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Greek bailout has strained Greek-German relations

Anti-German sentiment flourishes in Greece under economic restrictions.

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The Headquarters of the Bank of Greece are vandalized following violent protests which took place against the Government's austerity plans, February 13, 2012 in Athens, Greece. Greece's economic woes have fostered resentment toward Germany, the primary money lender in the Greek bailouts. (Milos Bicanski/AFP/Getty Images)

The tensions over the Greek bailout may have done severe damage to the relationship between Greece and Germany, as Greeks continued to vent anti-German feelings even as German members of parliament approved the bailout.

In a special report, the BBC focused on the cartoons of Stathis Stavropoulos, describing a typical cartoon: “a German soldier, a gas chamber and a caption about Greek jobs being burnt.”

Stavropoulos told the BBC, "Germany has already tried twice to make Europe German. This time it's through economic means. We have to resist that. We have no bad feelings towards the German people - only towards the government and European banks."

The rift between the two countries is twofold: The Germans resent footing the bill for Greek bailouts, while the Greeks are angry with the harsh terms and conditions for the bailouts.

More on GlobalPost: Germany approves second Greek bailout

Greek officials have been simmering with anger against Germany, with Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos saying on Feb. 15, “Our country is waging a battle of survival within the eurozone. This is because, manifestly, there are now powers in Europe who are playing with fire, who believe not all requirements will be met … and who consequently want Greece out of the eurozone,” according to the Guardian.

Despite the riots that shook Athens in mid-February, Greek lawmakers made drastic cuts to wages and pensions and cut jobs to submit to European demands in order to qualify for the bailout. Protesters in Greece burned the German flag.

The Los Angeles Times quoted an unemployed construction worker, Fotis Stathatos, saying, “You'd think they would show some compassion for the fact that we went gentle on them after World War II. But no, they want to punish us now.”

The LA Times noted that the situation got markedly worse when “German magazine ran a cover showing an iconic Greek statue flipping the bird.” In response, the Greeks have photoshopped German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Nazi garb.

The BBC said, “A recent demonstration in Athens involved a performance with an actor dressed as Hitler and another as an SS officer pretending to rape a woman representing Greece,” noting that such scenes were considered taboo before, but are becoming more commonplace now.

However, there seems to be a line drawn between politics and people, as a woman told the BBC, "I have no fights with German people. The politics is the problem."

More on GlobalPost: Greece, Germany clash ahead of bailout decision

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/120227/greek-bailout-has-strained-greek-german-relations