Very erratic and a bit meandering. The idea behind this book is great, and there were some solid chapters, like Ch1 on Weimar and Ch6 on Berlin.
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And the annotated bibliography 3. And the annotated bibliography is quite interesting. There is some stuff on Fontane. Feb 08, Ira Therebel rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , western-europe , travel , media , culture. This is a bit of an unusual travel book. It is an analysis on how hard it is to write a common travel book about Germany due to it's history of Nazism. I appreciated the different approach, analysis and reading his view. The author has an amazing writing style that is a pleasure to read and makes one think.
Now, to the negative. I disagree with the author when he says that while there was cruelty in history of every culture the Holocaust is particularly German which makes it hard to disassociate t This is a bit of an unusual travel book. I disagree with the author when he says that while there was cruelty in history of every culture the Holocaust is particularly German which makes it hard to disassociate the two. This is not true, genocides happened and happen through the world. Besides, there are forms of cruelty to people that can be associated with particular cultures but don't stop us from seeing beyond it.
One of the Boys
When I was in Rome and visited Colosseum, I stopped to think about horrible things that happened there when people were thrown into arena to kill each other or be killed by wild animals for the amusement of the rich. But it didn't stop me from enjoying Italy of today, their rich culture and beauty. And it doesn't stop people from writing decent travel books about it.
Or how about America where the author is from? Slavery was a horrible part of American history, but while people remember it and see the negative effects of it in the today's life it never stops them from appreciating America of today or other parts of it's history. I think the reasons for the "German Problem" are the time, the author mentions it himself in the book, not enough time has passed, it can irk some that this crime against humanity happened less than a century ago and many of us still have memories of relatives that were part of it.
But another issue would be the way the country is presented to the common citizen. When we learn about other countries we don't avoid the ugly parts of their history but other things are presented as well. When it comes to Germany a common person usually doesn't go beyond learning about Nazism and is oblivious to the centuries that formed the beautiful place with an amazing culture that Germany is, instead all the focus is on these approximately two decades.
This is why the stamp of "evil" is on Germany.
I noticed that in writer's discussion about people. He is an intellectual, but he seems to link every cultural difference even such a small one as how you pay in a bar to Nazism. And to me it is a flaw. But as someone who loves Germany I felt disappointed that there wasn't enough credit given to the rest of German history and a bit faulty portrayal of German population in my opinion as well as finding the actual roots of the "German Problem". I thought this would be a good book to read on the plane on my way over to England, but I didn't get to it until several days later.
I was looking for some light reading on traveling in Germany, something like Bill Bryson's books. This author wrote well, and the flashes of his own doings were very interesting and entertaining. Unfortunately, the author is also an academic. I don't mind the occasional well placed quotations, but half a page at a time is a little much. And then there was the waxin I thought this would be a good book to read on the plane on my way over to England, but I didn't get to it until several days later.
And then there was the waxing lyrical on paintings. If you are studying German culture at college level, than this is the book for you, otherwise leave it be! This book is dry, filled mainly with critiques and quotes from many other books and contemplating how difficult it is to write a travel book about Germany.
The little information or anecdotes the author does give usually only leads into 10 more pages of quotes and contemplating how difficult it is to write a travel book about Germany. The author lived in Hamburg, and that's what he mainly writes about. I don't get the feel he visited many other places. May 31, Carmen rated it liked it Shelves: travel. Lots of references to history or authors of books set in Germany, but I wouldn't want to go there after reading this book if I hadn't already been there.
The Bells in Their Silence: Travels through Germany - Michael Gorra - Google Books
Nov 27, Sowmya rated it it was ok. This is not exactly a travelogue.. Perhaps, this is the problem with academics writing travelogues ;. Jan 19, Jonathan Hiskes rated it it was ok. Didn't quite get into it, but he raises a great question: Why aren't their travel books about Germany, only books about "the German problem"? Apr 13, Erin rated it did not like it. Good if you want to read the rambling musings of an author's mind. Very bad, indeed, if you're actually hoping for a travel writing about Germany. Serge rated it it was amazing Jun 15, Domenic rated it really liked it Mar 20, Pat Dutt rated it it was amazing Feb 22, Marisa rated it really liked it May 19, Steven rated it really liked it Mar 21, Ned rated it really liked it Apr 05, Jan Botha rated it liked it Oct 13, Elisa rated it liked it Aug 04, David rated it liked it Jun 05, Willo Levin rated it liked it Jun 08, Lucas rated it really liked it Sep 10, Marcia rated it really liked it May 30, Bri rated it liked it Nov 30, Arthur rated it liked it Nov 05, Sarah rated it really liked it Dec 01, Michael Boerm rated it really liked it Apr 07, At the same time, the British were becoming increasingly friendly toward the United States in world affairs.
American opinion became more negative toward Germany than towards any other country in Europe. President Wilson's highest priority was to broker peace talks, using his trusted aide Colonel House. Apart from an Anglophile element urging early support for Britain, American public opinion reflected that of the president: the sentiment for neutrality was particularly strong among Irish Americans , German Americans , and Scandinavian Americans , as well as poor white southern farmers, cultural leaders, Protestant churchmen, and women in general.
The Bells in Their Silence: Travels through Germany
Former President Theodore Roosevelt and many Republicans were war hawks, and demanded rapid American armament. Wilson insisted on neutrality, and minimized wartime preparations in order to negotiate for peace. After the British ship Lusitania was sunk with over American passengers drowned, Wilson demanded that German submarines must allow passengers and crew to reach their lifeboats.
source Germany reluctantly agreed, but in January decided that a massive infantry attack on the Western front, coupled with a full-scale attack on all food shipments to Europe, would prove decisive. It realized the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare meant war with the United States, but it calculated that American military forces would take years to arrive, by which time Germany would already be the victor. Germany reached out to Mexico with the Zimmermann Telegram , offering a military alliance against the United States, hoping the United States would diverge most of its attention to attacking Mexico.
London intercepted the Zimmerman telegram, and it outraged American opinion.
President Wilson called on Congress to declare war on Germany in April The United States expected to provide money, munitions, food and raw materials but did not expect to send large troop contingents until Washington realized how weak the Allies were on the Western Front. After the exit of Russia from the war in late , Germany could reallocate , experienced troops to their Western Front.
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On the homefront, the loyalty of German-Americans were frequently challenged. Any significant German cultural impact was seen with intense hostility and suspicion. Germany was portrayed as a threat to American freedom and way of life. Inside Germany, the United States was another enemy and denounced as a false liberator, wanting to dominate Europe itself.
As the war ended, however, the German people embraced Wilsonian promises of the just peace treaty. At the Paris peace conference of , President Wilson used his enormous prestige, and cooperation with the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George , to successfully block some of the extremely harsh French demands against Germany. Wilson devoted most of his attention to establishing the League of Nations , which he felt would end all wars.
He also signed a treaty with France and Britain the guaranteed American support and Germany invaded France again. Returning home, Wilson refused all compromises with the Republicans, who control Congress, and the United States never ratified the Treaty of Versailles, never joined the League of Nations, and never ratified the Treaty with France and Britain.
Economic and diplomatic relations were positive during the s. The United States government rejected the harsh anti-German Versailles Treaty of , and signed a new peace treaty that involved no punishment for Germany, and worked with Britain to create a viable Euro-Atlantic peace system. Houghton —25 believed that world peace, European stability, and American prosperity depended upon a reconstruction of Europe's economy and political systems.
He saw his role as promoting American political engagement with Europe.
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He overcame domestic opposition, and disinterest in Washington. He quickly realized that the central issues of the day were all entangled in economics, especially war debts owed by the Allies to the United States, reparations owed by Germany to the Allies, worldwide inflation, and international trade and investment. Solutions, he believed, required new policies by Washington and close cooperation with Britain and Germany. He was a leading promoter of the Dawes Plan. Although the high culture of Germany looked down upon American culture, jazz was widely accepted by the younger generation.
Hollywood had an enormous influence, as did the Detroit model of industrial efficiency.
CDU politician Walter Lübcke was found lying in pool of blood on terrace of his home
German influence on American society was limited during that period. The flow of migration into the United States was small, and young American scholars seldom attended German universities for graduate work. The U. New York banks played a major role in financing the rebuilding of the Germany economy.
Public opinion in the U. The key event was American revulsion against Kristallnacht , the nationwide German assault on Jews and Jewish institutions. Religious groups which had been pacifistic also turned hostile. Hollywood edited films for Nazi Germany. Franklin Roosevelt's foreign policy strongly favored Britain and France over Germany in — In contrast to this, President Roosevelt was, as early as mid-March ,  quite acutely aware of Hitler's views about the United States , with Roosevelt needing to balance the dueling issues of preparing the United States for likely involvement in a global conflict, and the still-strong desire by many Americans to avoid war at all costs; until the consequences of the attack on Pearl Harbor settled the issue.
In the aforementioned poster, which is shown in this article , the United States of America is depicted as a monstrous, vicious war machine seeking to destroy European culture. The poster alludes to many negative aspects of American history, including the Ku Klux Klan , the oppression of Native Americans , and lynching of blacks. The poster condemns American capitalism , America's perceived dominance by Judaism and shows American bombs destroying a helpless European village. However, America launched several propaganda campaigns in return towards Nazi Germany often portraying Nazi Germany as a warmongering country with inferior morale, and brainwashing schemes.
Following the defeat of the Third Reich , American forces were one of the occupation powers in postwar Germany. In parallel to denazification and "industrial disarmament" American citizens fraternized with Germans.