German national anthem: what is it and what are its lyrics?

The German national anthem, Deutschlandlied, originated as a cry for unity in 1841. Here are it lyrics

what is the German national anthem and what are its lyrics?

What is the German national anthem?

Germany’s national anthem is ‘Deutschlandlied’ or ‘Das Lied der Deutsche’ (‘Song of Germany’/’Song of Germans’) and has been used in some form since 1922

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Who composed the music of the German national anthem?

The tune to Germany’s national anthem is considerably older than the lyrics and started off life as an Austrian anthem. Called the ‘Emperor’s Hymn’ it was composed by Joseph Haydn in 1796 to celebrate the birthday of Holy Roman Emperor Francis II – Haydn also used the tune in the second movement of his Op. 76, No. 3 string quartet. The first lines of this anthem – ‘God preserve Francis the Emperor, Our good Emperor Francis!’ – echoes those of the British anthem ‘God Save The Queen‘. It was used as Austria’s anthem until the fall of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in 1918

Who wrote the lyrics to Deutschlandlied, the German national anthem?

The words of the German national anthem started life as a poem written by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben in 1841. The poem was a call to unify Germany, as the country was then made up of principalities and ducal kingdoms. In 1922 the song was officially adopted as Germany’s national anthem by the Weimar Republic.

What happened to the German national anthem after World War Two?

But that’s not the end of the story. During the Nazi regime and the Second World War, the first verse – with its first line ‘Deutschland, Deutschland über alles’ (‘Germany, Germany above all’) –  became heavily associated with the Nazi regime, meaning it was highly unsuitable as a national anthem in post-war Europe.

This was alright for East Germany following the division of the country, as they soon produced their own ‘Auferstanden aus Ruinen’ (‘Risen from Ruins’), but West Germany was left anthemless until 1952 when the Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and President Theodor Heuss decided to reinstate the original anthem, using just the third stanza to avoid any Nazi association. When Germany unified in 1990 it was adapted by all of Germany.

What are the lyrics to the German national anthem (Song of Germany) in English?

Unity and justice and freedom
For the German fatherland!
Towards these let us all strive
Brotherly with heart and hand!
Unity and justice and freedom
Are the safeguards of fortune;
Flourish in the radiance of this fortune,
Flourish, German fatherland!
Flourish in the radiance of this fortune,
Flourish, German fatherland!

What are the German lyrics to the German national anthem ‘Deutschlandlied’?

Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Für das deutsche Vaterland!
Danach lasst uns alle streben
Brüderlich mit Herz und Hand!
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Sind des Glückes Unterpfand –
Blüh’ im Glanze dieses Glückes,
Blühe, deutsches Vaterland!
Blüh’ im Glanze dieses Glückes,
Blühe, deutsches Vaterland

Find more lyrics to the different national anthems here

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Top image credit: Getty Images