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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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Love across the Color Line

Love across the Color Line

The Limits of German and American Democracy, 1945–1968

(p.105) Love across the Color Line
Germans and African Americans

Maria Höhn

University Press of Mississippi

Recent research on the American military occupation in West Germany has addressed issues of gender and race by exploring the African American GIs’ sexual relationships with German women. This chapter examines the German and American debates on interracial relationships and how black soldiers stationed in Germany began to challenge interference in their relationships or the de facto segregation of bars and restaurants to GIs. It argues that African American GIs were defining civil rights not only in terms of political and economic equality, but also in terms of social equality. The chapter considers the irony of an American government that forced the abolition of the Nuremberg Laws and a ban on marriages between Aryans and non-Aryans, but tolerated the many state laws banning interracial marriages. It also comments on the attitudes of black soldiers who felt less racism and discrimination in U.S. military bases in Germany than in America, and, finally, discusses the debate about the propriety of racial mixing in Germany and its implications for democracy.

Keywords:   race, African Americans, GIs, German women, interracial relationships, Germany, interracial marriages, racism, America, democracy

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