Review Article

Images of America in unified Germany

S. Fröhlich
Literator | Vol 18, No 3 | a572 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v18i3.572 | © 1997 S. Fröhlich | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 1997 | Published: 30 April 1997

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S. Fröhlich, Department of Political Sciences, Bonn University, Bonn, Germany

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Abstract

The following article analyses American cultural influence on Germany - especially in the period after unification. “Wendeliteratur" as well as new cultural relations and institutions are emphasised. The role of the mass media, which have conveyed the image of the American way of life, American products and services to East German is also discussed. For a better understanding of these images the author takes a closer look at what “Americanisation" really means to European cultures. All too often cultural observers state that Europe has been exposed to a pernicious Americanism. Such attitudes, however, should caution us against a too negative image of America. Although German-American relations during the post-war period had their ups and downs, West Germans on the whole developed a positive image of America, internalising American cultural elements as part of their own identification. The East Germans, on the other hand, it will be argued, while developing an enthusiasm for America at the time of reunification, turned more and more to a very critical, rather cynical view of American culture, thus letting euphoria fade to a very rational image.

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