- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; New edition 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: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,801,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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GIs and Fräuleins: The German-American Encounter in 1950s West Germany New edition Edition
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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)
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
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
Hohn's study skillfully places local experiences into the larger contexts of West German society and German-US relations.--Choice
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
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
Top customer reviews
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.
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. German families moved into their own kitchens to be able rent out the rest of the house to the Americans who were willing to pay four or five times the going rate. Hoehn quips that in the small towns where everyone usually kept animals that some Germans had to choose between having a pig or an American, an "Ami" in the German parlance of the time.
Due to high unemployment throughout Germany at this time, many young women came to the area hoping for a job as a maid for an American family, a waitress, or a dancer at an establishment that catered to American soldiers. Many, who had lost homes and parents during the war, hoped to escape from a life of poverty. Some were refugees from the former territories or East Germany. These women did not find favor in the traditional view of the residents of the area for their fraternization with American soldiers, especially black American soldiers. Such women were dubbed "Veronikas". A number of them were arrested and subjected to humiliating trials in local courts by extremist judges. Efforts for national legislation classifying these women as prostitutes by the coalition of CDU, Protestant, and Catholic leaders ultimately failed.
This book is an excellent, well-documented piece of research. Although Hoehn's writing is somewhat academic and redundant in places, this is a commendable book of considerable merit. Those interested in postwar German history and even some former GIs may get new insight from it.
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. This comparison would better demonstrate whether the American influence was a necessary, or merely a contemporary, component of German societal modernization. Such a comparison, however, would not fit very well into a book titled "GIs and Fräuleins." Höhn is to be commended for putting the abundant evidence which she presents into such a larger context of modernization debates, and not faulted for not being more encyclopedic.