20th century history, postwar germany, american memory, american occupation of germany, collective memory, cold war, propaganda
Studies of postwar Germany, from 1945-1955, have concentrated on the American influence as a military occupier, the development of German reconstruction and national identity, and memory of this period from the German perspective. Within the memory analyses, firsthand accounts have been analyzed to understand the perspectives of Germans living through the postwar period. Absent from this historiography is an account of American memories and firsthand perspectives of the occupation, particularly during the 1950-1955 period. This thesis employs oral histories of American veterans stationed in postwar Germany, American propaganda and popular cultural mediums during the early 1950s, and modern historiographical trends to provide an understanding of how Americans remember the German postwar decade. American veterans remembered this period, and their encounters with local Germans, as a positive experience. These positive memories were mediated by 1950s Cold War rhetoric and propaganda and were subsequently predicated upon the men's perspective as occupying soldiers. Their recollections align with American popular memory delineating the military occupation as ending in 1949 upon the creation of the Federal Republic of Germany, therefore overshadowing the 1950-1955 period of occupation. The ways in which Americans remember the postwar occupation in Germany, particularly from 1950-1955, inform broader memory and historical narrative trends of this era.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
History; Public History
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Vance, Meghan, "'The Tourist Soldier': Veterans Remember the American Occupation of Germany, 1950-1955" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 1190.