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Shofar FTP Archive File: places//germany/germany.poll

Archive/File: fascism/germany germany.poll
Last-modified: 1993/09/08   

washington, sept. 8 (nca) - the following article By Rick
Atkinson appears today in the washington post:

BERLIN - More than half of all Americans consulted fear a return
of Nazism in modern Germany, and four in 10 say Germany poses a
danger to European peace, according to a public-opinion survey
published this week.

Despite such apparent anxieties, the poll, which was commissioned
by the office of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, also found that a
substantial majority of Americans personally like Germans and
believe that bilateral relations between Washington and Bonn are

The survey of 1,200 Americans reflects an attempt by the Bonn
government to gauge public sentiment about a relationship that is
considered the foundation of German foreign policy, a German
Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday.

Some of the results suggest that highly publicized reports in the
last two years about growing right-wing extremism and xenophobic
attacks in Germany have left a deep impression on Americans. When
asked whether the return of National Socialism is a danger in
Germany, 54 percent of those surveyed said yes.

Forty-one percent answered yes when asked, "Is unified Germany a
danger to European peace?" A majority - 52 percent - also
considered Germans to be antisemitic.

A parallel poll of 1,000 Germans, also conducted for the
chancellor's office by the Institute for Practical Social
Research in Mannheim, found that 49 percent of eastern Germans
and 34 percent of western Germans also agreed that a return of
Nazism poses a danger.

On some issues, Germans and Americans appear to diverge
considerably in their views on Germany. Only 20 percent of the
Germans, for example, consider their countrymen to be
antisemitic. When asked whether Germany is a reliable NATO
partner, 8 of 10 Germans consulted said yes, but only 4 of 10
Americans agreed.

About half of the Germans surveyed listed the United States as
the country on which they could most rely in a crisis, compared
with 30 percent who cited France and 2 percent who cited Britain.
For Americans, 55 percent listed Britain as the most reliable
ally and 8 percent of Americans named Germany.

On the issue of mutual esteem, however, Germans and Americans
responded with comparable enthusiasm. Seventy-two percent of the
Americans said they like Germans, compared to 81 percent of the
western Germans and 72 percent of eastern Germans who like
Americans. More than 90 percent of Germans said relations are
either "very good" or "rather good," compared to 82 percent of

Experts on German and American relations cautioned against
reading too much into the survey results, although officials in
Bonn acknowledge worrying about the impact of U.S. public opinion
on tourism, trade and bilateral ties.

Jackson Janes, deputy director of the American Institute for
Contemporary German Studies in Washington, said, "I don't think
the results are terribly surprising. They're conditioned by
events: people talking about the latest right-wing violence in

Steve Sokol, program associate with the German Marshall Fund in
Berlin, said the strong German support for the United States
seems contrary to an apparent rise in isolationism throughout

With regard to American opinions about German antisemitism Sokol
added, "Given the knowledge that most people have about Europe in
general and Germany in particular, it's hard to know exactly how
people come to their beliefs about these kinds of

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