Know Your Enemy: The American Debate on Nazism, 1933-1945 (Publications of the German Historical Institute)

Know Your Enemy: The American Debate on Nazism, 1933-1945 (Publications of the German Historical Institute)

By: Michaela Hoenicke-Moore (author)Paperback

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This book analyzes the intellectual side of the American war effort against Nazi Germany. It shows how conflicting interpretations of 'the German problem' shaped American warfare and postwar planning. The story of how Americans understood National Socialism in the 1930s and 1940s provides a counter-example to the usual tale of enemy images. The level of German popular support for the Nazi regime, the nature of Nazi war aims, and the postwar prospects of German democratization stood at the center of public and governmental debates. American public perceptions of the Third Reich - based in part on ethnic identification with the Germans - were often forgiving but also ill-informed. This conflicted with the Roosevelt administration's need to create a compelling enemy image. The tension between popular and expert views generated complex and fruitful discussions among America's political and cultural elites and produced insightful, yet contradictory interpretations of Nazism.

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About Author

Michaela Hoenicke Moore is Professor of History at the University of Iowa. She has taught at the Kennedy Institute of the Free University in Berlin, at the University of North Carolina, and at York University in Toronto and worked as a Senior Fellow in US Foreign Policy at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin. She is the co-editor (with Bernard May) of The Uncertain Superpower: Domestic Dimensions of US Foreign Policy after the Cold War, and her articles have appeared in journals including Diplomatic History and Amerikastudien.


Prologue: Thomas Wolfe and the Third Reich; Introduction: defining the German problem; Part I. Prelude to War: 1. Memories of World War One: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Germany; 2. News from the new Germany: conflicting interpretations, contested meaning, 1933-40; 3. The prospect of war, 1933-41; Part II. Mobilizing the American Home Front: 4. The principal battleground of this war is American opinion, 1941/42; 5. OWI: explaining Nazism to the American people is no easy assignment; 6. Why we fight: the nature of the enemy seen differently; Part III. The Public Debate on Germany, 1942-5: 7. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: Germans and Nazis; 8. The German disease and Nazism as gangsterism; 9. German peculiarities versus human universality: Vansittartism; Part IV. The Governmental Debate on Postwar Plans, 1942-5: 10. What do you do with people like that?; 11. How to prevent World War III; 12. The enemy in defeat: German-American encounters at zero hour; Conclusion.

Product Details

  • publication date: 06/03/2014
  • ISBN13: 9781107655140
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 410
  • ID: 9781107655140
  • weight: 630
  • ISBN10: 1107655145

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