Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 282–303 | Cite as

‘A transatlantic buzz’: flying saucers, extraterrestrials and America in postwar Germany

  • Greg EghigianEmail author
2013 Donald Cameron Watt prize winner


The years 1946–1960 saw a wave of reports of flying saucer sightings on both sides of the Atlantic. To date, however, few scholars have examined how the phenomenon moved across states and regions, what responses it garnered and what impact it had on contemporary thought and values. This article examines how the mainstream press and public intellectuals in postwar West and East Germany reported on and discussed flying saucer reports. The evidence shows that both cold war geopolitics and the occult were used to explain sightings, but that suspected American influences and anti-American sentiments figured heavily in how most reports were interpreted. Flying saucers thus functioned as cyphers for considering alien influences in postwar society.


UFOs flying saucers press Germany anti-Americanism 


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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryPenn State UniversityState CollegeUSA

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