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In the two decades after World War II, Germans on both sides of the iron curtain fought vehemently over American cultural imports. Uta G. Poiger traces how westerns, jeans, jazz, rock 'n' roll, and stars like Marlon Brando or Elvis Presley reached adolescents in both Germanies, who eagerly adopted the new styles. Poiger reveals that East and West German authorities deployed gender and racial norms to contain Americanized youth cultures in their own territories and to carry on the ideological Cold War battle with each other. Poiger's lively account is based on an impressive array of sources, ranging from films, newspapers, and contemporary sociological studies, to German and U.S. archival materials.
Jazz, Rock, and Rebels examines diverging responses to American culture in East and West Germany by linking these to changes in social science research, political cultures, state institutions, and international alliance systems. In the first two decades of the Cold War, consumer culture became a way to delineate the boundaries between East and West. This pathbreaking study, the first comparative cultural history of the two Germanies, sheds new light on the legacy of Weimar and National Socialism, on gender and race relations in Europe, and on Americanization and the Cold War.
Uta G. Poiger is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Washington, Seattle.
"This significant contribution to German history pioneers a conceptually sophisticated approach to German-German relations. Poiger has much to say about the construction of both gender norms and masculine and feminine identities, and she has valuable insights into the role that notions of race played in defining and reformulating those identities and prescriptive behaviors in the German context. The book will become a 'must read' for German historians."—Heide Fehrenbach, author of Cinema in Democratizing Germany
"Poiger breaks new ground in this history of the postwar Germanies. The book will serve as a model for all future studies of comparative German-German history."—Robert G. Moeller, author of Protecting Motherhood
"Jazz, Rock, and Rebels exemplifies the exciting work currently emerging out of transnational analyses. [A] well-written and well-argued study."—Priscilla Wald, author of Constituting Americans