Capturing the German EyeAmerican Visual Propaganda in Occupied Germany

Capturing the German EyeAmerican Visual Propaganda in Occupied Germany

Cora Sol Goldstein

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226301693

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Shedding new light on the American campaign to democratize Western Germany after World War II, this book uncovers the importance of cultural policy and visual propaganda to the U.S. occupation. The book skillfully evokes Germany's political climate between 1945 and 1949, adding an unexpected dimension to the confrontation between the United States and the USSR. During this period, the American occupiers actively vied with their Soviet counterparts for control of Germany's visual culture, deploying film, photography, and the fine arts while censoring images that contradicted their political messages. The book reveals how this U.S. cultural policy in Germany was shaped by three major factors: competition with the USSR, fear of alienating German citizens, and American domestic politics. Explaining how the Americans used images to discredit the Nazis and, later, the Communists, it illuminates the instrumental role of visual culture in the struggle to capture German hearts and minds at the advent of the Cold War.