Shepherd of Democracy? America and Germany in the Twentieth Century

Shepherd of Democracy? America and Germany in the Twentieth Century

Shepherd of Democracy? America and Germany in the Twentieth Century

Shepherd of Democracy? America and Germany in the Twentieth Century

Synopsis

Established scholars on both sides of the Atlantic offer a broad perspective of the central themes in German-American relations in the twentieth century and show how the most current developments have evolved. This interpretive survey helps fill a major gap in the literature covering the long-term relationship between Germany and the United States and demonstrates how liberal democratic values have been upheld.

Excerpt

With the end of the Cold War it is commonplace to note that a wave of democratic reform and reconstruction has washed away the moribund political structures of east and central Europe. In the flush of the great historical events of 1989, it has been less widely noted that the possible securing of all Europe for democracy represents a profound historical and social process that stretches across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Since 1871, Germany has been the pivot of hope for that process, as well as the major barrier to its wider success. From the first unification of modern Germany until 1945, the democracies of Europe--east and west--lived under the threat of German power. After 1945, democracy in Europe for a while cowered in the shadow of Soviet power, which extended into the heart of the continent, in part out of Moscow's fear at a revival of German strength and ambition. As importantly, Europe's failure to deal with the German question--with Germany's challenge to the balance of power and to democracy--twice this century forced the United States into decisive intervention in continental affairs, and into establishing a permanent presence in Europe. With the defeat of fascism and now the evident collapse of Soviet power, liberal-democracy, with its promise of mitigating class and national divisions, has emerged as the dominant idea of modern politics. If there is a . . .

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