Explores the re-negotiation of race by Germans and African American GIs in post-World War II Germany. Schroer dissects the ways in which notions of blackness and whiteness became especially problematic in interactions between Germans and American soldiers serving as part of the victorious occupying army at the end of the war. The segregation of US Army forces fed a growing debate in America about whether a Jim Crow army could truly be a democratising force in post-war Germany. Schroer follows the evolution of that debate and examines the ways in which post-war conditions necessitated re-examination of race relations. He reveals how anxiety about interracial relationships between African American men and German women united white American soldiers and the German populace. He also traces the importation and influence of African American jazz music in Germany, illuminating the subtle ways in which occupied Germany represented a crucible in which to recast the meaning of race in a post-Holocaust world.
Timothy L. Schroer is an assistant professor in the History Department of the University of West Georgia.