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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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“The Anti-German Wave”

“The Anti-German Wave”

Maintaining and Challenging Consensus in an Age of Chaos, 1959–1969

(p.161) 4 “The Anti-German Wave”
Enemies To Allies

Brian C. Etheridge

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter illustrates that during the late 1950s and early 1960s, a number of factors changed the sociopolitical landscape both abroad and at home. Although the U.S.-German relationship became strained under the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, the rhetoric of Democratic administrations did not differ significantly from that of previous administrations. Especially by the middle of the 1960s, with the war in Vietnam intensifying, the civil rights movement fragmenting, and campuses in open revolt, Johnson deployed the Cold War narrative to legitimize his foreign and domestic policies. Aware of the strained relationship with the U.S. government, West German officials sought to combat what they perceived as an “anti-German wave” of material in the American mass media by intensifying their public activities. Fearful and critical of the tension between the American and West German governments, the American Council on Germany similarly sought to strengthen the alliance. The rift between the two governments, along with a series of international events that cast West Germany in a bad light, led Jewish organizations to reassess their stance toward the German Question. Still, while they became more critical, they, like the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, refrained from an open break with the West German government.

Keywords:   John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, American Council on Germany, American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany

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