Why is Russia nicknamed the 'Motherland' and Germany the 'Fatherland'?

Whats with this parental projection into nations? And do Poles have a nickname for their country? seeing as their nation has been in the middle of quite a few ‘custody battles’ with the two above mentioned nations…

Earlier thread: “Motherland” versus “Fatherland”

even earlier thread: What countries besides Germany refer to their country as “father”?

My bet is that Poland is “Fatherland”.

I can’t speak for the German side of the equation, but the Russian side of the issue is that you are dealing with a translation. The word in Russian is *rodina, * which is a feminine noun, related to the words for birth (rozhdenie), to give birth (rozhdat’), and such.

I’d provide a more scholarly answer, but I just moved and my books are still packed.

Because Russia has a vagina, and Germany has a penis.

This seems to be to me mainly a matter of one of the facts about foreign cultures which everyone knows, and which weighty conclusions are drawn from, but which just are not the case.

There are “fatherland” terms e.g. in Latin (patria), French (patrie), Russian (otechestvo), and German (Vaterland). A pointer to the meaning might be that the term is usually grammatically feminine (as in French) or neuter (as in German). My interpretation is that these terms derive from “the land of my father(s)” (i.e. ancestors, maternal descent not being significant in patriarchal societies) and not from a mental picture of “the land, my/our father”.

Germany is usually referred to by Germans as (please be prepared for a shock) “Deutschland” e.g. Germany. “Vaterland” is a (stylistically dated) generic term for someone’s home country that needs to be qualified by referring to the someone. In German-language literature up to, say, the early 20th century you often happen on phrases like “X returned to his fatherland”, where the fatherland referred to could be Australia, Lapland, Spain, Westphalia, Prussia, Germany, etc, depending on circumstances. In the Lied der Deutschen, the current German national anthem, which was written in 1841, the phrasing was “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit/Für das deutsche Vaterland” (Unity and Justice and Freedom/for the German fatherland). The “fatherland” term needed to be qualified with “German” here to make sense (a subversive one at the time, as a good law-abiding citizen’s fatherland had to be Bavaria, or Hamburg, or Prussia etc. as the case might be).