While German-speaking people have a long history, Germany as a nation state dates only from 1871. Earlier periods are subject to definition debates. The Franks, for instance, comprised a union of Germanic tribes; nevertheless, some descendants of the Franks later identified themselves as Dutch, Flemish, French and again others as Germans. The capital of the medieval ruler Charlemagne's empire, the city of Aachen, lies in present-day Germany, yet he was a Frank. Though France takes its name from the Franks, the Dutch and Flemish people are the only ones to speak a language that descends directly from Frankish (the language of the Franks). Hence nearly all continental Western European historians can claim Charlemagne's victories as their heritage. The Holy Roman Empire he founded c. 800 was largely - but far from entirely - German-speaking. The Kingdom of Prussia, which unified Germany in the 19th century, had significant territory in what is now Poland. In the early 19th century, the philosopher Schlegel referred to Germany as a Kulturnation - a nation of shared culture and political disunity, analogous to ancient Greece. Until the unification of 1871, Austria was considered a part of Germany - even though much of its empire never formed part of the Holy Roman Empire and was non-German in language and in ethnicity.
The song is about the immediate experience of a soldier losing a comrade in battle, detached from all political or national ideology; as a result, its use was never limited to one particular faction and was sung or cited by representatives of all political backgrounds throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and was translated for use in numerous fighting forces, French, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese and others.
"The Good Comrade" still plays an important ceremonial role in the German Armed Forces and is an integral part of a military funeral, continuing a tradition started at some point around 1871.
Occasionally the song is played at civil ceremonies, most often when the deceased had been affiliated with the military. It is also commonly sung at the funerals of members of a Studentenverbindung. Finally, the song is often played on Volkstrauertag, the German Remembrance Day, at memorials for the fallen.
The son of a Church of Norway pastor, Quisling blended Christian fundamentals, scientific developments and philosophy into a new theory he called Universism. Before going into politics, he proved himself in the military, joining the General Staff in 1911 and specialising in Russian affairs. He was posted to Russia in 1918, and worked with Fridtjof Nansen during the 1921 famine in the Ukraine, returning to Russia to work with Frederik Prytz in Moscow. When Prytz left in 1927, Quisling stayed on as the Norwegian diplomat responsible for managing British diplomatic affairs. For these services he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by King George V, though the honour was later rescinded. He returned to Norway in 1929, and served as Minister of Defence during the Agrarian governments (1931–33). Although Quisling achieved some popularity after his attacks on the political left, his party never polled well and was little more than peripheral at the time of his 1940 coup. (Read more)