warfare was much more efficient in many circumstances and were focused on then obsolete tactics and equipment. Of course, he might have exaggerated that to emphasize his own importance but his sentiments are supported by other documents. It is also worth noting that this conservatism stemmed partially from the perfectionism and fear that reaching previous levels of efficiency with new weapons and tactics may require a very long time.
- "Scratch a German and you find precision, thought Bond."—Moonraker
- Interestingly, inverted in the works of Tacitus about the old Germanics: According to him, they were rather lazy.
- In one chapter of his travelogue Last Chance to See, Douglas Adams describes meeting two German students in Zaire who are "young, fair-haired, vigourous, incredibly well equipped, and much better than us at virtually everything". He spends a night worrying about the fact this is an egregious stereotype, and it would be much easier to write about them if they were from Latvia, and then decides to just say they were Latvian for the rest of the chapter.
- The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman by Andrzej Szczypiorski says that it's a typical German thing to try to excel in everything, whether in composing, thinking, working, owning, or exterminating.
- In James Michener's Caravan, there was a story of a German engineer who built a bridge in a region plagued with flash flooding. The flash floods came, diverting the road and isolating the bridge, rendering it useless. To his credit, though, the bridge is still standing.
- MARZENA has Germano-Russian Software Company Tresisda, the main rival of American Software Company Spartan Soft, but the whole world knows that the real brain behind Tresisda are Germans (The Russians are just there for the wet-work marketing). Well the whole world knows it except for Americans, they think that the Dragon OS is Chinese.
- Victoria features a highly dystopian post-apocalyptic future, with various American successor states (nearly all of them nasty) fighting over what remains of the country. Next to the protagonist nation, Victoria itself, the most efficient and potentially dangerous of them is the openly and blatantly Nazi-wannabe state in the Midwest, manned by people of German and Scandinavian descent and run by a fanatic named von Braun.
- Played with in Temeraire, set during the The Napoleonic Wars. The Prussian Dragon Rider air force is held in great esteem for their efficiency and aerial prowess. However, Temeraire points out that their formations are far too rigid and formulaic. At the Battle of Jena, the Prussian air force surrenders almost without firing a shot when the French bait away the Prussian boarding parties, leaving the dragon's captains undefended from surprise French boarders. Later in the series, escaped Prussian dragons adopt a more flexible combat style that makes them very effective.
- Conan O'Brien would show a clip of a fictional German show "Stachenblocken"
- Inverted in Hogan's Heroes, where every single German is completely incompetent.
- Every single recurring German. Many of the one-off villains were actually threatening, but were usually handled by the end of the episode.
- When James May of Top Gear took the Bugatti Veyron up to its top speed on a German test track, he mocked both this and his own obsessive-compulsive tendencies:
James: But even when you've sorted the venue, you can't just jump in the car and go. This is Germany: there are procedures to go through. I like procedures.
- Inverted by Better Off Ted. The German clients are intimidated by Veridian Dynamics because they seem to be "ruthlessly efficient and bent on world domination".
- Or played straight to emphasize the extent of the VD ruthlessness.
- Madrigal Elektromotiv GmbH from Breaking Bad gives off this impression. Their direct impact on the plot happens almost entirely through their American subsidiary, so the decision to make them Germans was most likely made just to emphasize that they are a highly efficient and organized industrial empire, way out of the league of the small-time gangs and even the Mexican cartel that Walter had been dealing with before.
- Blackadder II - Blackadder and Melchett are being held prisoner by "Ludvig the Indestructible". Melchett doesn't have much hope of escape, but Blackadder thinks differently. Once Ludvig himself leaves for England, that just leaves the guards, who do the exact same thing every day (and even narrate it while they do so). When are at they at their weakest? When they make insulting pelvic thrusts. Trust Blackadder to punch the hard one.
Blackadder: Germans are sticklers for efficiency and I've been watching their routine. I have selected the moment when they are at their most vulnerable.
- Israeli satire show Eretz Nehederet featured this skit, satirising the high cost of living in Israel and the fact that Israeli products often cost less abroad than they do in Israel, and specifically the outrage at some Israeli chocolate bars being much cheaper at Israeli stores in the US than in Israel, and the rise of Israeli emigration due to this, often to Berlin (yes, Berlin. The skit was styled as an ad for a supermarket, owned by an Israeli and offering Israeli products, often with Germanised names, such as ‘Neka Sieben’ for Neka 7 and Zyklon B bug spray. To drive the point home, the owner asked his German delivery boy when a woman asking to have her groceries delivered should be home, and he answered, ‘Between 11:47 and 11:49.’
- Parodied in That Mitchell and Webb Look with "Reports Mode", purportedly a popular Bavarian children's entertainment show. At one point the show takes a break from all the reports to check how it's doing in efficiency.
- If you've ever wondered what Germanic efficiency sounds like, just listen to Kraftwerk.
- Or Rammstein for that matter, are there any other heavy metal bands as efficient? Any more imposing scene shows? German efficiency!
- Or the final scene of Das Boot - the march played at the scene the U-96 arriving to harbour is ''Erzherzog-Albrecht-Marsch", an actual march played when a German submarine arrived to port.
- And of course, the Neue Deutsche Welle movement. One of the more notable songs from that movement is Trio's "Da Da Da", a prime example of carefully crafted German minimalism. If you're curious about the lyrics: They are about summed up by the chorus.
- Krautrock. Alles gesagt!
- Anything done with synthesizers and which is not synthpop, such as Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Einstürzende Neubauten, KMFDM, Digitalism, Boys Noize, etc.
- Or their more straightforward rock bands, like the Scorpions, Wir sind Helden and Sportfreunde Stiller.
- German audio engineering equipment manufacturers are highly regarded. Among them are Native Instruments (makers of the Traktor DJ platform), Behringer, and Sennheiser.
- Giorgio Moroder, although born in Italy, cemented his reputation during the 1970s as a composer/producer in the Munich disco scene.
- A classic stand-by for comics who work in Europe is to make a joke about German's being humorless and highly efficient.
- Eddie Izzard will occasionally do bits about German efficiency and the speed with which the Germans can accomplish highly complex tasks.
Eddie Izzard: The Germans, very organized. Always built an empire. Eins, zwei, eins, zwei. Very Prussian.
- Omid Djalili once spoke about how he made a joke about Germany having a negative number of comedians and how Germans then came up to him nitpicking about the impossibility of the gag.
- In Feng Shui, characters who use guns made by Heckler and Koch (such as the P7 and any member of the MP5 family) or drive German-made vehicles such as the BMW 328i Convertible will often wax poetic about "fine German craftsmanship."
- Downplayed in BattleTech. House Steiner has strong Germanic influences, but for the longest time their military officers are construed largely as General Failures, and by extension their line troops are not viewed in any better light. However, they are highly respected as merchants and are both well known and often targeted by rival realms for their technological knowledge and large scale construction ability.
- Mutant Chronicles: The Bauhaus corporation has a strong germanic overtone, (in fact, it is heavily implied to be the contemporary retail chain Bauhaus) and is obsessed with producing the best of everything. This is to the extent that they prefer to not field a major portion of their army to equipping soldiers with worse than top-of-the-line weapons.
- The Empire in Warhammer. Naturally.
- In Rifts, Mega Corp. Triax Industries is the most advancednote military manufacturer on Rifts Earth. Appropriately enough, they're located in, and largely responsible for the creation of, the New German Republic, the only country not to fall in the Great Cataclysm.
- In Shadowrun, Essen-based German industrial conglomerate Saeder-Krupp (made up from the BMW fusing with the Krupp conglomerate and the fictional Saeder munitions) was the largest, most powerful and influential of the "Big Ten" Megacorps even before they got an immortal dragon for a CEO in 2038. By the start of the game timeline in the 2050s, they're even more so.
- The Sound of Music:
Franz: Well, that's one thing people are saying—if the Germans did take over Austria, we'd have efficiency.
- In Starlancer, the German-made Wolverine heavy fighter is the last starfighter that you can unlock, and probably the best ship in the entire game.
- In the sequel, Freelancer, Rheinland's military fighters are the most powerful of the four empires. They still fall very short of the Edge World ships though.
- In Chrono Cross, the character Luccia is a brilliant, efficient, and morally ambiguous scientist with a very distinct German accent.
- Averted in Champions Online. The Mad Scientist side character Dr. Von Schulz is a pathetic coward (or maybe just a realist) who considers the whole plan failed as soon as The Hero enters his lab... for which he's quickly killed off by the Nemesis.
- Belka, the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Germany featured in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War and Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, easily has (had) the most advanced technology in Strangereal, and their entire airforce is comprised of aces.
- Gunther Hermann from Deus Ex. Well, sort of.
- The Von Karmas from the Ace Attorney series are cold, efficient, and perfectionists to a fault. Interestingly enough, in Japan, the Von Karmas were American.
- Parodied with Von Kaiser from Punch-Out!!. He claims to be the very model of German efficiency, and when he winds up to attack you hear sound effects like a toy soldier rattling or the cocking of a rifle. If he manages to knock you down, he begins mechanically jogging in place, and when he wins a match he paces around Little Mac's unconscious body disapprovingly like a drill sergeant. Despite this, it's soon revealed that this affected perfectionism is a front to cover the fact that he's a twitchy, nervous wreck. In Contender mode, a single counterpunch turns him into a basket case, hiding his face and whimpering "mommy", and hitting him with a Star Punch in this state will automatically knock him down or even KO him outright.
- In Rise of Nations, the Germans posses the "Power of Industry" and their bonuses focus on more efficient resource gathering as well as earlier access to economic technologies.
- The Civilization series tends to portray Germany as an industrial powerhouse. In Civ IV the Germans get an Assembly Plant that is more productive than a standard Factory, the Hanse in Civ V is a Bank that provides a city increased production based on how many trade routes it has with nearby city-states, while in Civ VI the Hanse is an improved industrial district, while Germany can uniquely build more districts around their cities than other civs.
- A recurring gag in the Kim Possible episode "Ron the Man" is the contrast between the ineptitude of Dr. Drakken's henchmen and the Prussian efficiency of Professor Dementor's. Of course, neither of them wins out in the end, anyway.
- The Simpsons:
- In one episode, Homer is kidnapped in a conspiracy and replaced by a man who looked similar, but spoke in broken English with an obvious German accent. He manages to distract Marge from questioning him by offering to take her out to dinner and then having "efficient German sex." (We never find out if they went through with it, though.)
- In an earlier episode, the power plant was bought out by a German company who lived this trope through and through; Lisa even told Homer that the reason Germany is an economic power is because of this trope. Interestingly, the Germans who actually came to run the plant were portrayed as being very friendly and approachable. Despite fears of mass layoffs, they ended up only laying off Homer (which, let's face it, is understandable) and most of the employees far preferred them to Mr. Burns. The status quo is restored at the end when the Germans sell the plant back to Mr. Burns when they realize it's in such sorry shape that it would cost a fortune to bring up to spec.
- Almost every modern action film and video game will have lots of German-made cars and guns which are usually portrayed as being the best available. Works set in World War II will also have German tanks.
- Practically everything made by Heckler & Koch.
- The MP5 submachine gun, which is popular among American SWAT Teams and countless other special ops groups, as well as numerous police forces, militaries and government agencies worldwide.
- The MP7 PDW, also a favorite of many special forces teams.
- The PSG-1 sniper rifle.
- The HK416 assault rifle, which is basically an improved variant of the American M4 series and the main weapon of the Delta Force.
- The G36 assault rifle, which the German Bundeswehr phased out because it wasn't good enough. Still highly thought of by the rest of the world.
- The HK417 battle rifle, a 7.62mm variant of the HK416 for designated marksmen. A lighter version, the M110A1, won a contract in April 2016 to replace the U.S Army's M110 SASS.
- The P30 pistol, which is the main weapon of Michael Westen from Burn Notice from season 4 onwards.
- The USP, available in three calibres. The .45 ACP version is what most Americans think of first and the 9x19mm is pretty widely used outside of the US.
- The Mauser C96 "Broomhandle", the service pistol of Nationalist China and a favorite with both Imperial Germany and the Ottoman Empire in WW1. Its 7.63mm round was the most powerful in the world until the invention of the .357 Magnum, capable of completely piercing WW2-era steel helmets.
- The Luger P08, whose distinctive, sleek looks and usage by the German military in both world wars made it one of the most famous handguns in the world. Most notably, Nazi Germany's use of it throughout the 1930s until the end of WW2 made it the bad guy gun in postwar fiction. However, the Luger is notoriously finicky and complex, making it a rather impractical sidearm, although it functions wonderfully as a target pistol.
- James Bond has made Walther Arms and its associated weapon very famous, most notably the Walther PP/PPK series of compact pistols and the Walther P99 series of full-sized pistols, as well as the Walther WA2000 sniper rifle.
- There's a reason things are called "the Mercedes of X". BMWs and Porsches also have a very high reputation.
- Practically everything made by Heckler & Koch.
- "How many Germans to it take to screw in a lightbulb?" "One. They're highly efficient and humorless."
- DIN (Deutsche Industrienormen) standards. Das. Ist. Norm. translation
- When Japan decided to become a modern and industrialized country, they first contracted French advisors and engineers, but quickly switched over to German experts after the Franco-Prussian War.
- There was a reason why Japan was considered as the "Prussia of the East.""
- The same is true of law: many developing nations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially in Asia, adopted German civil law codes as the basis of their legal systems.
- Since Germany never really had extensive colonies and lost what little they had after just 30 years in World War I, it is one of the few major European countries that did not leave a lasting negative impression in Asia and Africa as an oppressive imperialist power. Which is part of the reason that one can still find numerous people with rather "naive" perceptions about the Nazi period.
- Regarding Asia, Nationalist China was friendly with Germany from 1911 onwards. Notably, 1934 saw a team of German military advisors, lead by Alexander von Falkenhausen (who wasn't a Nazi) to bring German weapons and equipment to China and attempt to modernize the Chinese army. Although they were withdrawn in 1938 following Japanese pressure, Falkenhausen's suggestions helped China hold their ground against the Japanese for 8 years, though it was never enough to fully improve the Chinese army.
- Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. Probably the most famous fighter pilot of all time.
- Erwin Rommel, the Trope Namer of the Magnificent Bastard.
- Speaking of famous German military leaders, Germany (or at that time, more precisely Prussia) is credited with inventing the modern military staff college. Aknowledging the fact that landowners of the lower nobility do not neccessarily make great military commanders, the new academy focused on a scientific education in stategy, tactics, and military history, creating professional full-time officers. When this proved to be an extreme advantage over the common practice of selecting commanders through nepotism, the system soon became an international standard.
- Another innovation was the invention of the military 'operation' and the concept of lower-level initiative as a way of working around the imperfect nature and relatively slow speed of intelligence-gathering and messaging in the 19th century. Since all commanding officers were trained in strategies, tactics, and leadership, Generals were able to explain to their subordinates what goals they were supposed to accomplish and trust that they would adapt to any unexpected changes and exploit opportunities without having to wait for a messenger to bring updated orders. While this worked well for the pre-telephone era, by the time of World War I this approach was dated and caused far more problems than it solved because more often than not subordinates would use their freedom of action to act in the 'self-interest' (reduced casualties, greater glory) of their own formations rather than that of the entire forcenote . Passable operational plans being blown to hell by insubordination at crucial junctures crippled the German war effort and prevented the German army from accomplishing anything in particular against anyone.
- Despite its general failures, the German military system did have one notable successes. Notwithstanding the critical failures of World War I, the system continued in the Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic and by the time World War II rolled around, the success of the planned operation against France was expedited by the ability of aggressive officers commanding regiments and divisions to exploit advantageous situations quickly without waiting for orders from higher ups note . However it is worth noting that this was the only instance of this actually helping, with the vastly greater scale and scope of the Soviet-German War note making initiative at the strategic-operational level critical and initiative at the tactical-operational level actively harmful note .
- Lyndon Johnson owned a German amphibious automobile known as the Amphicar Model 770. Then he'd drive it with guests into a lake pretending the brakes were cut just for the lulz.
- When rocket engineer Wernher von Braun was captured by the Allies in World War II, he was taken straight to the US to work on their rocket program. Prompting jokes that the Saturn V is a great ride because "Duh, German engineering!"
- The Right Stuff, among other accounts, suggests that The Space Race was really a contest between "our Germans and their Germans."note
- To be fair to the Soviets, they had one outright brilliant rocket engineer themselves (Sergei Korolev), only problem was he was imprisoned under Stalin and died (aged 59) in early 1966 and the Soviet space program (which had a much smaller budget than NASA) never recovered from that blow. His existence was a state secret during his career, so it is somewhat understandable that older works fail to mention him.
- The Right Stuff, among other accounts, suggests that The Space Race was really a contest between "our Germans and their Germans."note
- The German SWAT Team, the "GSG-9". The Badass Counter-Terrorists in ski masks in Counter-Strike, their first assignment was the liberation of a plane from terrorists armed with small arms and grenades(!). Four hostages were lightly wounded, two terrorists shot, two others survived. Granted they'd trained on that particular plane type, but still... This is not so surprising considering the circumstances of their founding (the aftermath of the Munich Olympic Massacre in 1972) and the political climate in the 1970s Germany, with the Red Army Faction rampant and killing people left and right. But mostly right.
- Michael Schumacher, statistically the greatest Formula One driver the sport has ever seen. So efficient, he tunes his car's settings as he drives. He is also (possibly) The Stig. Which explains a lot.
- Efficiency: young Michael Schumacher didn't have much money. To get the most out of his seriously limited funds, he preformed his practice rounds on the go-kart track when no one else want to use it - when it was raining. No wonder that he became a legendary "rainy weather" Formula One driver. He could not only handle unstable behavior of his race car (regardless whether he was racing or wet or dry tracks)...this was actually his preferred setup. Other drivers considered his car's behavior uncontrollable and simply insane.
- Now there's Sebastian Vettel who looks set to break Schumacher's Formula One records.
- Subverted by Nico Rosberg, who is a German national, but ethnic Finn. Not that Finns themselves weren't any less awesome...
- The German football team. They've only missed qualifying for The World Cup twice, and that was because they couldn't enter (The Great Depression meant they couldn't afford to send a team to the 1930 World Cup due to the Great Depression; while the lack of a national federation and ongoing partition as well as the ongoing pariah status for starting and losing WW2 meant they weren't eligible for the 1950 World Cup). Of the eighteen times they have qualified, they've reached the last eight or better seventeen timesnote , the last four or better thirteen times, and the final eight times, all tournament records. Their four titles are second only to Brazil's five (while tying the only team the Germans regularly lose to, Italy). They've also qualified for ten UEFA European Championships (every one since 1972), reaching the semi-finals eight times and the final six times, winning three of them - again, all tournament records (the last shared with Spain).
Gary Lineker: Football is a simple game. 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.
- It's telling that nobody ever says that Germany is "an excellent team." They say that the group with the Germans is "a difficult group."
- There are few better examples of the German football team's ruthless efficiency than their utter desolation of hosts Brazil in the first semi-final match of the 2014 World Cup. Despite losing two of their best players, the Brazilians hoped it would be a close match. Die gnadenlosen Deutschen eviscerated the five-time World Cup winners by the score of 7-1. But for them, it was Tuesday. (Actually not quite gnadenlos (without mercy) - rewatch the late, lone Brazilian goal, and you will see German defender Boateng is actively trying to get out of the way of Oscar to grant the home team this face-saving goal)
- The above downplays just how bad it was. Four goals scored within a span of six minutes, it shattered previous records of semi-final scorelines, and also allowed striker Miroslav Klose to overtake Brazilian Ronaldo's World Cup scoring record. This was the first time Brazil had lost at home since 1975.
- In a sense justified - in the preparation games before the World Cup, Germany had thrown away a 4:0 lead against Sweden, the end result being 4:4 and the German team a laughing stock of the press. "Better score a few more before that happens again!"
- The women's team too. Two World Cup championships in a row and did not concede a single goal in 2007note . Tied with USA in overall World Cup victories. In the 2016 Olympic Games, the Germans got the gold medal by easily beating a Swedish team whose overtly defensive game made them upset the United States and Brazil. The lowest FIFA ranking the German women ever dropped to? Third.
- In fact, Germany is the only country to have won both the men and women's World Cups.
- It's important to note that German football, stereotypically, is usually contrasted to Latino football: no pretty tricks of star players, only mechanical precision and relentlessness. One reason for the success is an overhaul of the youth system in the early 2000s.note
- In 2014 the men's team won their fourth star. A month later the U-19 team took the Euro and less than a month after that, the women's team took the U-20 World Cup.
- How many penalty shootouts has Germany lost? One. 1976 against Czechoslovakia when Antonín Panenka invented a style of shooting a penalty that was later named after him - namely shooting the ball dead center in the hope that the keeper had already jumped. When Uli Hoeneß (later manager and president of Bayern München) shot his penalty into the night sky the CSSR was European Champion. Twenty years later Germany won against the Czech Republic by the first ever golden goal.
- Heckler & Koch GmbH makes many of the Cool Guns known to audiences today: the MP5, the G36, the USP, the XM8, etc. Practically all of their products were designed with solid engineering and construction in mind.
- Before H&K, there was Mauser, whose legendary bolt-action design is probably one of the most widely used designs in bolt-action rifles today. Their C96 "Broomhandle" pistol is also highly regarded as one of the first practical semi-automatics, well-made and capable of firing a far more powerful cartridge than most other pistols at the time.
- It is a bit more complicated. German firearms are often renowned not for their ballistic efficiency (not that they are bad in that aspect) but for their ergonomics and manufacturing costs.
- During WW2, engineers working in the aeronautic branch of the military (especially the armament designers) often joked that their superiors constantly wanted them to break the laws of physics, so some of their inventions might be slightly flawed.
- Rheinmetall AG. The Rheinmetall 120 mm gun is used on the Leopard II, Abrams, Type-90 and the South Korean K1A1. It is also being considered for the (excellent) British Challenger. This makes it one of the most (possibly the most) common tank guns in the world.
- And before Rheinmetall, there was Krupp. During its heyday, the company was the backbone of German heavy industry, renowned for the quality of its steel products (after WW2 it was discovered that German steel plate for their tanks was roughly 20% better than British steel). That quality then in turn translated to everything else from artillery to shipbuilding (also mainly for the military). The company still exists as part of ThyssenKrupp, one of the largest industrial conglomerates in the world. One of the bigger contracts for Krupp before the merger with Thyssen was to deliver part of the "Inter City Experimental" which was the Super Prototype for Deutsche Bundesbahn's Inter City Express. Incidentally one of the other involved companies was Thyssen.
- BASF (Baden Aniline and Soda Factory), the biggest chemical company in the world. And owners of the biggest single industrial complex of the world. Said industrial complex (in Ludwigshafen am Rhein) is a chemical factory, and as almost every chemical factory they burn their unusable gasses every once in a while. The resulting flame can be seen from space, a distinction shared with maybe a handful of other man-made phenomena.
- Going way back, Ulfberht, probably the most well known manufacturer of high-quality swords in Europe from the 9th to 11th century, is believed to have been based in the area near Solingen, which to this day is known for the manufacturing of knives and blades.
- Another ancient German company is Merck KGaA,note originally an apothecary's shop in Darmstadt founded in 1668, today a multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical and chemical company with a fantastic reputation for innovative products.note
- Carl Zeiss AG, one of the oldest and top-of-the-line manufacturers of optical equipment - everything from binoculars to microscopes, to things like planetarium projectors and other equipment used in astronomy, as well as military equipment in the form of rangefinders and sniper scopes.
- The Germans also prefer efficiency in speech, according to the BBC. They have no word for "small talk", and some of them even perceive it as being quite close to lying.
- The closest word to "small talk" in German language is the rarely-used "Schwatz", which comes from "Geschwätz", meaning pointless or nonsensical talk.
- The modern German term for "small talk" is in fact the anglicism "Small Talk".
- There would also be "quatschen" (which comes from "Quatsch" or "nonsense" in English again) or "plaudern", "schwafeln" or more but these are even more negatively connoted.
- In the same vein, the concept of "white lie" is not well known in Germany. Lying in any way is seen as an insult, because you either don't care enough to give an honest answer, think someone has to be shielded from the truth like a child, or believe they're not intelligent enough to notice they're being lied to. Also, they wouldn't have asked if they didn't want an honest truth, right? (German directness, again.)
- The closest translation German has for "white lie" is "Notlüge" ("emergency/distress lie"). As you can tell, this word doesn't exactly imply all too casual usage.
- And the German word for "talk show" is... "Talkshow".
- Older Than Print: Bloßfechten, Germany's brand of basic swordsmanship. It was and is highly efficient to the point that other European kingdoms, empires and territories ended up adopting and adapting it. For even greater detail, see European Swordsmanship.
- Dieter Rams, product designer at Braun, is famous for his austere minimalist designs that influenced later Apple products.
- Dirk Nowitzki became a very curious case in the NBA in regards to this. His style of basketball is very different from the standard seen in America - he never showboats, he does not risk fouls, he does not make flashy moves - but he can score practically anywhere within range of the basket. And draw a foul in the process. He also rarely misses free throws.
- His style has some drawbacks. Nowitzki is a pretty bad defender, and his lack of physicality is one of the reasons his 1st-seeded team lost to the 8th-seeded Warriors in 2007.
- He also doesn't have an agent which is simply unheard of in pro-sports, and despite of that, is able to negotiate contracts upwards to $20-million per year and well in the top 3 of the league's highest salaries.
- The cultural difference shows up in the branding of the Ritter Sport chocolates. In the US: "The handy chocolate square." In Germany: "Quadratisch. Praktisch. Gut." ("Square. Practical. Good.") The chocolate itself is an example: a perfect (4x4) square of chocolate, with the chocolate itself being delicious and the packaging engineered to open in just the right way.
- Ever asked yourself why it is called Ritter Sport? Well, back in the day the founder of the company thought that normal chocolate just doesn't fit his coat pockets when he is out doing - yaknow, sport - thus the quadratic chocolate was born which packages the same 100 grams of sweet deliciousness just a bit more efficient.
- Staedtler is an office product company that, among other things, produces high-end fineline pens and engineering pencils. Their main selling point is ergonomic and (naturally) efficient design.
- Much of the characteristics described in the intro probably stem from Germany going up against much of the rest of the world twice in the first half of the 20th century and, while not winning, giving a hard fightnote . The morale and endurance of the German army of those two wars is considered by many historians almost miraculous. Especially in WWII, though not very nice, the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine did hold out long after hope of even a draw was gone.
- And they might have done better in the second one without the horrendous number of foolish acts and other inefficiencies decreed by the Nazis. But some of their greatest mistakes (Taifun, Zitadelle, their response to Bagration) were neither Hitler's nor the Nazis' doings.
- And they might have done better in the first one if their command system wasn't so egregiously bad. 'The German Army' was an organisation in name only. In any given operation, there were many 'German Armies' and each one of these would compete against the others. There are no words for how mind-bogglingly stupid this is.
- An engineering example: Karl von Terzaghi. If you can build your house (or skyscraper) on soil today, it's largely thanks to him. None of his work has been significantly improved upon since the 1920s. Before him, there had been no major improvements in predicting how soils behave under heavy loading since the Romans.
- Current European economic policies, which consist mostly of austerity, are strongly advocated by Chancellor Angela Merkel as the best solution, but she is heavily criticized for it throughout Europe, in Greece and France in particular (it led to government changes in both countries) although many countries in Northern Europe support her approach. In many ways, a ruthless adherence to this trope, insofar as Merkel's austerity agenda while taking a massive social and political in the afflicted countries, also helped keeping the Euro as common currency alive when many of her critics predicted its demise.
- The Germanic Economic Efficiency is particularly prevalent in the European Union - and more specifically, the Eurozone. Germany has 21% of the overall EU gross domestic product (the closest are the UK, with 16%, and France, with 15.5%, but only the latter uses the Euro) and 70% of the union's exports. Add inhabitants of Eurozone countries taking advantage of those ubiqutous cheaper German products, and smaller economies such as Greece could not handle it.
- The crisis is sometimes blamed on "hard working Germans" and "lazy Greeks", but the numbers might not add up. Some alternate opinion.
- German soldiers in the period of All the Little Germanies were a Double Subversion. Germany was famous for being a Chew Toy, but that was because of their political divisions. When one wanted soldiers, Germans were always a good buy.
- The architectural and design style associated with the Bauhaus school tends to emphasize the functionality of the buildings or artifacts in question.
- People of Königsberg said that they could set their clocks after Immanuel Kant. (Note: Kant was famous for his rigid adherence to his personal time schedules. He is said to have missed his daily walk precisely once in his life, when he was particularly engrossed in Rousseau's Émile.)
- In some cases, in POW camps the Allied prisoners counted on this kind of punctuality and routine expected from Germans. In one case, an escape was successful because the Germans insisted on having soldiers fall in, form up into neat rows, and only then was the counting started.
- The paper sizes commonly used in Europe, or more or less anywhere outside North America, first caught on as the German DIN 476 standard for paper sizes. The basic sheet size has a side ratio of 1:sqrt(2), the only ratio where halving the paper yields two halves with the same ratio again. In mathematics, this setting is called the silver ratio. The A0 sheet has area of one square meter, 841 by 1189 millimetres. A1 is that sheet halved, A2 is A0 quartered, etc. A4, the most common European paper sheet, thus has an area of 1/16th (1/2^4) of the area of A0. The B series for printing books are the geometric mean between consecutive A series sheet sizes. And, finally, C series are the geometric mean between A and B sized of the same number, used for envelopes. Envelope size C4 envelope is designed to contain an A4 sheet.
- Likewise, the European paper hole punch standard is originally German DIN standard. Two 6 mm holes punched 80 mm apart with a margin of 12 mm of the edge of the paper.
- As is the Euro plug used for AC in Europe.
- The German national flag-carrier, Lufthansa, is generally held in high regard by travelers, at least more so than most other international airlines. It is no surprise, then, that they are one of the world's largest airlines (in terms of revenue, fleet size, and annual volume of passengers and cargo), one of five founding members of Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance, and the first airline to fly Boeing's new 747-8I.
- German cars, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW note , Porsche, Audi, Daimler Motors which was part of Chrysler until it was sold off in 2007, and Opel, which was an overseas division of General Motors until 2017, when Groupe PSA acquired Opel from GM. Even the Great Volkswagen Exhaust Caper, which is disastrous for the reputation of German cars, should not be seen as an aversion: It was a masterpiece of cheat engineering - the car "knew" whether it was on the street or just tested, fulfilling the exhaust norms only in the latter case.
- Herbert Ahues, chess problem composer. Was this living trope until his untimely death in 2015 at the age of 93. He even had enough self-irony to discuss the trope a bit in a lecture about the perfect twomover, his speciality: "You know I am German. Germans are supposed to like everything perfect. So do I. I confess I like perfect problems..."
- Helmut Schmidtnote (which is a name so German people wouldn't believe it if you invented it) once famously said about his predecessor as chancellor, Willy Brandtnote , when he accused him of a lack of vision "Wenn man Visionen hat sollte man zum Arzt gehen". This roughly translaters to "If you have visions, you should see a doctor". Though Schmidt later retracted the comment and apologized for it, it shows the different approaches of Brandt (who was very much an ideals guy) and Schmidt (whose middle name might as well have been Realpolitik). Schmidt went on to become one of Germany's most beloved elder statesmen during his long retirement until his death in 2015
- While Germans would have you believe that Deutsche Bahn is the biggest aversion (Germans love complaining, and their favorite target is Deutsche Bahn, don't ask why) of this trope in existence, trains of German making enjoy a very good reputation. The Velaro which is based on the German Intercity-Express (ICE) has been sold virtually unmodified to Spain, China, Russia, Eurostar (which is plurality owned by the French railways) and Turkey. Siemens is one of the biggest manufacturers of trains in the world and a second big one - Canadian Bombardier - grew to its current size mostly by buying up almost all mid sized and small German rail manufacturers that were on sale.
- When the people behind the high speed ICE had to decide on a color-scheme various colors floated around, but none got majority support. Ultimately someone said: "Guys, if you can't agree on anything, we're gonna take white". The prototype was delivered in white with a single crimson stripe along the entire length. More than twenty-five years and four generations of ICEs later, the only thing that has been slightly modified is the color of the red stripe. The overall white design has stuck and earned several design awards.
- The German American Football national team (yes such a thing exists) has won three European Championships (yes such a thing exists) to date (2001, 2010 & 2014). The latter of which greatly exemplifies the trope of Germanic efficiency. In the final against Austria, which was held in Vienna the referees decided to enforce the college derived rules on "excessive celebration" extremely strictly and voided quite a few big plays because a player had displayed too much emotion afterwards. Germany eventually wised up to this rule enforcement while Austria didn't. This gave them the edge they needed to win the game in triple overtime 30-27.
- German club teams are also quite successful. The only teams that come close to challenging them in Eurobowl (the equivalent of the UEFA Champions League) wins are Austrian teams. As of 2016, German teams are in a collective three year winning streak in both the Eurobowl and the EFL Bowl (second tier, similar to UEFA cup). In the case of the EFL Bowl, that means all titles in its history have gone to German teams.
- The first European ever to be drafted by an NFL team without playing College Football? A German. Moritz Böhringer,note who incidentally studied mechanical engineering at the time. Naturally many people reacted by quoting this trope. How does he get from his home to training every day? He walks. Three miles either direction. Why? He does not want to spend any of his 150 000 Dollar salary on a car. There is a stereotype of Swabians (the part of Germany he's from) being stingy, but couldn't he at least buy a bike?