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Staging West German Democracy

Governmental PR Films and the Democratic Imaginary, 1953-1963

Prof Jan Uelzmann (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)

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Bloomsbury Academic USA
21 March 2019
Staging West German Democracy examines how political founding discourses of the nascent Federal Republic (FRG) were reflected, reinforced, and actively manufactured by the Federal government in conjunction with the West German, state-controlled newsreel system, the Deutsche Wochenschau. By looking at the institutional history of the Deutsche Wochenschau and its close relationship to the Federal Press Office, Jan Uelzmann traces the Adenauer administration's project of maintaining a government channel in an increasingly diverse, de-centralized, and democratic West German media landscape. Staging West German Democracy reconstructs the company's integral role in the planning, production, and dissemination of pro-government PR, and through detailed analyses reveals the films to celebrate the FRG as an economically successful and internationally connected democracy under Adenauer's leadership.

Apart from providing election propaganda for Adenauer's CDU party, these films provided an important stabilizing factor for the FRG's project of explaining and promoting democracy to its citizens, and of defining its public image against the backdrops of the Third Reich past and a competing, contemporary incarnation of German nationhood, the German Democratic Republic (GDR). In this regard, Staging West German Democracy adds in important ways to our understanding of the media's role in the West German nation building process.
By:   Prof Jan Uelzmann (Georgia Institute of Technology USA)
Imprint:   Bloomsbury Academic USA
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 140mm, 
Weight:   567g
ISBN:   9781501347108
ISBN 10:   1501347101
Series:   New Directions in German Studies
Pages:   368
Publication Date:   21 March 2019
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Primary
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jan Uelzmann is Assistant Professor of German at the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA.

Reviews for Staging West German Democracy: Governmental PR Films and the Democratic Imaginary, 1953-1963

Uelzmann's exciting new study invites us to rethink the terms of West German democratization through an incisive analysis of government-sponsored public relations films. Focusing on how state-made PR films contributed to the project of postwar nation-building, this book poses broader questions about the role of cinema in shaping the collective imaginary and contributing to political change. * Jennifer Kapczynski, Honorary Associate Professor of German, Washington University in St. Louis, USA, and author of The German Patient: Crisis and Recovery in Postwar Culture (2008) * Staging West German Democracy is a major new addition to the scholarly literature of media and history. Jan Uelzmann draws upon extensive archival research to document the role of the Deutsche Wochenschau in promoting and shaping the popular image of Adenauer's modern German state. This is an important work not just for media historians but for all scholars working on the history of post-war Germany. * James Chapman, Professor of Film Studies, University of Leicester, UK, and editor of Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television *


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