This song was written by two American Jews, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, in 1959, for their musical The Sound Of Music. It was the last lyric that Hammerstein completed.
Why would two American Jews write a song that sentimentally evokes the homeland of Austria, which wasn’t exactly kind to Jews, historically speaking? Because they were Americans — because they were thus bigger than the antisemitism of any country, because they could afford to transcend it.
This song demonstrates why America won the war against the Nazis. America was bigger than Naziism, grander, sweeter and more generous. We won’t win any future wars if we lose that grandness and sweetness and generosity.