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Why is the German anthem called Deutschlandlied? Lyrics, translation and meaning

The German anthem has a long history, dating back to the year 1797, although the music and the lyrics were not created at the same time.

The anthem is one of the most iconic elements of Germany.
Darren StaplesREUTERS

Germany is a country with powerful symbolism. Since its creation, the German territory has sought to make its national identity clear, one of the most marked in the world. The citizens are generally very proud of their homeland, and it shows in all sorts of ways. One of the most important, along with its flag, is the national anthem. A song that has a curious history.

Known as ‘Das Deutschlandlied’ (‘Song of Germany’), this song has a particular origin, and that is that the music and lyrics were not composed jointly. The former was composed in 1797, while the second were written a few years later, in 1841, and for very different reasons. Note that the written composition was made to fit the melody.

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Who wrote the German national anthem?

To talk about this anthem in particular, we have to go back to the year 1797. At that time, the composer Joseph Haydn made a melody, known as ‘Kaiserled’, performed in honor of the Holy Roman Emperor- Germanicus, Francis II. In fact, music became part, for a time, of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which has little or nothing to do with Germany.

As for the lyrics, we must focus on the figure of the professor of philology and German poet August Heinrich Hoffman von Fallersleben. He is said to have composed it on August 26, 1841, trying to adjust it as much as possible to the melody of what is known as the ‘Kaiser’s song’, composed for the highest Germanic-Roman leader.

It didn’t stop there. In 1914, despite the fact that it had gone almost unnoticed in earlier times, it achieved popularity, due to the fact that the soldiers on the front lines in World War I began to sing it. In this way, it became a well-known theme, and just a few years later, in 1922, it was officially declared the national anthem of Germany, with the three stanzas originals.

On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that this song was used at the time of Nazism. In said dictatorship, only the first stanza was sung, which read as follows: “Germany, Germany, above all”. After World War II, this part was removed because it stressed the German intention to dominate the world.

After the end of the war, one of the bloodiest in history, the use of the anthem was debated. The decision that was made was to only sing the third verse, discarding the most controversial parts of the national anthem. In fact, after reunification, in 1991, this part was officially declared a song of Germany.

German national anthem lyrics


Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,

Über alles in der Welt,

Wenn es stets zu Schutz und Trutze

Brüderlich zusammenhält.

Von der Maas bis an die Memel,

Von der Etsch bis an den Belt,

Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,

Über alles in der Welt!


Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,

Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang

Sollen in der Welt behalten

Ihren alten schönen Klang,

Uns zu edler Tat begeistern

Unser ganzes Leben lang –

Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,

Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang!


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!

What is the translation of the German anthem?

In English, the national song of one of the most powerful countries in Europe has the following translation:


Germany, Germany above all

Above everything in the world

When, always, for protection and defense

Brothers stand together.

From the Maas to the Memel

From the Etsch to the Belt,

Germany, Germany above all

Above all in the world.


German women, German loyalty,

German wine and German song,

Shall retain, throughout the world,

Their old respected fame,

To inspire us to noble deeds

For the length of our lives.

German women, German fidelity,

German wine and German song.


Unity and Justice and Freedom

For the German Fatherland!

After these let us all strive

Brotherly with heart and hand!

Unity and Justice and Freedom

Are the pledge of happiness.

Bloom in the splendour of this happiness,

Bloom, German Fatherland!


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