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date: 29 November 2021

Germany and US Foreign Relationslocked

Germany and US Foreign Relationslocked

  • Brian EtheridgeBrian EtheridgeKennesaw State University

Summary

Not many bilateral relationships in modern world history have as many twists and turns as the one shared by the United States and Germany. Their relationship has waxed and waned like few others: from mild indifference to faint and uncomplicated appreciation in the 18th and 19th centuries, to growing awareness, rivalry, and then outright hostility in the early 20th century, to codependent enabling and then horrific existential conflict in the mid-20th century, and finally to occupation, reconstruction, and mutually supportive and global-stabilizing friendship after 1945. With early trajectories that informed and mirrored each other, the paths of the United States and Germany eventually collided in the First World War, a conflict born of issues that were only half-resolved in its immediate aftermath. The outbreak of the Second World War laid bare the incompleteness of the Versailles settlement, leading to the complete and utter destruction of German civil society and ushering in an era of American supremacy in the Western world. The United States’ ambitious effort to reconstruct German society along American lines defined the relationship during the postwar period, but a turn toward nationalism in both countries in the early 21st century resurrected old questions and fears.

Subjects

  • Foreign Relations and Foreign Policy

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