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Germans and African AmericansTwo Centuries of Exchange$
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Larry A. Greene and Anke Ortlepp

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781604737844

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604737844.001.0001

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Exploding Hitler and Americanizing Germany

Exploding Hitler and Americanizing Germany

Occupying “Black” Bodies and Postwar Desire

Chapter:
(p.201) Exploding Hitler and Americanizing Germany
Source:
Germans and African Americans
Author(s):

Damani Partridge

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781604737844.003.0012

This chapter examines the psychological and sociopolitical aspects of interracial relationships in postwar Germany by focusing on the figure of the “African American” GI in film, in popular culture, and in the country’s daily life. More specifically, it analyzes how social imaginations of “blackness,” America, and processes of Americanization are reconfigured by the presence of “black” bodies, and how such black bodies emerged as a new means through which America could be accessed and Germany occupied. The chapter also looks at the depiction of German women as naively romantic and ignorant of the difficulties of interracial relationships, or as extremely practical and functional economic predators seeking food and material comforts that could be provided by black GIs. It argues that the “black body” served not only as an object of desire but also as a conduit to Americanization through the absorption of various vestiges of American culture such as music, dance, gender relations, and consumption patterns.

Keywords:   interracial relationships, Germany, popular culture, blackness, America, Americanization, German women, GIs, music, gender relations

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