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Why most Germans are not anti-American

From remarks by a leading West Germany publisher on receiving an honorary degree at Boston University.

I am, of course, well aware, that in recent weeks some news from Europe, especially from Germany was distressing. News of discord and disharmony. There were stories about anti-American sentiments, even anti-American demonstrations.

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But turbulent and frustrating as such demonstrations and their manifestations are, they do not give the real picture of the state of mind of the German people. According to a public opinion poll taken (recently) 70 percent of the people are absolutely opposed to such demonstrations. Of the remaining 30 percent more than two-thirds are unsure of their decision. I know from my own observations and from all public opinion polls of recent weeks and months that an overwhelming majority of the people in my country would stand up and be counted for a continuation of American-German and German-American cooperation and friendship. Like you, we Germans are not for a policy of confrontation, but for a policy of strength with the final aim to reduce armaments on both sides.

This pro-American attitude of the majority of the German people started already soon after the end of the war. Three facts contributed to this: first, the Germans' longing for liberty after the Nazi years; second, the good, decent behavior of the American soldiers who were stationed in Germany at that time; and, third, the American help to their former enemies, in the form of CARE packages and the Marshall Plan. There was a euphoria at that time which in 1945 prompted a friend of mine to suggest that Germany should become the 49th state of the American Union. Realists knew of course that this was impossible not only because so soon after a criminal war, after our terrible deeds against the Jews, one could not expect that all this was forgotten overnight. But it was a nice dream anyhow, the dream that Germany could have become an American State. I would not have minded at all.

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