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GIs and Fräuleins: The German-American Encounter in 1950s West Germany 1st Edition

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807827062
ISBN-10: 0807827061
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Recasts the terms of debate over the legacies of Nazism and the persistence of antisemitism, deepens our understanding of processes of Americanization and secularization, and makes sense of 1950s West Germans' distinctive contradictory mix of punitive and tolerant attitudes toward nonmarital heterosexuality. (Dagmar Herzog, Michigan State University)

Review

GIs and Frauleins tells an interesting and important story, and with it Hohn makes a valuable contribution to the burgeoning literature on post-World War II Germany.--American Studies

|Makes a significant contribution to our understanding of 1950s community dynamics and race relations during the occupation. . . . [Hohn's] use of gender provides a new and detailed picture of German social and economic history at the local and national levels since the 1950s. Her book is a valuable contribution to the scholarly literature.--Journal of American History

|In this very fine book, Hohn illuminates critical changes in West German society and opens up a fascinating new front in the history of the cultural expansion of the United States.--International History Review

|This is a beautifully written book that adds immensely to our understanding of 1950s culture. GIs and Frauleins focuses on the intense popular and institutional reactions to sexual and romantic relations between German women and American men and the complex interplay between German and American forms of racism. Hohn's richly textured account also recasts the terms of debate over the legacies of Nazism and the persistence of anti-Semitism, deepens our understanding of processes of Americanization and secularization, and makes sense of 1950s West Germans' distinctive, contradictory mix of punitive and tolerant attitudes toward nonmarital heterosexuality.--Dagmar Herzog, Michigan State University

|This fine book should become a staple for students of postwar Germany, sexuality, and race.--Central European History

|Few scholars have focused on the social impact of the American bases on local communities in Germany. Maria Hohn's study of the Baumholder region in the 1950s is a significant step toward understanding the local repercussion of such a deployment. . . . As a model community study, Hohn's book makes a major contribution to our understanding of the American impact on local German communities during the Cold War.--American Historical Review

|This important book belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in the U.S. military's interactions with foreign civilians, the military's presence in Europe during the Cold War, and in gender and race relations in 1950s West Germany.--Journal of Military History

|Hohn's study skillfully places local experiences into the larger contexts of West German society and German-US relations.--Choice

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (July 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807827061
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807827062
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,044,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ron Hunka on September 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"GIs and Fraeuleins"
Maria Hoehn
ISBN 0-8078-5375-5
This book explores the culture clash that occurred during the Cold War in the 1950's when American GIs were first stationed in large numbers in the towns of Baumholder and Kaiserslautern in the rural Rhineland-Palatinate state of Germany, between the Rhine and Mosel rivers. Having served in Germany a decade later, I was surprised at the extent to which there had been such problems. In Mannheim, most of the issues that Maria Hoehn describes were not readily apparent. But Mannheim was urban versus the relatively provincial character of Baumholder and Kaiserlautern of the previous decade.
Some of Hoehn's themes in this book include the impact the American soldier's money and lifestyle on rural German society, the German conservatives' attempt to punish German women who associated with GIs, especially black GIs, and the irony of the Germans' rejection of discrimination against Jews in the new Federal democracy vis-à-vis their acceptance of it against black American soldiers. Certainly, Hoehn points out, white attitudes toward fellow black soldiers played a role in the German view.
Hoehn's documentation from publications of the time convincingly demonstrates that there were significant racial problems and that many Germans vehemently opposed intimate associations between German women and American blacks, so much so that the conservative CDU political party and various religious organizations tried to have these women legally classified as prostitutes.
Hoehn writes that many Germans including those who had lost ancestral lands to American military installations began to cash in on the boom by renting rooms to Americans. Barns and attics were transformed into apartments.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jim Brown on October 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
"GIs and Frauleins" presents a comprehensive review of the cultural and economic impact the massive American military machine imposed on a small, agrarian, and relatively poor German state at the peak of the Cold War. This book presents a seminal work for the comprehension of later cultural clashes that dominated both the United States and Germany and continue to the present.
I recommend it for both the serious scholar as well as the casual reader of social and demographic history.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian Huck on October 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Unlike the previous reviewer, who took issue with the allegedly "academic" style of the book, I found it was very readable, avoiding a lot of the "constructing the other" and "conflicting gender identities" type of language one might expect to find in an academic book of this sort. This does not mean, however, that the book does not address the kind of conceptual, academic issues that are frequently raised in such stilted terms. In no sense is the book merely an antiquarian show-and-tell kind of catalog; it quite thoroughly discusses the "holy Trinity" of race, class, and gender issues. I found the discussion of German and American forms of racism to be especially interesting.
The content of the book has, for the most part, been adequately addressed in the "official" Amazon review as well as in the previous customer review. There is one aspect, however, that deserves further mention, and which I found particularly insightful: Höhn's discussion of whether the changes that came to the rural areas she discusses would be best described as modernization or as Americanization. This sort of issue is something which would interest anyone who is concerned with the cultural issues of globalization and the dominance of American cultural products in today's markets. Because she focuses on an area in which there was a very strong American presence in the immediate post-war years, it is not surprising that her evidence shows a significant American component to the modernization process. It would be interesting to compare her conclusions in this regard to those of someone studying an area where American influence was less direct and personal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nancy M. Morales on February 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because my half sister, who was given up for adoption after she was born and was raised in Germany, told me that the woman in this picture was my mom. I didn't have a good relationship with my mom, but this book is helping me to understand what it must have been like for her growing up in post WWII Germany. My mom met my dad when he was in the Army and stationed in Germany. I really enjoyed reading about how the American military affected the local population, especially since I'm a military retiree now. These things still happen today and will continue to happen in the future as long as there are lonely young men and women looking for potential partners who they feel will "take care" of them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alvaro Z on July 12, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really find it very interesting trying to understand life in a defeated Germany. This book helped me to have a deeper view.
Nevertheless, not because I am kinky, but it was very coy when it refers to sex life or unwanted births.
I could use more "real life" reviews as opposed to political correct terms or not deep enough commentaries.
On the other hand got too deep in the black-problem.
I think there must have been other bigger problems such as kids growing up without parents, how to make a living during those times and so on.
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