Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 January 2013
This chapter addresses the German discussion of America during the interwar period in the context of contemporary, reactionary modernist thinking, which promoted technological progress and rationalization while radically rejecting the political ideals of the Enlightenment - freedom, equality, and fraternity. The chapter also investigates long-standing phenomena in the German-American relationship using German images of America as a guide. Although researchers like to describe the German-American relationship in the twentieth century as a dramatic lurching between war and peace, friendship and enmity, confrontation and cooperation, it is by no means clear how or whether German images of America (and American images of Germany) have been affected by the vicissitudes of political relations. Were century-old stereotypes of cultural anti-Americanism resistant to changes in the political and diplomatic relationship between the two countries? What about the traditional admiration of the Germans for the “land of unlimited opportunity” as an economic superpower? Could National Socialist propaganda be confident that the American model had lost its attractiveness as a result of the Great Depression? How did it define its own relationship to Fordism and Americanism? How did the National Socialist image of America fit into the Nazi ideology?