- Oct 29, 2002
- Reaction score
- East of Suez
Peter Hitchens responds to your exact question:Quake42 said:I'm puzzled. When did "Paris" or CET become "Berlin" time? Is this just a ridiculous attempt by the Mail to drum up anti-German sentiment?
[He referred to Berlin time] ...basically because it *is* Berlin time, and not Madrid or Paris Time.
Get out your atlas and observe that the map is marked with lines of longitude, spreading eastwards and westwards form the zero meridian at Greenwich. They arrive at the opposite of Greenwich in the far east of Siberia, which is 180 degrees east and west (the International Date Line, which does not exactly follow the 180 degree meridian, is to be found here).
The numbering of these lines is arbitrary. But the absolutes which they measure are based upon the rotation of the earth, and are not arbitrary but real. It really is lighter earlier in Berlin than it is here, in the morning.
In theory the zero meridian could go through anywhere. But Greenwich was chosen at the International Meridian Conference in Washington in 1884.
What is not arbitrary is that 15 degrees of longitude represents the distance between two points, where the sun is at its zenith an hour apart. Thus. The sun is at its zenith an hour earlier on the 15 degree east Meridian (close to Berlin) than it is at Greenwich.
And lo, the 15 degree east meridian runs about 60 miles east of Berlin. (Trebnje in Slovenia is exactly upon it, but Berlin is the major city in Europe closest to it, and also the political origin of Central European Time, dating back to the Kaiser but spread, by conquest or pressure, ever since.)
Whereas Paris is only about two degrees east of Greenwich (and ought really to be on GMT), and Madrid is about three degrees *west* of Greenwich, and would certainly be better suited to London than Berlin time - though being further south is not so badly affected by it.
I call it Berlin time because it is Berlin time.
http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/ ... 0fb45b970b