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Enemies To AlliesCold War Germany and American Memory$
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Brian C. Etheridge

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813166407

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813166407.001.0001

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“Tomorrow the World”

“Tomorrow the World”

Images of Germany before the Cold War

Chapter:
(p.15) 1 “Tomorrow the World”
Source:
Enemies To Allies
Author(s):

Brian C. Etheridge

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813166407.003.0001

This chapter establishes how Germans, in many ways, have served as America's “other” since the founding of the English colonies in the seventeenth century. For the first half of American history, Americans largely interpreted Germany through the waves of German settlers coming to the New World. As the largest non-Anglo ethnic group before the Great War, German Americans served as a convenient point of contrast for understanding Americans and Americanism. After the establishment of the German Reich, mainstream Americans looked to the German nation for a better understanding of Germans and Germanness and were impressed with German culture, education, efficiency, and productivity during much of this time period. At the same time, however, as the emerging foil against the United States in both world wars, the German Empire furthered America's continued conception of itself as the defender of freedom against militarism and authoritarianism. The chapter shows how the arrogant public diplomacy of the Wilhelmine and Nazi regimes failed to capitalize on the former impressions and often reinforced the latter. Still, the ongoing debate during the Second World War as to the nature of the German people failed to arrive at a clear consensus by the end of the war.

Keywords:   German Americans, German Empire, Americanism, Nazi regime, World War I, World War II

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