Fatherland is the nation of one's "fathers", "forefathers" or "patriarchs". It can be viewed as a nationalist concept, insofar as it is evocative of emotions related to family ties and links them to national identity and patriotism. It can be compared to motherland and homeland, and some countries will use more than one of these terms. The term was used throughout Germanic language countries (e.g. in Hermann Broch's novel The Sleepwalkers), or often to refer to their homelands much as the word "motherland" does. For example, "Wien Neêrlands Bloed", national anthem of the Netherlands between 1815 and 1932, makes extensive and conspicuous use of the parallel Dutch word.
The Ancient Greek patris, fatherland, led to patrios, of our fathers and thence to the Latin patriota and Old French patriote, meaning compatriot; from these the English world patriotism is derived. The related Ancient Roman word Patria led to similar forms in modern Romance languages.
"Fatherland" was first encountered by the vast majority of citizens in countries that did not themselves use it during World War II, when it was featured in news reports associated with Nazi Germany. German government propaganda used its appeal to nationalism when making references to Germany and the state. It was used in Mein Kampf., and on a sign in a German concentration camp, also signed, Adolf Hitler. As such, the word "Vaterland" and the near English translation "fatherland" are often connotated with National Socialism outside Germany; in Germany, this is not the case.
Groups that refer to their native country as a "fatherland"
Groups that refer to their native country as a "fatherland" include:
- the Afrikaners as Vaderland
- the Albanians as Atdhe
- the Belarusians as Baćkaŭščyna (Бацькаўшчына)
- the Bulgarians as Tatkovina (Татковина) and Otechestvo (Отечество)
- the Danes as fædreland
- the Dutch, as vaderland
- the Estonians as isamaa (as in the national anthem Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm)
- the Finns as isänmaa
- the Frisians as heitelân
- the Georgians as Samshoblo (სამშობლო - "[land] of parents") or Mamuli (მამული)
- the Germans, as Vaterland (as in the national anthem Das Lied der Deutschen)
- the Icelanders as föðurland literally meaning "land of the father"
- the Irish as Athartha
- the Kazakhs as atameken
- the Liechtenstein as Vaterland
- the Nigerians as fatherland
- the Norwegians as fedreland
- the Oromo as Biyya Abbaa
- the Pakistanis as Vatan
- the Serbs as otadžbina (отаџбина)
- the Somali as dhulka aabe, the father
- the Swedes as Fädernesland
- the Swiss as Vaterland (as in the national anthem Swiss Psalm)
- the Thais as pituphum (ปิตุภูมิ), the word is adapted from Sanskrit
- the Tibetans as pha yul (ཕ་ཡུལ་)
- the Welsh as the land of my fathers (Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau)
- the Esperantists as patrio, patrolando or patrujo
- Aragonese, Asturian, Franco-Provençal, Galician, Italian, Romanian, Spanish: Patria
- Catalan: Pàtria
- Extremaduran, Portuguese: Pátria
- Provençals: Patrìo
- French: Patrie
Multiple references to parental forms
- the Armenians, as Hayrenik (Հայրենիք), home. The national anthem Mer Hayrenik translates as Our Fatherland
- the Bosniaks as Otadžbina (Отаџбина), although Domovina (Домовина) is sometimes used colloquially meaning homeland
- the Chinese as zǔguó (祖国or祖國(traditional chinese), "land of ancestors")
- the Czechs as vlast, power or (rarely) otčina, fatherland
- the Jews as Eretz Ha'Avot (Hebrew: ארץ האבות) - the literal translation is "Land of the Forefathers"
- the Kurds as warê bav û kalan meaning "land of the fathers and the grandfathers"
- the Japanese as sokoku (祖国, "land of ancestors")
- the Koreans as joguk (조국, "land of ancestors")
- French speakers: Patrie, although they also use la mère patrie, which includes the idea of motherland
- the Latvians as tēvija or tēvzeme (although dzimtene – roughly translated as "place of birth" – is more neutral and used more commonly nowadays)
- the Persians as Sarzamineh Pedari (Fatherland), Sarzamineh Madari (Motherland) or Meehan
- the Poles as ojczyzna (ojczyzna is derived from ojciec, Polish for father, but ojczyzna itself and Polska are feminine, so it can also be translated as motherland), also macierz is used
- the Russians, as Otechestvo (отечество) or Otchizna (отчизна), however Rodina [ birthland ] is more common, happens to be feminine, and is typically personified as a mother (Sometimes referred to as birthland-mother). Otchizna is considered to be very formal, and typically used by government heads, whereas Rodina is more colloquial and widespread
- the Slovenes as očetnjava, although domovina (homeland) is more common.
- the Swedes as fäderneslandet, although fosterlandet is more common (meaning the land that fostered/raised a person)
- the Vietnamese as Tổ quốc ("land of ancestors").
- The Sleepwalkers, by Hermann
- Anna Wierzbicka (21 July 1997). Understanding Cultures Through Their Key Words : English, Russian, Polish, German, and Japanese. Oxford University Press. pp. 173–175. ISBN 978-0-19-535849-0.
- Witnesses of War: Children's Lives Under the Nazis, page 328, by Nicholas Stargardt
- Six Million Crucifixions by Gabriel Wilensky. "What we have to fight for is the freedom and independence of the fatherland, so that our people may be enabled to fulfill the mission assigned to it by the creator"
- Nazi Germany reveals official pictures of its concentration camps - LIFE magazine Aug 21, 1939. "There is a road to freedom. Its milestones are Obedience, Endeavor, Honesty, Order, Cleanliness, Sobriety, Truthfulness, Sacrifice, and love of the Fatherland."