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The preparation of the re-education policy for post-war Germany during the Second World War: discussion and planning

American Studies or American Studies? pp 29-104 | Cite as

Part of the Research Political Science book series (FPOLIT, volume 26)


In the 20th century, against the backdrop of the two world wars, German-American relations alternated between two extremes, which the American historian Fritz Stern identified with the labels "Bitter enmity" and "Spectacular friendship"1 provided. The mutual relationship was not always characterized by such violent pendulum swings; rather, the relationship between America and Germany in the 18th and 19th centuries was determined by little, but benevolent, attention; because Germany was still one of the countries until the founding of the empire in 1871 - unlike England and France "Backbenchers of international diplomacy"2. During the revolution of 1848 Germany was able to attract the attention of the American public for a short time, but the wave of sympathy for the politically untalented Germans quickly ebbed after the failure of the Frankfurt parliament, and at the latest after the Franco-German parliament In the war of 1870/71 Germany then appeared as a power-conscious aggressor.3 In the Wilhelmine era, the relationship between the two states deteriorated even further, and in the course of the expansive foreign policy they saw themselves primarily as rivals. In the first decade of the 20th century, there were various forms of cooperation, particularly in the cultural field4, but this cooperation flattened again as early as 1910 and turned into military opposition after the United States entered the war in April 1917.5

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  55. Such is the title of an article by William Shirer, who was the American correspondent in Berlin until December 1940, and that of Pierre van Paassen. - Brown, John Mason: How America Thought During the War, in: Amerikanische Rundschau, 3rd year (May 1947), p. 121. Google Scholar
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  57. The “gradual stiffening of attitudes towards Germany” can be seen precisely in the polls by the Gallup Institute: after the USA entered the war in 1942, three quarters of those questioned were against the entire German people and not just the National Socialist government as the enemy consider, in November 1943 49 percent of those questioned were in favor of strict controls on Germans. In October 1944, 60 percent answered yes to the question of whether they expected Germany to re-prepare for the war in the event of a defeat. - Brown, John Mason, 1947, p. 125. Google Scholar
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