Enemies to Allies

Enemies to Allies

Cold War Germany and American Memory

Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy, and Peace

by Brian C. Etheridge

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

382 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 11 b&w photos

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9780813166407
  • Published: January 2016

$45.00

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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.