Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation examines the establishment of United States Information Centers in West Germany immediately after the Second World War, and their role in securing the support of West German elites for American occupation policies, particularly democratic self-government. Located at the intersection of culture, economics, and American politics, the America Houses (Amerikahäuser) educated curious Germans about the United States, presenting a carefully curated vision of American life that minimized conflict and highlighted the material and cultural prosperity enjoyed by the mythical “average American.” The Americans contended that with the adoption of democracy and a reformed market economy, affluence was something West Germans could realistically aspire to. As a key transmitter of American information and ideas, the program was a means by which the United States attempted to change German resistance to American cultural products, and also served as a way to gauge German opinion t. \. Often lumped together with the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe under the general heading of propaganda and receiving little academic scrutiny on its own merits, an examination of the U.S. Information Center program gives a more nuanced portrait of the forces shaping American efforts for the hearts and minds of newly-made West Germans.
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