Enemies to Allies: Cold War Germany and American Memory (Studies In Conflict Diplomacy Peace)

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9780813166407: Enemies to Allies: Cold War Germany and American Memory (Studies In Conflict Diplomacy Peace)

At the close of World War II, the United States went from being allied with the Soviet Union against Germany to alignment with the Germans against the Soviet Union―almost overnight. While many Americans came to perceive the German people as democrats standing firm with their Western allies on the front lines of the Cold War, others were wary of a renewed Third Reich and viewed all Germans as nascent Nazis bent on world domination. These adversarial perspectives added measurably to the atmosphere of fear and distrust that defined the Cold War.

In Enemies to Allies, Brian C. Etheridge examines more than one hundred years of American interpretations and representations of Germany. With a particular focus on the postwar period, he demonstrates how a wide array of actors―including special interest groups and US and West German policymakers―employed powerful narratives to influence public opinion and achieve their foreign policy objectives. Etheridge also analyses bestselling books, popular television shows such as Hogan's Heroes, and award-winning movies such as Schindler's List to reveal how narratives about the Third Reich and Cold War Germany were manufactured, contested, and co-opted as rival viewpoints competed for legitimacy.

From the Holocaust to the Berlin Wall, Etheridge explores the contingent nature of some of the most potent moral symbols and images of the second half of the twentieth century. This groundbreaking study draws from theories of public memory and public diplomacy to demonstrate how conflicting US accounts of German history serve as a window for understanding not only American identity, but international relations and state power.

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About the Author:

Brian C. Etheridge is professor of history and director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Georgia Gwinnett College. A past recipient of the Stuart L. Bernath Scholarly Article Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, he is a coeditor of The United States and Public Diplomacy: The New International History Meets the New Cultural History.


"In this deftly-written and often fascinating book, Brian Etheridge considers the many ways that this history has influenced the attitudes of Americans toward Germany, the events of the seven decades since 1945 and, ultimately, themselves.  This is a valuable contribution to a more sophisticated understanding of trans-Atlantic relations and to the study of the American role in the post-1945 world." - Adam Seipp, author of Strangers in the Wild Place: Refugees, Americans, and a German Town, 1945-1952

"...Enemies to Allies is an innovative, even path-breaking monograph....The book is amasterful combination of diplomatic and cultural history." -- Stewart Anderson, Brigham Young University

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