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The Americanization of Europe

The Americanization of Europe: Culture, Diplomacy, and Anti-Americanism after 1945

Edited by Alexander Stephan
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 444
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  • Book Info
    The Americanization of Europe
    Book Description:

    Recent tensions between the U.S. and Europe seem to have opened up an insuperable rift, while Americanization, deplored by some, welcomed by others, seems to progress unabated. This volume explores, for the first time and in a comparative manner, the role American culture and anti-Americanism play in eleven representative European countries, including major powers like Great Britain, France, (West) Germany, Russia/Soviet Union, and Italy as well as smaller countries like Austria, Denmark, Greece, Spain, Sweden, and Poland. Each contributor to the volume, all of them highly respected experts in their field, was asked to address the following four topics: the role of American public diplomacy, the transfer of American "high culture," the impact of "popular culture" ranging from Hollywood movies and TV to pop music and life-style issues, and the country specific features and history of anti-Americanism. The volume is enhanced by a substantial introduction by the editor, which looks both at the general "culture clash" between the United States and Europe and at adaptations and blending processes that seem to have occurred in individual countries.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-681-6
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Cold War Alliances and the Emergence of Transatlantic Competition: An Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)
    Alexander Stephan

    The history of American culture in Europe after 1945 has not been written. The same is true of the story of European resistance against the spread of U.S. culture, often labeled anti-Americanism.

    This lack of interest in the transfer of culture “Made in the USA” across the Atlantic is surprising, because postwar Europe would not be the same without the ubiquitous presence of America—in television, movie houses and music clubs, fast food and matters of lifestyle, popular literature and musicals, education and the style of political campaigning. In a sharp reversal of its withdrawal from Europe after 1918, after...

  5. Part I: Great Britain, France, (West)Germany

    • Britain: In Between
      (pp. 23-43)
      Hugh Wilford

      Historic bonds between American and British culture, the most obvious being a shared language, have made Americanization and anti-Americanism less emotive issues in the United Kingdom than in many continental European countries. Just as the UK has tended to be the U.S.’s most supportive ally in the realm of foreign policy, so the British have been relatively unresistant to American cultural influences, both highbrow and popular. This does not mean, however, that Britain has been spared bouts of anxiety about and opposition to Americanization in the period since World War II. As in other European countries, cultural elites were already...

    • From French Anti-Americanism and Americanization to the “American Enemy”?
      (pp. 44-68)
      Richard J. Golsan

      In his masterful—and massive—recent study of French anti-Americanism,L’ennemi américain, Philippe Roger observes that of all the Western European nations, France is the only country not to have gone to war with the United States. And yet, as Roger also observes, among these same European nations France is also the country where anti-American sentiment is the most powerful and heartfelt. It is a “tradition” dating back to the very inception of the younger country and has been fueled by the writings of France’s greatest poets, novelists, historians, and philosophers. Roger discusses its presence in the works of Tocqueville,...

    • A Special German Case of Cultural Americanization
      (pp. 69-88)
      Alexander Stephan

      When in the late afternoon of 11 September 1944 Staff Sergeant Werner L. Holzinger of the 85th Reconnaissance Squadron, 5th Armored Division, became the first American GI to cross the German border near the Luxemburg village of Stolzenbourg,¹ few could have predicted that the United States would remain a political and military presence in Germany for half a century. And surely in those autumn days no one guessed that in just fifty years, the U.S., once again on German soil, would complete its evolution into the world’s only superpower when the Berlin Wall collapsed, heralding the downfall of the Soviet...

  6. Part II: Sweden, Denmark, Austria

    • Television, Education, and the Vietnam War: Sweden and the United States During the Postwar Era
      (pp. 91-114)
      Dag Blanck

      In the mid 1990s, a group of political scientists in Sweden tried to assess their country’s relationship to the outside world. In one survey, those Swedes who said that they had considered moving abroad within the last few years indicated their preferences. Among these potential emigrants, the United States was the most popular destination, named by 20 percent of the respondents. Australia came in second with 15 percent, whereas other Scandinavian and European counties were chosen by between 5 and 10 percent of the Swedes.

      The U.S. was also a common answer when the question was posed of where Swedes...

    • Ameri-Danes and Pro-American Anti-Americans: Cultural Americanization and Anti-Americanism in Denmark After 1945
      (pp. 115-146)
      Nils Arne Sørensen and Klaus Petersen

      Looking at the Danish case of Americanization and anti-Americanism in Europe, one can overemphasize the importance of the year 1945 as a dividing line. While the United States had not been very high on the agenda in political discussions and debates in the interwar years, American culture and lifestyle—mediated by Hollywood movies, dime novels, comics, and popular music and dance—were embraced enthusiastically by many Danes, especially the young generations. “We were crazy with jazz music,” reminisced an 80-year-old retired nurse in the summer of 2003, thinking back to the jazz music of her late teens, spent in the...

    • Two Sides of the Coin: The Americanization of Austria and Austrian Anti-Americanism
      (pp. 147-182)
      Günter Bischof

      It is a given among those who study the projection and presence of America in the world that ever since its discovery America has produced European projections—images of paradise and barbarian outpost. The corresponding European views of America as fact and as fiction, utopia and dystopia, ofTraumandAlptraum, have always been intimately related. “Thousands have joined in the European game of deploring, baiting, or praising America over the last two centuries,” noted C. Van Woodward in his authoritative essayThe Old World’s New World, yet in the end tended “to influence and repeat each other” and “perpetuate...

  7. Part III: USSR/Russia, Poland

    • From Cold War to Wary Peace: American Culture in the USSR and Russia
      (pp. 185-217)
      Marsha Siefert

      “Their starting-point is different, and their courses are not the same; yet each of them seems to be marked out by the will of Heaven to sway the destinies of half the globe.”¹ Alexis de Tocqueville’s 1835 prediction about the United States and Russia seemed to come true after 1945. In 1941 both had put aside their ideological enmity sufficiently to defeat Germany and, as immortalized in the familiar 1944 photographs of Stalin first with Roosevelt and then Truman, discussed their destinies as equals. The rapid dissolution of the wartime alliance and Churchill’s 6 March 1946 “iron curtain” speech christened...

    • Poland: Transmissions and Translations
      (pp. 218-250)
      Andrzej Antoszek and Kate Delaney

      The period under discussion in this book—1945–2004—can be divided into Cold War and post–Cold-War eras, and for Poland the story of “Americanization” breaks sharply along that divide. Poland, which once lent the name of its capital to the Warsaw Pact, was among the first group of new NATO members in 1999 and became part of the “coalition of the willing” in the 2003 Iraq war. Bearing in mind this temporal divide, the issue of Americanization also needs to be examined from the perspectives of transmission and reception, from the viewpoint of the sender as well as...

  8. Part IV: Italy, Greece, Spain

    • Containing Modernity, Domesticating America in Italy
      (pp. 253-276)
      David W. Ellwood

      The Italian story begins with a series of crucial, wrenching episodes and then settles down into a complex but fairly stable pattern in which America plays a significant but not dominant role in Italy’s search for a modernity of its own. It could even be argued that the evolution of Italian modernity has been distinguished by the success of efforts topreventthe American version from becoming predominant, but this too is only a part of the picture. Since the end of the Cold War and the subsequent attempts by every European nation—and America itself—to redefine its own...

    • The Interface Between Politics and Culture in Greece
      (pp. 277-306)
      Konstantina E. Botsiou

      When, in late 1947, the U.S. Policy Planning Staff and Harry S. Truman’s executive team were thus pondering the inherent weaknesses of American² involvement in postwar European affairs, their reasoning relied heavily on their disheartening interference in the first year of the Greek civil war (1946–1949).³ Following the officially notified withdrawal of British financial and military support in early 1947, the promulgation of the Truman Doctrine⁴ had introduced Washington in lieu of London as the chief protector and guarantor of the country’s Western orientation. Torn apart by a bloody civil war between communists and anticommunists, Greece easily became one...

    • Waiting for Mr. Marshall: Spanish American Dreams
      (pp. 307-334)
      Dorothy Noyes

      Is Spain different? The tourist slogan said so, and Spain’s history of relations with the U.S. is marked by obvious differences from that of either Western or Eastern Europe. The symbolic turning points in Spanish-American cultural relations were not 1945 and 1989 but 1898, when Spain lost its last remaining colonies after being defeated by the U.S., and 1953, the date of the Madrid Pact establishing U.S. military bases on Spanish soil. Once an imperial rival, Spain became less an ally than a client state of the U.S. during the Franco regime. As Spaniards frequently point out, Spain was the...

  9. Conclusion

    • Imaginary Americas in Europe’s Public Space
      (pp. 337-360)
      Rob Kroes

      In my education as a European—a haphazard trajectory at best, never consistently planned or pursued—I remember one formative moment. I had the good fortune, as an undergraduate in political science, to find a book on the required reading list—Edward Atiyah’sThe Arabs¹—that shook my established views of the history of Western civilization.

      I had had the privilege to attend an old-style Dutchgymnasiumand had read some of the classics from antiquity, such as Homer in Greek and Virgil in Latin, in addition to some of the great works in four modern languages, German, French, English,...

    (pp. 361-400)
  11. Contributors
    (pp. 401-408)
  12. Index
    (pp. 409-432)