Enemies to Allies
Cold War Germany and American Memory
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.
About the Author
"This book addresses a compelling and fascinating feature of the Cold War Era, namely the rapid reversal of America's alliance relationships after World War II. It is an excellent account of this change, highly readable and clear in its exploration of a complex subject."—Thomas A. Schwartz, coeditor of The Strained Alliance: US-European Relations from Nixon to Carter
"Etheridge's book Enemies to Allies is a very convincing and informative study that offers a fascinating insight into the American perception of West Germans as well as the construction of an American identity during the 1950s and 1960s. . . . His study is an excellent starting point for scholars exploring other aspects of German postwar history, German-American relations, and the role of public perception in the shaping of foreign policy."—H-Net
"This excellent book will be of interest to those studying war and memory, the history of recent German-American relations, and the origins of the postwar Western alliance."—Journal of Military History
"Well written and accessible, it provides a fascinating perspective on the "politics of memory" and how public perceptions are influenced by myriad sources of information."—Military Review
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