German-American Relations before and after September 11

During the summer of 2008, the EU for You podcast will feature events from our archive. Most of these events have been recorded by WBUR and links to the broadcasts can be found on our website. This summer we bring them to you in a more convenient format.

This week’s podcast is a re-broadcast of a February 20o3 lecture by IHS board member Michael Mertes entitled “German-American Relations before and after September 11.”

Mertes’ lecture, which took place at Boston University, just prior to the US invasion of Iraq, explores the unravelling of the formerly close German-American relationship in the months following September 11 and helps us to understand the rift that would develop between the two countries under Chancellor Schroeder. Political priorities for both countries may have shifted, but the need for strong German-American partnership remains as vital as ever.

As Dr. Karen Donfried, Executive Vice President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, points out, even while official attitudes have softened, public sentiment in Europe remains strongly anti-American, or at least, anti-Bush. The upcoming US presidential elections represent, according to her reasoning, a “window of opportunity” for both countries.

This lecture aired on WBUR on February 23, 2003. We are grateful to WBUR for making the recording available to EU for YOU.

Michael Mertes was a senior speechwriter and director general for social and political analyses and cultural affairs for Chancellor Helmut Kohl from 1987 to 1998. Since August 2006, he has been the State Secretary and Envoy from the State of Rhine-Westphalia to the Federal Government. He is member of the Permanent Advisory Council in the Bundesrat which is composed of the sixteen envoys from the states to the Bundesrat. Comparable with the Council of Elders of other parliaments, this board assists and advises the President and the Bundesrat Presidium. In addition, as the highest-ranking official of the Ministry for Federal, European and Media Affairs, he represents the state’s interests in Brussels and Berlin.

Charles Maier is the Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History at Harvard University. His research interests include US and European international politics since World War II, early modern and modern international history, modern social and economic history, and German and Italian History. His most recent publications have focused on Mahler the composer and on alternative narratives for the modern era. His current projects include a history of the world in the twentieth century, specifically the rise and decline of territoriality as a resource for state organization in the modern era.


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