‘Americanisation’ Revisited

  • Christoph Hendrik Müller
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of the Media book series (PSHM)


For a long time, historians have considered post-1945 Western Germany as an example of massive ‘Americanisation’. Almost total hegemony over Western Europe in general, and the FRG in particular, was ascribed to the USA. Whereas the contemporary fear of total Americanisation was restricted to the nationalist Right in the ‘long 1950s’, this interpretation gained ground in more mainstream and moderate left-wing circles from the mid-1960s onwards. ‘Coca-Colonisation’, a provocative exaggeration of the term ‘Cultural Imperialism’, became a catchphrase for the anti-American discourse in West European left-wing circles in the 1970s. Initially coined by the French newspaper Le Monde as early as 1949,1 the term is now used in scholarly literature to describe the alleged or real influence of American culture in Europe after 1945.2 Within the neo- Marxist framework of cultural imperialism theory, the rest of the world is seen as victimised by the irresistible striving of the USA for cultural, industrial and economic world domination. Radio, TV, Hollywood, the music and the advertising industries, and technological improvement all generate an unquenchable thirst for more consumption of mostly American-produced consumer goods, with the USA willingly exploiting that thirst.


Cultural Imperialism Advertising Industry Honorary Doctorate Blue Jean Leather Jacket 
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  1. 6.
    Alon Confino, ‘Edgar Reitz’ s Heimat and German Nationhood: Film, Memory, and Understandings of the Past’, German History, vol. 16, no. 2 (1998), p. 187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 23.
    Gesine Schwan, ‘Antiamerikanismus und demokratisches Bewusstsein in der Bundesrepublik von 1945 bis heute’, vorgänge, vol. 2 (2001), p. 25.Google Scholar

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© Christoph Hendrik Müller 2010

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  • Christoph Hendrik Müller

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