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9 - Between Hope and Skepticism: American Views of Germany, 1918-1933

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2013

David E. Barclay
Affiliation:
Kalamazoo College, Michigan
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Summary

In the years after World War I, Weimar Germany seemed prone to provoke contrasting views from within and without the Reich. American feelings toward Germany had turned from subtle ambiguity to outward hostility during the war. The peace order resulting from World War I led to an intense fight about the ratification of the peace treaty in the U.S. Senate. After the Senate had refused to ratify the peace treaty, the incoming Republican administration opted to conclude a pragmatic peace with Germany that derived in large parts from the precedent of the Versailles Treaty. By the date of the conclusion of the Treaty of Berlin in August 1921, the dominant views among American diplomats and journalists with regard to Germany's position in international politics had changed from animosity to a growing insight that Weimar Germany needed America's help to stabilize its finances as well as to solve the fractious reparations question.

In the scenario that developed in 1923 - growing domestic turmoil, a seemingly uncontrollable hyperinflation, and the Ruhr Crisis - Germany appeared as a republic created more by the force of circumstances than by the higher insights of its citizens. In order to promote democracy, sound financial management, and a nonaggressive foreign policy, postwar Germany would need external encouragement and American assistance.

Type
Chapter
Information
Transatlantic Images and Perceptions
Germany and America since 1776
, pp. 191 - 216
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1997

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