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July 12, 1973 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1973-07-12

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Poge Eight

THE SUMMER DAILY

Thursday, July 12, 1973

Page Eight THE SUMMER DAILY Thursday, July 12, 1973

U.S. image fading in

By OTTO DOELLING
Associated Press Writer
FRANKFURT, Germany - Once upon
a time in this land of Grimm's fairy
tales, there lived a virtuous knight in
shining armor. With his mighty sword
and red, white and blue shield he held
the Fierce Red Dragon at bay and per-
mitted the people of his Teutonic realm
to live in peace and prosperity.
This idealized view of the U n i t e d
States persisted in West Germany through
nearly two decades of the Cold War. But
a debunking process has set in and the
decline of American popularity and pres-
tige has been recorded by recent public
opinion polls.
THE AMERICAN KNIGHT is s t ill
around 28 years after the end of World
War II and most Germans still regard him
as their champion. Yet many are now
looking more critically at him, disillus-
ioned by Vietnam, U.S. domestic turmoil
and international monetary crises.
The Soviet Red Dragon continues to lurk
in the Eastern marches, but growing num-
hers of Germans are begining to feel that
he may not be so fierce, after all. Few
would want him as a house pet, however.
How this shift in West German public
sentiment came about may be explained
in part by the comments of a woman
who, like many members of her genera-
tion, remembers with horror American
bombings during World War II and with
gratitude American aid in the postwar
years.
"THE MARSHALL PLAN, the Berlin
airlift were great and generous gestures
which helped to create a sort of 'big
brother' image of the Americans among
my generation," observed Dr. Carla Huet-
tig, a language instructor at Bonn Uni-
versity.
The Americans, she recalled, "seemed
capable and willing of helping anybody
who asked them anywhere in the world.
They seemed incapable of making the mis-
takes we had made. We felt they were
something close to God. ."
Dr. Huettig, a bustling 63-year-old wid-

ow with short-cropped blond hair, grew
reflective, "Then came Vietnam and the
dollar crisis. The Big Brother fell short
of the image we had of him, which was
too perfect. He shrank a bit while we
ourselves grew up, so that we started
feeling more like equals."
"NOW," SHE continued, "we see that
the Americans are people like you and
me. And we feel we can' permit ourselves
more criticism; which is genuinely well
meant and not negative. I sometimes get
the impression that the Americans see this

a gain of 17 per cent ov
month, but 22 points sh
achievement.
Pollster Guenteh Wick
latest poll "showed more
the previous one that the
Vietnam was no longer sa
public awareness."
" The latest Wickert Poll
popularity drop by 8 pt
cent, indicating in Wicke
German disillusionment ox
results of the visit to Bc

"Then came Vietnam and the dollar crisis.
Brother fell short of the image we had of him, w
too perfect. He shrank a bit while we ourselves
so that we started feeling more like equals."
-Dr. Carla

as an anti-Americanism, which is really is
not."
Earlier this year, the impression of
growing anti-Americanism was - strength-
ened by a spate of local disputes be-
tween the U.S. Army and West German
municipalities over plans to expand a mil-
itary air field and traiinng facilities. At
the same time, a small but vociferous
youth wing or Chancellor Willy Brandt's
Social Democratic party was clamoring
for withdrawal of the more than 200,000t
U.S. troops from West Germany.
A poll released in early May indicated
that West German feelings of friendship
toward the United .States plunged from
79 per cent in October 1971 to 40 per
cent. The high marks were earned in
1971 as President Nixon was preparing
for his journeys to Moscow and Peking.
ON JUNE 6, the Wickert Public Opin-
ion Institute published a follow-up poll to
its May sampling that recorded a recov-
ery of American popularity in West Ger-
many. Of those queried, 57 per cent
picked the United States as West Ger-
many's most important friend. This was

by Kremlin Leonid .I. B
AMERICANS ENJOYEDI
popularity among West G
30-49 age group, 64 per
cited the United States asV
best friend. This age grou
part, was too young to h
mbries of the war and gr
during the Cold War per
aid was essential to West+
vival.
Less friendly, the poll
West Germans in the 18-2
They are more likely to
view of the United States b
nam and to regard the Ma
Berlin Airlift as ancient hi
"The youngsters don't
reasons for the Cold War,
diplomatic source complai
them don't even remembex
ia." He referred to the 196
" - Communist
down a liberal regime.
SUMMING UP HIS views
States, a young postal work
burg remarked, "America-c
dom-democracy. There are

Germany
er the previous and negative feelings. The Vietnam war
y of the 1971 made the negative stronger than be-
fore."
kert said the The official American view of the cur-
precisely than rent state of German-American relations
e hypothesis of is that there is not so much anti-American-
o strong in the ism in West Germany as there is a les-
sening of respect for the United States
saw S o v i e t and a growing indifference toward Amer-
tints to 9 per ican policy goals. In some respects, West
rt's view West Germans regard U.S. objectives as run-
ver the modest ning counter to those of Bonn.
onn last month Long burdened by Nazi war crimes, Ger-
mans see themselves at least partially re-
habilitated by such things as My Lai.
The Big "YOU SEE, Americans commit w a r
hich was crimes, too," is a widespread view.
Blame has been leveled at the United
grew up, States for exporting inflation to Europe
through a flood of weakened dollars and
for opposing burgeoning European' econ-
Huettig omic power.
Detente, which is being fostered by
rezhnev. Chancellor Brandt's policy of friendlier
ezhne v. ties with the East has decreased W e s t
the greatest Germans' sense of dependency upon the
ermans in the United States. As one American diplo-
cent of whom matic source put it, there is a "decline
Vest Germany's in the perceived Soviet threat."
p, for the most ALTHOUGH THE West Germans may
have vivid me- be changing their perception of the Sov-
ew to maturity iet threat, there is no broad popular sup-
-iod when U.S. port for the removal of U.S. troops from
Germany's sur- West German soil. "Ami Go Home" signs
are rare.
showed, were "I hope the American military stays
29 age group. here. No telling what would happen if they
hold a critical left," Frau Mariana Stopfkuchen, a pen-
ecause of Viet- sioner living in Frankfurt, said in echoing
rshall Plan and the sentiment of an overwhelming majority
story. of West Germans.
remember the, One public opinion poll conducted last
" an American May showed that three-quarters of those
ned. "Some of surveyed favored the continued presence
r Czechoslovak- of American forces.
8 Soviet-led in- "AS I SEE IT, such trifles do not af-
country to put feet the core of German-American rela-
tions. However - and this must be said
of the United in all seriousness - the Americans must
er from Wuerz- - get used to the fact that the Germans
criminality-free- are no longer the docile pupils of 1945-45.
both positive The Germans have grown up."

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