It’s early yet, but in the past few weeks, Germany and its chancellor, Angela Merkel, have emerged as contenders for the fastest international image makeover in recent memory. Just six months ago, the German magazine Der Spiegel decided to depict the mood in Europe by photoshopping Merkel into a picture of Nazi commanders on the Acropolis. The euro zone’s debt crisis had set Germans up, the cover story argued, as the European Union’s unpopular economic dictator.
But Germany’s recent policy shifts on the European migrant crisis—vast numbers of asylum-seekers, escaping war and persecution in countries such as Syria and Iraq, flooding into southern Europe—have shoved headlines in entirely the opposite direction. “Germany’s open-door policy in migrant crisis casts nation in a new light,” proclaims the Los Angeles Times. “Angela Merkel hailed as an angel of mercy,” reads The Sydney Morning Herald.