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Renovating the Republic: Unified Germany confronts its history – both deep and recent – as it defines itself for the 21st century
Journalism & Mass Communications: Student Media
  • Katie Backman, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Joel Gehringer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Kyle Harpster, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Katelyn Kerkhove, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Tiffany Lee, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Hilary Stohs-Krause, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Teresa Prince, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Matt Eichinger, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Emily Ingram, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Tanna Kimmerling, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Heather Price, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Ewelina Skaza, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Brady Jones, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Nels Sorensen, Jr., University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Stephanie Sparks, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Rachel Anderson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Megan Carrick, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Justin Petersen, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Chris Welch, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Timothy G. Anderson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
  • Charlyne Berens, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Nancy Anderson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Frauke Hachtmann, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Bernard McCoy, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Michael Farrell, NET Television
  • Bruce Thorson, UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications
  • MR Hahn, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Date of this Version
1-1-2007
Disciplines
Comments
Depth Report, College of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2007. Copyright 2007 University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Abstract

Germany and America go way back.

German soldiers fought in the American Revolutionary War, and German settlers already had begun finding their way to America before the colonies became a nation. By the 1850s, many Germans had settled in the Midwest, and they followed the frontier west to the Great Plains. Germans were the largest group of immigrants arriving in Nebraska between 1854 and 1894, and by 1900, almost 20 percent of the state was first- and second-generation Germans.

For the past year, a group of University of Nebraska-Lincoln journalism students has closely examined this foreign country that, perhaps more than any other, helped shape the Cornhusker State. In January, 13 students spent 10 days in Berlin, interviewing Germans in government offices and nightclubs, at universities and mosques.
To a large extent, what they found was a tale of two 9/11’s.

Without question, Germany’s long and complicated relationship with the United States – as a source of substantial immigration, as an enemy in two world wars and as a key ally in a protracted East-West Cold War – was changed by the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Germany, less inclined to rely on military power to solve international crises, supported U.S. moves in Afghanistan but not in Iraq, straining relations with the U.S. Since then, Germany’s own security has been tested by global terrorism.

But there was an earlier, even more profound 9/11 for Germany. On Nov. 9, 1989 – which, when written European-style, with the day before the month, becomes 9.11.1989 – Germans began tearing down the Berlin Wall. When the dust settled, the Soviet Union was gone, and Germany – split into East and West for 40 years – was reunited.

These two dates – British writer Timothy Garton Ash argues that one marks the end of the 20th century and the other the beginning of the 21st – color nearly everything happening today in Germany.

Our students’ work was aided immensely by Germany’s Goethe-Institut, especially our Berlin tour guides Gerrit Book and Anna Held, and by the German Foreign Office, which assisted with travel expenses. We would also like to thank Viola Drath for her help and inspiration, and Wolfgang Drautz, consul general, and Winfried Völkering, vice consul, in the German Consulate General in Chicago.

Contents

Opening Essay: The Road to Rebirth
Culture: Endless Possibilities
Economy: Struggle for Success
Health Care: Splintered Coverage
Social Market: Cornerstone of a Democracy
Currency: All About Change
Military: Beyond Their Borders
Checkpoint Charlie: From Tanks to Tourism
Terrorism: A New Sense of Urgency
Religion: Living Side by Side
Government and Religion: Assessing Religion
Memorials: Monumental Debate
Immigration: No Place to Call Home
Citizenship: Seeking Acceptance
Education: Failing Grade
Kennedy School: Bridging the Divide
Universities: Change in Focus
Women: Redefining Their Roles
European Union: Coming Together

A non-optimized version of the PDF file (170 MB) is attached below as an “Additional file.”

Citation Information
Katie Backman, Joel Gehringer, Kyle Harpster, Katelyn Kerkhove, et al.. "Renovating the Republic: Unified Germany confronts its history – both deep and recent – as it defines itself for the 21st century" (2007)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/bernard_mccoy/1/