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Information bulletin
(September 1950)

Grohe, Friedrich G. K.
America is different,   pp. 25-29 PDF (2.9 MB)


Page 29

in which the boss usually treats his workelrs, the informal,
unauthoritative tone prevailing in the relations between
employer and employee the while mutual respect is
maintained, 'and the equality in social life are typical and
worthy of imitation.
Leaving my comrade at Fliagstaff,.Ari'z., I began hitch-
hiking back to Michigan State College. Proceelding
through Texas to New Orleans, I was again struck by the
mentality of the people in the South and their outlook on
life, Which is very different from that in all other parts
of the country.
The restless activity, the incessant striving after pro-
gress, so significant for the Uniteld Stateis, seemed to be
much less pronounced in the South. Talking to people I
found the following philosophy: "I just work as much as
I must to maintain my present standard of living." It
would be an interesting study to try to 'determine the
relative influence of inheritance, environment and climate
as possible ca'uses for such idiffelrences.
I liked the sprawling city of Wash.hington, D.C., with its
many representative buildings and monuments. Of parti-
cular interest, of course, was the Capitol. I was fortunate
eno-ulgh to listen to a 'Senate session for a while. In an
excellent speech, the Republican Senator Knowland of
California attac'ked the Americian foreign policy in China.
Although the opinions were very much divided, the dis-
cussion was fair 'and sportsmanlike. Occasional humorous
remarks - the strong side of most Americans - prevented
any kind of "bestial seriousness" (Gelrman expression)
such as is frequently found in German political life.
My last term at Michigan State College was chiefly
devoted to my studies and when my departure time came
it certainly was not easy to say goodby to the many
friends I haid ma'de in East Lansing 'and to the friendly
campus that had become my second home.
THERE IS NO DOUBT that the exchange of persons is
one of the most effective means of establishing
friendly relations between Germany and the United
States. Germany has given a striking example in the past
how separation from the outside world can breed in-
tolerance, overestimation of one's own abilities, and re-
ceptiveness to wicked propaganda.
The sphere of influence of a single exchange person
may be rather small when he returns to his country.
However, if we succeed in increasing the exchange of
persons of good will so that these single spheres add up
to a considerable power, the attitude of a whole nation
mi'ght be influenced in a positive way. This seems par-
ticularly important for a country like Germany, which is
in a state of transition and hence fairly susceptible.
In contrast to a trip to the Unilte'd States, books, movies
and the pre'senc~e of occupation troops are only incomplete
means for obtaining a true picture of America. The per-
sonal impression which I received in the United States
far surpassed anything I could have imagined from my
experience in Europe
The "Hollywood version" of the United States produced
by American movies and dominating the minds of the
SEPTEMBER 1950
common people in Europe is, unfortunately, not the best
propaganda for the United States.
This is a real pity. America is so very mugch better than
one could imagine from her movies.
Nor does the presence of the Occupation Forces in Ger-
many give Germans a firsthand picture of America. Un-
avoidable psychological difficulties in the relationship
between victor and an occupied people ren'der a closer
contact between Germans and Americans on an equal
basis rather difficult.
Moreover, the large part of the population of America
-America's backbone, in the best sense of the word-
is scarcely represented in the occupation force. I am
thinking particularly of the low-income 'and middle clas-
ses, the workers, farmers, employees and the small
businessmen. There are a small number of highly--educat-
ed and, very often, high-minded officials in Germany, but,
it seems to me, that the mass of the common soldiers with
their families is somewhat below the American standard.
It must be 'acknowledged that with their exchange pro-
gram, Americans have started an undertaking that has
no precedent in history in the relations between a
victorious ;and a 'defeated people. The positive results, I
am sure, will make up for all the trouble in surmounting
the many difficulties an'd obstacles connected with such
undertaking.                                 + END
(Continued from page 24)
Soviets Delay Repatriation
welcomed by the Government of the United States, which
would be willing to co-operate in any appropriate way.
* * *
The British and French Embassies lalso have communi-
cated with the Soviet Government on this 'subject.
As is well-known, the continued detention of German
prisoners of war in the Soviet Union has been a matter
of concern to the United States Government and to the
Governments of the United Kingdom and France for a
considerable period. The foreign ministers of the United
States, the United Kingdom and France issued a statement
at London on May 12 with respect to this subject which
stated that the foreign ministers had agreed to take all
possible steps to obtain information bearing on the fate
of prisoners of war and civilians not yet repatriated from
the Soviet Union and to bring about repatriation in the
largest pos-sible number of cases.           +END
Korea-War Fears Swell Desertions
A marked increase in the number of deserters from
Soviet Sector "people's potice" units in the first week of
July was ascribed by Berlin Element Public Safety
Division to "fear of being sent to Korea." Thirty-five
"people's potice" - more than half the number reported
deserting in the entire month of June - sought asylum
in the Western Sectors in the week ended July 7.
INFORMATION BULLETIN
v4t
29


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