The literature describing social conditions during the post–World War II Allied occupation of Germany has been divided between seemingly irreconcilable assertions of prolonged criminal chaos and narratives of strict martial rule that precluded crime. In The Art of Occupation, Thomas J. Kehoe takes a different view on this history, addressing this divergence through an extensive, interdisciplinary analysis of the interaction between military government and social order.
Focusing on the American Zone and using previously unexamined American and German military reports, court records, and case files, Kehoe assesses crime rates and the psychology surrounding criminality. He thereby offers the first comprehensive exploration of criminality, policing, and both German and American fears around the realities of conquest and potential resistance, social and societal integrity, national futures, and a looming threat from communism in an emergent Cold War. The Art of Occupation is the fullest study of crime and governance during the five years from the first Allied incursions into Germany from the West in September 1944 through the end of the military occupation in 1949. It is an important contribution to American and German social, military, and police histories, as well as historical criminology.
The city of Trieste in the northern Adriatic was the center of long-standing Italo-Yugoslav territorial struggle at the end of World War II. The United States assumed a key role in this dispute by joining Britain in taking on temporary military administration of the city to prevent its occupation by Tito's Yugoslavia until a settlement could be reached at the peace table. This "temporary" Anglo-American control of Trieste lasted nearly a decade, until the sovereignty question was finally resolved in 1954 in favor of Italy.
Rabel explains the causes, significance, and consequences of American involvement in this classic European territorial dispute. The author sees U.S. involvement as closely linked to the larger issues of American participation in World War II and belief in democracy and self-determination, as well as to the subsequent unfolding of the Cold War. After 1945, Rabel asserts, American policy interest shifted to concern for Trieste due to its geographic and symbolic position between the Eastern and Western blocs. U.S. policies toward the Trieste issue were therefore shaped by several factors; a commitment to the principle of self-determination; the exigencies of maintaining stability and effective administration under the occupation; the need for close cooperation with the British; and the larger realities of the Cold War, especially in terms of American perceptions of the changing roles of Italy and Yugoslavia in that conflict. By examining the dynamic interplay of these factors, Between East and West seeks to explain the origins and evolution of U.S. Cold War policy, as well as its impact on the traditional American liberal principles of democracy and self-determination.
Shedding new light on the American campaign to democratize Western Germany after World War II, Capturing the German Eye uncovers the importance of cultural policy and visual propaganda to the U.S. occupation.
Cora Sol Goldstein skillfully evokes Germany’s political climate between 1945 and 1949, adding an unexpected dimension to the confrontation between the United States and the USSR. During this period, the American occupiers actively vied with their Soviet counterparts for control of Germany’s visual culture, deploying film, photography, and the fine arts while censoring images that contradicted their political messages. Goldstein reveals how this U.S. cultural policy in Germany was shaped by three major factors: competition with the USSR, fear of alienating German citizens, and American domestic politics. Explaining how the Americans used images to discredit the Nazis and, later, the Communists, she illuminates the instrumental role of visual culture in the struggle to capture German hearts and minds at the advent of the cold war.
“It was a quiet on the second floor. The vice-president walked solemnly into Mrs. Roosevelt’s sitting room, where she waited, grave and calm. With her was her daughter, Mrs. Anna Roosevelt Boettiger, her husband, Colonel John Boettiger, and Stephan Early. Truman knew at a glance that his premonition had been true. Mrs. Roosevelt came forward directly and put her arm on his shoulder.
‘Harry, the President is dead.’”
Robert J. Donovan’s Conflict and Crisis presents a detailed account of Harry S. Truman’s presidency from 1945-1948.
Offering much more than a detached historical account of the "German miracle"—a ruined, war-torn nation evolving within a decade into the most flourishing country in Europe—Eugene Davidson delves into this intriguing story as a "participant observer." Drawing on countless interviews with Germans and Americans of various backgrounds and perspectives, from High Commissioner's office personnel to occupation troop GIs, storekeepers to housewives, Davidson insightfully conveys the atmosphere of postwar Germany and the role of the American occupation in achieving the nation's economic miracle.
The Death and Life of Germany examines the transformation of Germany, focusing on such key episodes as the unprecedented war-crimes tribunal at Nuremberg, the almost unceasing attempts of the Western Allies to cooperate with the Russians, the startling effects of the currency reform and Marshall Plan aid, the break between East and West Germany that culminated in the Berlin airlift, the heroic East German uprising of June 17, 1953, and the eventual formation of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic.
Davidson traces the progress of thought among Germans and Americans alike as their conceptions of postwar Germany gradually evolved and the leaders of a new, democratic West Germany emerged from the ashes of defeat.
The strength of Davidson's research and analysis and the continuing relevance of this important volume make The Death and Life of Germany an invaluable addition to the collections of scholars and general readers interested in the evolution of postwar Germany.
This literary-historical study seeks to dismantle the prevailing notion that Germany, in the period following the Second World War, exhibited an “inability to mourn,” arguing that in fact this period experienced a surge of affect. Anna Parkinson examines the emotions explicitly manifested or addressed in a variety of German cultural artifacts, while also identifying previously unacknowledged (and undertheorized) affective structures implicitly at work during the country’s national crisis. Much of the scholarship in the expanding field of affect theory distrusts Freudian psychoanalysis, which does not differentiate between emotion and affect.
One of the book’s major contributions is that it offers an analytical distinction between emotion and affect, finding a compelling way to talk about affect and emotion that is informed by affect theory but that integrates psychoanalysis. The study draws on the psychoanalytic writings of Freud, Margarete and Alexander Mitscherlich, and André Green, while engaging with interdisciplinary theorists of affect including Barbara Rosenwein, Lauren Berlant, Ann Cvetkovich, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick among many others.
At the end of World War II, the Allies were unanimous in their determination to disarm the former aggressor Germany. As the Cold War intensified, however, the decision whether to reverse that policy and to rearm West Germany as a bulwark against the Soviet threat led to disagreements both within the US government and among members of the nascent NATO alliance. The US military took the practical view that a substantial number of German troops would be required to deter any potential Soviet assault. The State Department, on the other hand, initially advocated an alternative strategy of strengthening European institutions but eventually came around to the military’s position that an armed West Germany was preferable to a weak state on the dividing line between the Western democracies and the Soviet satellite states.
Sheldon A. Goldberg traces the military, diplomatic, and political threads of postwar policy toward West Germany and provides insights into the inner workings of alliance building and the roles of bureaucrats and military officers as well as those of diplomats and statesmen. He draws on previously unexamined primary sources to construct a cogent account of the political and diplomatic negotiations that led to West Germany’s accession to NATO and the shaping of European order for the next forty years.
Stig Dagerman University of Minnesota Press, 2011 Library of Congress PT9875.D1213 2011 | Dewey Decimal 839.787403
In late 1946, Stig Dagerman was assigned by the Swedish newspaper Expressen to report on life in Germany immediately after the fall of the Third Reich. First published in Sweden in 1947, German Autumn, a collection of the articles written for that assignment, was unlike any other reporting at the time. While most Allied and foreign journalists spun their writing on the widely held belief that the German people deserved their fate, Dagerman disagreed and reported on the humanness of the men and women ruined by the war—their guilt and suffering. Dagerman was already a prominent writer in Sweden, but the publication and broad reception of German Autumn throughout Europe established him as a compassionate journalist and led to the long-standing international influence of the book.
Presented here in its first American edition with a compelling new foreword by Mark Kurlansky, Dagerman’s essays on the tragic aftermath of war, suffering, and guilt are as hauntingly relevant today amid current global conflict as they were sixty years ago.
The central question for both the victors and the vanquished of World War II was just how widely the stain of guilt would spread over Germany. Political leaders and intellectuals on both sides of the conflict debated whether support for National Socialism tainted Germany's entire population and thus discredited the nation's history and culture. The tremendous challenge that Allied officials and German thinkers faced as the war closed, then, was how to limn a postwar German identity that accounted for National Socialism without irrevocably damning the idea and character of Germany as a whole.
In the House of the Hangman chronicles this delicate process, exploring key debates about the Nazi past and German future during the later years of World War II and its aftermath. What did British and American leaders think had given rise to National Socialism, and how did these beliefs shape their intentions for occupation? What rhetorical and symbolic tools did Germans develop for handling the insidious legacy of Nazism? Considering these and other questions, Jeffrey K. Olick explores the processes of accommodation and rejection that Allied plans for a new German state inspired among the German intelligentsia. He also examines heated struggles over the value of Germany's institutional and political heritage. Along the way, he demonstrates how the moral and political vocabulary for coming to terms with National Socialism in Germany has been of enduring significance—as a crucible not only of German identity but also of contemporary thinking about memory and social justice more generally.
Given the current war in Iraq, the issues contested during Germany's abjection and reinvention—how to treat a defeated enemy, how to place episodes within wider historical trajectories, how to distinguish varieties of victimhood—are as urgent today as they were sixty years ago, and In the House of the Hangman offers readers an invaluable historical perspective on these critical questions.
After WWII, U.S. leaders sought to create liberal rule-of-law regimes in Germany and Japan, but the effort was often unsuccessful. Kostal argues that the manifest failings of America’s own rule-of-law democracy were partially to blame, weakening U.S. credibility and resolve and revealing the country’s ambiguous status as a global moral authority.
Moving world-systems analysis into the cultural realm, Richard E. Lee locates the cultural studies movement within a broad historical and geopolitical framework. He illuminates how order and conflict have been reflected and negotiated in the sphere of knowledge production by situating the emergence of cultural studies at the intersection of post–1945 international and British politics and a two-hundred-year history of conservative critical practice. Tracing British criticism from the period of the French Revolution through the 1960s, he describes how cultural studies in its infancy recombined the elite literary critical tradition with the First New Left’s concerns for history and popular culture—just as the liberal consensus began to come apart.
Lee tracks the intellectual project of cultural studies as it developed over three decades, beginning with its institutional foundation at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS). He links work at the CCCS to the events of 1968 and explores cultural studies’ engagement with theory in the debates on structuralism. He considers the shift within the discipline away from issues of working-class culture toward questions of identity politics in the fields of race and gender. He follows the expansion of the cultural studies project from Britain to Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United States. Contextualizing the development and spread of cultural studies within the longue durée structures of knowledge in the modern world-system, Lee assesses its past and future as an agent of political and social change.
German society underwent greater change under the four years of military occupation than it had under Hitler and the Nazis. The issue of reeducation lay at the heart of America's occupation policies. Encompassing denazification, restructuring of the school system, university reform, and cultural exchange, reeducation began as an idealistic (and naive) attempt to democratize Germany by making her over in the American image.
For this meticulously researched study, James F. Tent has drawn on a wealth of recently declassified documents and on numerous personal interviews with veterans of the Occupation. He brings to life not only the dilemmas American officials faced in balancing the need for a political purge against the need to rehabilitate a disrupted society but also the paradoxes involved in a democracy's attempt to impose its ideals on another people. His book chronicles the dedicated work of many Americans; it also illuminates America's Occupation experience as a whole.
In the aftermath of total war and unconditional surrender, Germans found themselves receiving instruction from their American occupiers. It was not a conventional education. In their effort to transform German national identity and convert a Nazi past into a democratic future, the Americans deployed what they perceived as the most powerful and convincing weapon-movies.
In a rigorous analysis of the American occupation of postwar Germany and the military’s use of “soft power,” Jennifer Fay considers how Hollywood films, including Ninotchka, Gaslight, and Stagecoach, influenced German culture and cinema. In this cinematic pedagogy, dark fantasies of American democracy and its history were unwittingly played out on-screen. Theaters of Occupation reveals how Germans responded to these education efforts and offers new insights about American exceptionalism and virtual democracy at the dawn of the cold war.
Fay’s innovative approach examines the culture of occupation not only as a phase in U.S.–German relations but as a distinct space with its own discrete cultural practices. As the American occupation of Germany has become a paradigm for more recent military operations, Fay argues that we must question its efficacy as a mechanism of cultural and political change.
Jennifer Fay is associate professor and codirector of film studies in the Department of English at Michigan State University.