Collège Claparède 2004-2005
Anti-Americanism in Europe
A historic disease
Written by:
Grzegorz Bronislaw Grabinski
Edited and republished with author s permission by
GOPEurope e.V.Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 2
This document has been edited and republished by consent of the author. The
views expressed herein are the sole property and responsibility of the author.
This document does not in any way reflect or represent the policy or views of
GOPEurope e.V.
© Copyright 2005Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 3
Resumé…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4
Synopsis………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5
Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 6
Part I: Anti-Americanism yesterday ……………………………………………………………. 7
America – A new day has come ……………………………………………………………… 7
Uncivilized ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8
Between heaven and hell ……………………………………………………………………… 9
Freedom, money and America ………………………………………………………………. 9
We do not want to be like you!……………………………………………………………… 11
The good and the evil …………………………………………………………………………. 12
Starting points……………………………………………………………………………………. 13
The American war against Spain………………………………………………………….. 13
The lost war………………………………………………………………………………………. 14
Converging hate: Wilson and Europe ……………………………………………………. 15
Nazi Germany and the United States of America ……………………………………. 16
After the war ……………………………………………………………………………………… 17
Germany after the war………………………………………………………………………… 18
France after the war: we did not need you anyway …………………………………. 20
Vietnam: America’s loss of credibility…………………………………………………….. 20
The defeat of communism and the sole superpower……………………………….. 21
Part II: anti-Americanism today ……………………………………………………………….. 23
The Michael Moore phenomena …………………………………………………………… 23
The ghost of Vietnam and other disasters ……………………………………………… 28
Nous sommes tous Américains? ………………………………………………………….. 32
The quest for European identity……………………………………………………………. 37
Conclusion: The song remains the same ………………………………………………….. 39
Personal conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………. 41
Bibliography …………………………………………………………………………………………. 42
Your moment of Zen: the acknowledgments……………………………………………… 43Anti-Americanism in Europe
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L’anti-américanisme est un sentiment qui a l’âge des Etats-Unis eux-mêmes. Les
clichés d’aujourd’hui ont été fomré pendant des siècles et un Michael Moore les
exploite simplement. L’hostilité des Européens envers les USA n’est donc rien de
nouveau: Elle s’est toujours transformé avec le temps et s’est adopté aux
circonstances historiques, mais peu importe si c’était la deuxième guerre
mondiale, la guerre froide ou le 11 septèmbre, elle était toujours présente.Anti-Americanism in Europe
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Anti-Americanism in Europe is a sentiment that has existed since the creation of
America itself. Since then, European thinkers have discussed and discredited
America, often without a single visit to the country. They saw in America a
degenerate nation with no culture and money as its only religion. These views
were mostly born out of 19
Century Romanticism and remain today. Before,
between and after the world wars, America was perceived as the great
liberator, and simultaneously an empire with imperialistic intentions. During
the Cold War, America was needed as protector, while despised as before.
Especially true during the Vietnam War and by the socialists of ’68 who saw in
America nothing less then the imperialistic evil. After the fall of the Soviet empire,
America remained the sole superpower on the globe. During this period, all the
old clichés of America came back and Europe envied America’s liberty to do
whatever she liked – something the Europeans have lost. Today, the antiAmericans use such old prejudices rather more subtly, and sometimes not. The
reactions to 9/11 have shown that the resentment is profound and that it
reemerges even in America’s hours of darkness.Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 6
America and Americans are confronted with antipathy all over the world, but that
in Europe is different. At first sight, one would believe that Americans are loved in
Europe: there is a McDonald’s almost everywhere, most of the blockbusters are
Hollywood movies and after all, America came to Europe’s rescue twice. But a
poll of the major Swiss weekly newspaper Facts points out that 55% of the Swiss
have a hostile attitude towards the United States in general.1
The Pew Research Center reports that 62% of the Germans and 63% of the
French share the negative views of their Helvetic neighbors.2 The American
journalist, Ted Stanger, who chose to live in Paris, writes in his book Sacré
français: Un Américain nous observe (Wicked French: An American is watching
us) Every American who lives in Paris is constantly being demonized, criticized,
verbally attacked and considered as the head of an unacceptable cultural
invasion. 3
As we look into history we will see that this sentiment is not caused by a single or
even a few American policies, but has persisted over the years throughout
different political and artistic movements, back to the American revolution itself.
An analysis of major German and French newspapers and the writings of
European intellectuals prove this sentiment is still alive and has persisted beyond
rationality following the attacks of September 11
, 2001.

1 Facts, September 2nd 2004, p. 75
The Pew Research Center, A Year After Iraq War, (
Ted Stanger, Sacré français: Un Américain nous observe, p. 29Anti-Americanism in Europe
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Part I: Anti-Americanism yesterday
America – A new day has come
From its very beginnings America was either loved or hated. Everybody entitled
to an opinion had one. At least, most of Europe agreed that the discovery of
America was a key event in history. John Locke stated at the beginning the
whole world was an America 4. This means nothing less than that the discovery
of America recreated the world, brought it back to zero again. Long before John
Locke, the Spanish Francisco Lopez de Gomara, called the discovery the
greatest event since the creation of the world , adding excluding the incarnation
and death of Him who created it 5 only out of respect to his faith. This combines
with Locke’s view of a new world once America is on the map. Today, Norman
Fiering of the John Carter Brown Library, the only library in the world dedicated
exclusively to the history of the Western Hemisphere, says that The essential
thing about 1492 is that it was the first step in the unification of the globe 6. But it
was the American Revolution that got everything started: Adam Smith viewed
1776 as the most significant year in the history of mankind in his book The
Wealth of Nations. And it is this 1776 Revolution that provided new fuel to the
debate over America: the colony had just liberated itself from Britain and opinions
in Europe diverged strongly. On one side we have people like the economist
Turgot who stated that America represents something like the hope of
mankind 7 or the strong America supporter Alexis de Tocqueville who believed
America was a land of wonders 8 whereas Cornelius de Pauw describes
America in his Recherches philosophiques sur les américains as the biggest

Dan Diener, Feindbild Amerika, p. 13
Robert Dvorchak, Goodbye, Columbus?
Dan Diener, Feindbild Amerika, p. 14
Alexis de Tocqueville, De la démocratie en Amérique, tome 1Anti-Americanism in Europe
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accident that ever happened to mankind9.
However, most European thinkers were convinced that America was simply no
good for people. Buffon, a naturalist like De Pauw, wrote in his book
Dégénération des animaux that in a climate like that of America, people and
animals would degenerate 10
The French bishop, Talleyrand, in exile in Philadelphia in the year of 1794,
thought that A nation that has 30 religions and one single dish is not a civilized
nation . What he could not tolerate was that America was an intensely Godloving Protestant nation.
Although the Count of Buffon started the degeneration theory, it was Cornelius
de Pauw who brought it into popularity through his research , regarded as the
seminal reference on the subject. Not only was it theory, but was widely accepted
as scientific truth – so accepted that Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson,
two of the greatest American thinkers, felt obliged to write a long and detailed
response to these claims
. As one of these critics had success, the other
prestige, this image of America quickly became self-evident in the minds of the
intellectual elite in Europe even before the American Revolution.
Encyclopedist, Abbé Raynal, discovered other flaws: the American people did not
love their women, because they had so few children. But this was the least of his
concerns. This religious man stated that Under the foreign sky, the spirit gets fed
up with the body which contributed to why America has not yet produced a
good poet, a gifted mathematician, a man of talent in one single art or one single

Dan Diener, Feindbild Amerika, p. 14
10 François Ryssen, Généalogie de l antiaméricanisme français,
James W. Ceaser, A genealogy of anti-Americanism,
( in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 9
science 13
In America — according these influential writers and intellectuals — people
degenerate physically and intellectually. In other words, they become ugly and
stupid. So already at the time of the American Revolution, one observes the
precursors of today’s widespread cliché of the stupid American . Professor Spiro
in the Annals of the American Academy of Political Science edition of 1988 in his
analysis of anti-Americanism concluded that Anti-Americanism has been
endemic among the ruling classes in continental Europe since 1776 at the
Between heaven and hell
Europeans were very interested in the new continent. As opposed to Africa and
Asia, the American continent was the place of Europe’s imagination, of a place
where life could go on without conflicts. John Locke’s idea of America as the
beginning of a new world can be read in another way: the new world as a place
of everything that precedes civilization, America as paradise. The idea of an
overseas paradise was not new. Considering the poor living standards in Europe,
the worlds described in Thomas Morus’ Utopia and Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
could possibly be allusions to America. The humanist movement saw in America
a land where people could live in simplicity and innocence 15. The Europeans
felt they had to ‘liberate’ this world from wild nature, but at the same time they
had to protect its purity from the evils of civilization.
Freedom, money and America
The mostly negative images Europeans had of America, were heavily influenced
by the romantic period. According to David Ellwood the well-established

13 François Ryssen, Généalogie de l antiaméricanisme français,
David Ellwood, Anti-Americanism: Why Do Europeans Resent Us?,
Dan Diener, Feinbild Amerika, p.15Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 10
stereotypes of commercial materialism, social fragmentation, lack of culture and
the sheer artificiality of the American experience existed even before the
Balzac declared that only the good-for-nothings go to America, the Count comte
Mosca de la Chartreuse de Parme sees America as the victory of the stupid and
egotistic mediocrity .
17 During this same period the German poet, Nikolaus
Lenau, went to the United States in order to make money, his return well
18 He claimed his emigration had failed and in this way fueled even
more anti-American sentiment in Europe. Everything appeared to be bodenlos
(rootless) for Lenau, in particular the political institutions that only seemed to
exist because of Americans desire for money, the state nothing more than a
materialistic convention. As opposed to Germany that was a home, almost a
father to him.
19 His short journey to America healed him of the idea of freedom
and independence, and convinced him that real freedom resides in the heart.
He, too, claimed to have witnessed degeneration when he proclaimed the
famous Kein Nachtigall (No hummingbird). According to him, the bird was
absolutely right not to come to America and its absence had a serious and deep
meaning. It was like a poetic curse.
This is similar to the observations of Baudelaire, when he took up the defense of
Edgar Poe. Baudelaire said in Edgar Poe, sa vie et ses uvres that the poet was
choked by the American atmosphere 21
implying no culture could ever develop
in America. Heinrich Heine spoke of a horrible freedom prison where the

David Ellwood, Anti-Americanism: Why Do Europeans Resent Us?,
17 François Ryssen, Généalogie de l antiaméricanisme français,
Dan Diener, Feindbild Amerika, p. 48
Ibid., p. 46
Ibid., p. 47
21 François Ryssen, Généalogie de l antiaméricanisme français,
( in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 11
invisible chains would hurt me [him] more than those visible at home
condemning the idea of freedom in the same way as Lenau. And again, with the
same spirit as Lenau, he described money as America’s only, almighty God 22
Even America s seemingly great defender de Tocqueville admitted that he did not
know any other country with lesser real freedom of speech than America .
These lines became the most quoted from his La Démocratie en Amérique.
These intellectuals had essentially one thing in mind: to denounce America as a
country where only money mattered and artistic development (culture) was
impossible. This had an obvious influence upon European views — or rather
clichés — of the United States of America.
We do not want to be like you!
Alexis de Tocqueville, among the most prominent supporters of America during
this period, admitted he was not so much interested in America itself, but in its
It was this idea of democracy and freedom that irritated most of
the Europeans who regarded state authority as a symbol of cultural superiority.
Europe did not want to accept a society where everybody was equal and
America was the perfect incarnation of such a society with its purely capitalistic
economy. It was not only the aristocracy that viewed this as the downfall of
values, but even the middle class felt its noble ideals were fading away.
25 Hegel
saw America as a place where the mob, the most disgusting tyrant of all carries
out its crude authority. Again, no way of accepting the fact the people are in
charge in America. He advised all the farmers to go overseas as there, neither
princes nor nobles exist; there, all people are equal; there, all are the same

Dan Diener, Feindbild Amerika, p. 51
23 François Ryssen, Généalogie de l antiaméricanisme français,
Dan Diener, Feindbild Amerika, p. 20
Ibid., p. 25Anti-Americanism in Europe
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boars! .
26 They were afraid of becoming like the country they disliked: Nietzsche
(who used the term Old Europe well before Donald Rumsfeld27
) warned that
The faith of the Americans is becoming the faith of the European as well.
Such views are precursors of Europe’s notions of superiority today.
The good and the evil
In the 18
and 19
century, the native inhabitants (Indians) of North America
stood for what America was in European imagination: nature and purity. He was
the innocent one fighting against the greedy white colonialist and technician. He
represented the purity. This contributed to demand for Indian literature in Europe.
The readers were not so much interested in the Indians themselves, but rather
reflected Europe’s need for an image that was opposed to the modernity they
feared so much.
Indian literature rose to popularity with James F. Cooper. In The Deerslayer there
was the white man who turned his back on civilization for it was not treating the
natives justly and was destroying his forests. Karl May took this one step further.
The white man destroyed everything in his quest for money. Wherever an
American appears, except the ones who are attached to nature, it is in a context
of profit. Herein establishes the image of the capitalist Yankee. Further proof that
Indians were just a tool, not an object of interest, is the attitude of the baron of
Mandat-Grancey. In his En visite chez l’Oncle Sam he criticizes America at the
same time for the politics of extermination of the Indians as he decries it for its
culinary ignorance .
All in all, the Indians are being used to oppose the modernity coming from the
new inhabitants of America, to guard the idea of America as a natural paradise. It
comes, then, as no surprise that later on, Freud calls the new country the anti-

Karl W. Deutsch, European Anti-Americanism (and Anti-Semitism), p.8
Friedrich Nietzsche, Die fröhliche Wissenschaft
James W. Ceaser, A genealogy of anti-Americanism,
( in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 13
paradise 29
Starting points
Until the beginning of the 20th century, anti-Americanism was already quite
present among European elites, but for France and Germany there were two key
events that really started the anti-American culture. The French couldn’t accept
America’s declaration of war against Spain in 1898, whereas Germany’s problem
was more obvious: they lost a war because of America and felt betrayed by the
Versailles treaty. These two major events helped transform a negative image into
a real ideology.
The American war against Spain
By the late 19
century La Grande Nation was already less than friendly toward
America, perhaps because the Americans preferred to congratulate Wilhelm I in
1870, rather than feel sorry for France. However, in 1898 the Americans crossed
the line: for the first time in history the United States declared war on a European
country. They took action after one of their war ships exploded in the port of
Havana. French public opinion was not convinced and felt it was simply an
excuse for war. It quickly lamented the great defeat of Spain. This anti-American
sentiment was the only value that kept a nation deeply divided by the Dreyfus
case together. The French sympathized with the victims of the Yankee
imperialism30 and feared America would soon attack Europe. In 1899 Octave
Noël warned in Le Péril américain (The American danger) of a struggle for life
[…] between Europe and America, with an unseen brutality
It was at this time that anti-American literature got even more popular. Pierre Loti
accused America of making the war look horrible (as opposed to the nobility of

29Andrei S. Markovits, European Anti-Americanism (and Anti-Semitism),
30 François Ryssen, Généalogie de l antiaméricanisme français,
Ibid.Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 14
European wars), and that it was not worthy of a civilized nation. Gustave Le
Rouge warned of the globalization taking place and that Europe would be
confronted with America in a cruel fight for economic supremacy. Along the same
lines, Emile Barbier claimed in his Voyage au pays des dollars six years before
Havana, that America was invading, flooding and would eventually submerge old
Europe. To Edmond Demolins America seemed to be a bigger danger than what
many believed to be France’s biggest enemy: the Germans.
32 What we observe
here is a short summary or precursor of anti-Americanism today: fear of
modernity, fear of globalization, fear of losing power. These patterns are once
again emerging post-September 11
and uniting Europe just as it united France.
The lost war
The Americans were seen as those responsible for Germany s defeat in the First
World War. The idea that America could influence a European conflict gave them
enormous power over the old continent.
33 To the Germans, it did not matter that
Wilson had in fact saved their country from a more devastating military defeat.
Maybe it would have mattered, but the German government did not widely
publicize that it had signed the Wilson Plan while surrendering. Rather it allowed
Germans to think it had signed the 14 point plan in exchange for a fair peace.
This made Wilson look rather bad among the German public and he was quickly
perceived as the incarnation of Anglo-Saxon hypocrisy.
It is around this time, that the idea of the imperialist American emerged. The
Dawes plan brought the Goldene Zwanziger to Germany, but all many
Germans could see was a conspiracy to enslave them.
35 Combined with their
defeat, this prepared the foundation for a soon common view: the end of the war
in 1918 made capitalist exploitation possible. This combines with the widespread

Dan Diener, Feindbild Amerika, p. 67
Ibid., p. 69
Ibid., p. 68Anti-Americanism in Europe
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idea – one that would again appear after the Second World War – that Germany is
merely a colony of America.
Converging hate: Wilson and Europe
The Americans were warmly welcomed in 1917 when they arrived with
Lafayette, here we are slogans on their boats. But, sadly, the enthusiasm for
America did not last long. In 1919 Wilson arrived with his head held high for the
peace conference in Paris. Such an attitude only reinforced European fear and
distrust of everything coming from the United States. The image of Wilson was
that of an arrogant American telling the wiser Europe what to do. In Wilson’s
peace plans, the French left saw a path to a new global conflict, whereas the
right wing with Maurras started the anathema that America’s president was
opposed to France’s national interest.
Once again, anti-Americanism or anti-Wilsonism in this context — united the
entire political spectrum. Wilson arrived like the second Jesus Christ for
Clemenceau; Maurras thought he was a neuropath; and for one the most
significant thinkers of the 20th century, Sigmund Freud, he was simply
37 Add to this, the German right who just like the French right saw a
Jewish plot in Wilson’s 14 points. It was said the Jews used the first World War to
enrich themselves and gain ideological influence. Given the European history of
anti-Semitism and the popularity of such an idea, accusing Wilson of working
with the Jews adversely affected his popularity.
As already mentioned, the Germans interpreted America’s entry into war as the
Zünglein an der Waage .
38 The French, on the other hand, found in this exact
same image of America grounds to declare everything it had contributed as
unjustified. Clemenceau told the Americans that their intervention was clement,

Ibid., p. 78
37 François Ryssen, Généalogie de l antiaméricanisme français,
Dan Diener, Feindbild Amerika, p.66Anti-Americanism in Europe
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because it cost you only 56,000 lives compared to our 1,364,000 dead .
France and Germany held completely opposing ideas, but, just as with the left
and the right, anti-Americanism managed to reunite them. It is a paradox still
alive and kicking as we will see later on.
The Paris Olympics in 1924 proved this anti-Americanism was not only a thing of
the upper or political classes, but a general phenomenon. When the American
rugby team beat the French (the best European team of the time), the public
stormed the stadium, drove the American athletes into the streets and almost
lynched them. While it is true, that — especially today — the worst antiAmericanism resides in the media and the intellectual milieus, there are forms of
it everywhere.
Nazi Germany and the United States of America
The tyranny of Adolf Hitler shows a slightly different type of anti-Americanism,
although based on the same patterns. From their very beginnings in 1933, the
Nazis held back, but this would soon end. Still, to a certain extent, Hitler tried not
to upset defenders of an isolationist America, as their opposition to him would
interfere with his plans of conquest. Ideologically, the Nazis made it quite clear
the American way of life was degenerate.
Although they despised the American mass culture, outlawing Jazz and Swing in
1935 as Niggerei und jüdische Frivolität
(negro culture and Jewish frivolity),
they had to broadcast such music in order to prevent German troops from
listening to US-stations. Even the Nazis couldn’t escape American mass culture.
They copied it. Just as they did with technology: Ferdinand Porsche visited the
Ford factories in Detroit in 1936 when preparing the mass production of the
Volkswagen. But such admiration for technology could not hide Hitler s hate for
the equality and way of life in America. He hated that it was a melting pot: my

François Ryssen, Généalogie de l antiaméricanisme français,
Dan Diener, Feindbild Amerika, p. 96Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 17
feelings for America are full of hate and reluctance; half Jewified, half negroized
(halb verjudet, halb vernegert) and all based on the dollar […] the Americans
have the brain of a chicken .
In 1940, America and President Roosevelt were declared an enemy. It was at
this time that Goebbels didn’t hold back anything anymore.
42 Roosevelt was
declared a second Wilson […] first agitator, then an apostle of peace .
43 The
Nazis saw themselves, despite their adaptation of American technology, as the
counterpart to America.
44 The United States was accused of hiding its
imperialism under the banner of its way of life . It was Wirsing, who later became
propaganda officer, who created the ideas of an America controlled by Jews:
Uncle Sam has become Uncle Shylock .
45 Such ideas of accepting American
culture and technology but refusing the political concept and the lifestyle of the
United States are to this day popular in Germany and much of the rest of Europe
After the war
The Second World War ended with the crushing defeat of Germany and its allies.
France was liberated as was Germany and anyone with a logical mindset would
think that at this point Europe should have been totally head over heals for
America. To a certain extent, this was of course true and it would be absolutely
false to say that all of Europe was against America, or hated it. But saying that
Europe, especially the main players France and Germany, were in a proAmerican mood would be just as wrong.
The anti-Americanism in both countries shared one common feature, the thought
of being humiliated. First because both of them were unable to liberate

Ibid., p. 92
Ibid., p. 92
Ibid., p. 100
Ibid., p. 98
Ibid., p.105Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 18
themselves from the Nazis and second because of the Marshall Plan, welcomed
but simultaneously seen as an enslavement of Europe, in particular of France
and Germany. It is obvious that especially the first point has a completely
different context for either nation and these views require separate explanations
and yet they are unifying in their effect.
Germany after the war
Shortly after the war, it did not take the Germans much time to believe that the
Americans had now imposed themselves on Germany. Democracy was inflicted
upon them, political science was taught by Americans and this took away the
German sense of self-pride. Not only was democracy a problem, but America
was being accused of imposing capitalism on Germany, which translated into
imposing a soulless system and culture upon the sophisticated Germans. This
was not simply a passing belief, as shown by Rolf Winter in his successful Ami
go home. Plädoyer für den Abschied von einem gewalttätigem Land which
accuses Germany of being manufactured by the United States of America.
46 He
wrote the book in 1989.
Not surprisingly, the Eastern German propaganda machine planted all sorts of
myths and lies about the USA in the minds of people. In 1950, an insect
infestation affected many countries including the DDR. The East German
communist party, or SED, propaganda claimed US planes dropped the bugs on
territory in Eastern Germany. America was capable of anything, in this case they
not only wanted East Germany s brave people to starve, but also force them to
buy chemical products from US-companies. Berthold Brecht even wrote a poem,
Die Amiflieger, about American planes flying over the countryside while children
were dying because of the destroyed fields.
47 The Americans were blamed for
bombing and destroying German towns. The bombing of the Frauenkirche in
Dresden was the proof of evil embodied by the Americans and still arises in

Ibid., p.131
Ibid., p.126Anti-Americanism in Europe
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nearly every discussion about a possible American war somewhere on the
48 These examples, although all from Eastern Germany, added yet
additional layers to the anti-Americanism found today.
The Germans were quick to realize the horrors of the Nazi regime. They were
just as quick to compare it to the United States of America. Hess wrote in 1946,
that he was glad that in Germany, the criminals and the profiteers, the sadists
and the gangster do not speak German anymore, but are American .
49 At first
glance this phenomenon seems strange, but makes much more sense knowing
that America is often used as a catchall where one projects all negative personal
qualities. And as in previous instances, it is a sentiment that not only existed after
the war, it continues to this day. Rolf Winter went so far as to change roles in
history: the Nazis were simply a copy of the Americans who killed the entire
native population of America.
50 Detlef Hartmann, on the other hand, tried to
prove the US had simply overtaken the Nazis plans for world domination. He
insisted there was no difference anymore between the US and the Nazi-regime;
a fairly popular theory in the seventies.
51 A similar lie, originating in the DDR but
well received in Western Germany too, suggested that during secret talks at the
end of the war, the Germans explained to the Americans how to carry on the
project of world domination.
Once again, here is a sentiment based on myths and lies from the past, still used
to feed cynicism and discredit all kinds of different American actions or even
American society in general. Just as Zvi Rex stated the Germans will never
forgive the Jews Auschwitz , they will probably never forgive America for
reminding them of their past and actually saving them twice.

Ibid., p.127
Ibid., p.129
Ibid., p.143
Ibid., p.145
Karl W. Deutsch, European Anti-Americanism (and Anti-Semitism), p.23Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 20
France after the war: we did not need you anyway
In 1945 it was naturally the communist party on the front line against America. It
denounced American occupation of France and warned that a war with the
Soviets was possible. The Marshall Plan did not receive a very warm welcome:
only implemented to further the economic interests of Americans, as they sought
to enslave la Grande Nation. It was not only economic servitude but culture
enslavement as well: in 1946, Etienne Gilson explained in Le Monde how
Hollywood was a powerful instrument of imbecility.
In general, the French did not quite notice what America had done for them.
When asked in 1944 who had contributed most to the German defeat, 61%
replied the Soviets and only 29% thought the Americans had done more. In
1955, the most influential social philosopher of the day, Sartre, declared that the
French destiny had not been decided in Normandy, but at the border with the
53 While this is true to a certain extent, one should not forget that, the
allies liberated Paris in their race to Berlin to halt the Russians. Neglecting
American sacrifice in such a way illustrates much about present day thinking in
France. It is obvious that the negative feelings in France were not as significant
as those in Germany, but they existed. Furthermore, France has volumes of
additional anti-American history to fall back on.
Vietnam: America’s loss of credibility
The dirty Vietnam War was exactly what anti-Americans sought: proof of
American evil. In Germany, this led – with help from the 68ers – to a blending of
the Americans with the Nazis. The intellectual elite, and others, saw an excellent
opportunity to make up for their crimes 20 years prior. The most obvious antiAmericanism came from the left. Hans Magnus Enzensberger, member of the
Gruppe 47 (Günter Grass – a German icon and Nobel prize winner who stated

53 François Ryssen, Généalogie de l antiaméricanisme français,
( in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 21
he was ashamed that his country was an ally of the US54 was the most
prominent member), saw a Germany of the 30’s in the United States of the
1960’s and to prove his point, he resigned from his guest lecturer position at the
university of Wesleyan to flee to Cuba. While he was in the air, the peace
protestors on German soil were yelling USA SA SS 55
, acknowledging the
change of evils: Hitler was forgotten and his successor was evil imperialism with
the United States as its main actor.
France did not have to deal with a past such as Germany’s, actually it did not
have a burden (like the Germans) to deal with at all at least in the 1960’s. The
resentment over the loss of old glory will be resurrected after the end of the Cold
War. During the 1968-period, the French anti-war movement very quickly came
to be dominated by socialists. It comes as no surprise that capitalism was their
number one evil with the United States the incarnation and leader of it.
America’s image as the evil imperialistic empire – and Vietnam proof of its
inhumanity – may have had different roots in those two countries, but they both
arrived at the same conclusion and both equally influenced by it. An American
defeat was not an everyday occurrence and to this day (recent examples being
Afghanistan and Iraq) no leftist journalist can resist references to a new
Vietnam at some point.
The defeat of communism and the sole superpower
While there has never been an era in which the European elite viewed the United
States without resentment
, it has to be admitted that during the Cold War
European hostility toward America was at a historic low. Perhaps because at
least some understood that you should not bite the hand protecting you. But after
the fall of the Soviet Empire there was no need for moderation, as the US

The philosophical origins of European anti-Americanism, p.2
Gerd Langguth, Habermas, die deutschen Intellektuellen und der Antiamerikanismus in
Deutschland, (
Andrei S. Markovits, European Anti-Americanism: Ever Present Though Always Denied, p.6Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 22
remained sole superpower or as Védrine put it, a hyperpower . It is intriguing
that in 1988 while Ronald Reagan was President, 54% of the French had
sympathy for America, whereas in 1996 with Clinton as president (and you
cannot get away from the impression that today, Europeans would kill for the
return of President Clinton as illustrated by the run on his autobiography) only
35% were favorable to the United States.
The only thing that changed was the uniqueness of America. Anybody with
power is resented. This was and is especially true for France, still dreaming of
lost glory. It invented the word hyperpower and came up with the idea to
combat the nivellement abusif (caused by American globalization, of course!)
with a French version!
57 To the French, the problem is not globalization, but its
origin, motivated by envy of America s influence throughout the world to this day.
The French still feel invaded by American culture and lifestyle though this fear
receded as a result of political necessity in the later half of the 20
century. All
the fears of modernity and change have come back again just as intense as they
were before.

Jean-François Revel, L’obsession anti-américaine, p. 91Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 23
Part II: anti-Americanism today
Having briefly summarized anti-Americanism throughout more than two centuries
of European history, it is interesting to observe its appearance today. The
patterns remain similar to those witnessed in the past. Even an event such as
9/11 creates only superficial sympathy for the United States, while masking an
often deeply rooted sense of twisted gratification.
The Michael Moore phenomena
First, we have to get one thing straight: Americans can be anti-American, just as
Jews can be anti-Semite and Blacks can hate blacks. The reason why I mention
this is because many followers of Michael Moore stress he can’t be antiAmerican because of his nationality. Moore himself is probably not a classical
European anti-American, but he fuels those in Europe who are.
The Süddeutsche Zeitung, definitely not among the few relatively pro-American
newspapers in Germany, called Moore the cart horse of anti-Americanism 58
His huge success – he toured through Europe last winter filling theaters of
considerable size and had three books that topped the German book charts in
2003 (Stupid White Men at number 1, Dude, Where Is My Country at number 3,
published only seven weeks before the end of 2003, and Downsize This! at
number 9. All three were translated editions)
– is mainly explained by the fact
he is American and feeds the public with classical stereotypes of America and
As he himself states in the introduction to the German edition of Dude, Where Is
My Country?, many Europeans think of him as the only reasonable American .
So the anti-American public in Europe can easily hide behind his nationality and

Sueddeutsche, Adrian Kreye, Zugpferd des Antiamerikanismus,
59 in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 24
feel freed of any charges of what Paul Johnson called racist envy
. On tour,
he was quick to simply tell crowds what they wanted to hear. In a blistering attack
on the American people from an open letter to his friends in Germany
(to serve
as the introduction to the German translation of Dude, Where Is My Country and
printed in Die Zeit before publication of the book) he repeats the same old song:
Americans can’t find Germany on the map (but King Moore (Henryk M. Broder)
comes up with the idea to add Finland to Scandinavia…), they are naive human
beings with no knowledge about the rest of the world, but he reassures us that
not all Americans are crazy a classical attempt to inoculate allegations of antiAmericanism: Look, there are normal ones out there! Since an American said it,
it’s proof, Americans are stupid. People buy it: there were no letters of outrage to
Die Zeit, nothing.
A closer look reveals why this could be: it contains every important feature of
anti-Americanism from both today and yesterday. At the very beginning the
author states what Germans (and even more the French) want to hear, that
they’re sticking up against the sole superpower and they do not obey her
tells them how appreciated the resistance is (curiously the same word
Europeans are using to describe terrorists beheading innocent civilians in Iraq…).
Germans, still traumatized by the Second World War, take this as an oh we’re
on the right side of history for once , just like in Vietnam. The French get the
impression they still matter and can revive their days of glory.
Then Moore falls even deeper into what may be considered anti-Bushism, but in
his case isn’t, because he’s done the same thing with Clinton (remember the
Bowling for Columbine-interview with Marilyn Manson?). He is insinuating an
American conspiracy theory. Of course, he doesn’t forget the famous Blood for

Paul Johnson, Anti-Americanism Is Racist Envy,
Die Zeit, Michael Moore, »Nicht ganz Amerika ist verrückt«,
Ibid.Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 25
Oil reference. Untergang 63
, he predicts America s downfall, satisfying
Europeans who are not comfortable with the new status of America since the
Cold War. The average American citizen, according to Moore, has no knowledge
of anything outside the US: they are ignorant
. On top of that they only speak
English (doh!) and don’t have passports.
65 Such images of the American with no
culture remind us of the 19th century stereotypes! He asks the very question
Europeans are asking too: how can such an ignorant nation be leading the
world?66 He sees no reason, other than they have the biggest guns :
According to Moore the Soviet Empire collapsed because the system was not
working and East Germans walked to freedom by hammering against a wall
A regime change can’t occur through the use of force, only through non-violent
. He says these things while sitting in Berlin and the German people
let him get away with it! He also warns Europe of becoming America: It’s as if
you transform yourselves into us, in a nation that believes the rich ought to get
richer and all others have to kiss their asses. Oh, come on Germans, you know
69 By saying this, he touches upon different forms of anti-Americanism:
He implies that America is a thing not to emulate, but Europe is doing exactly
this. He hits on something already hit upon by Nietzsche, Freud and Heidegger:
fear of modernity coming from America! He portrays America as the kingdom of
the rich, an image ever present throughout the history of anti-Americanism.
Finally he tells the Germans that they are morally better, which gives him
naturally some extra sympathy points: You read. Your media reports on what

Ibid.Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 26
happens on the other side of the Alps. You travel. You value education.
70 His
accusations against America and its citizens do not hold water. The United
States is more than 25 times larger than Germany, asking them to know the
history of Germany is like asking a German to know the history of say Zimbabwe
or Ethiopia. Some Americans may not know where Iraq is, but my personal,
although unscientific, experience shows that there are students in the 8th grade
in Geneva, Switzerland that do not know that Poland is in Europe (Europe as in
the continent, not the union). The dimension of the country is the reason why
Americans mostly only speak English (even though that’s not true: according to
the CIA World Fact Book a sizable minority speaks Spanish, including President
Bush himself. His Spanish may actually be better than his English).
Americans can travel for days in any direction and actually still be understood
without any difficulties. This could be a reason why they don’t have passports
and why they travel less abroad, why should they? The American media focus on
the United States is easily understood in this context and after all, the European
media does not report too much on Africa or Asia unless there is some disaster.
Michael Moore’s vision of Germany is a bit romantic as well: the main German
travel destination is Spain where all tourist locations speak German and offer
“Bratwürst mit Pommes”, the PISA-study showed that Germans rank below
Americans when it comes to the ability to read and understand text. He does not
only discredit America unjustly, but regards Germans perhaps a bit too highly in a
move to gain public sympathy. But after all, we all like compliments.
Again, not scientific but still revealing, is reading through the reader comments
on or .fr about the translation of his newest book, Dude, Where Is My
Country?. While everybody in the United States knows that he is just a liberal
response to Ann Coulter, Europeans believe him to be a messenger of divine
truth. According to the Amazon-users he informs only , he is the Voltaire of
America , nobody explains America better then he , he delivers all the answers
to hanky-panky of the US-government and finally Michael Moore writes, as an

Ibid.Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 27
American, the truth about this country .
The media are almost just as unbalanced (although Fahrenheit 9/11 got its share
of bad reviews, but they did not prevent the movie from being much more
successful then Bowling for Columbine): Le Monde calls Moore an avenger
and a clown who tells the truth 72
. The Guardian takes the extra step and calls
Michael Moore’s film The beginning of history
. Le Matin says he decrypts the
mechanisms of power and reveals the manipulations.
74 According to Die Welt
he is a unique American phenomena 75
(thus implying he’s the only American
criticizing Bush and American society in general). He’s an American and he
knows the truth, who better to give the European people a better picture of the
United States? In America, he’s making the case against Republicans (at least
since Stupid White Men) and the rich, in Europe he’s making, or being used to
make the case against the whole country.
Nothing illustrates this better than the translation of Stupid White Men in France:
Mike contre-attaque ! Bienvenue aux Etats Stupides d’Amérique (Mike fights
back! Welcome to the Stupid States of America). A few stupid white men become
the whole United States and Michael Moore remains the only one who opposes
it. And it sells! A reason why Moore is seen as the harbinger of truth is that
there’s no counterweight to this propaganda. In America, in addition to Ann
Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, there are films being made about Moore’s methods
and lies: Michael Moore Hates America, FahrenHYPE 9/11, Celsius 41.11. And
there’s David T. Hardy and Jason Clarke’s Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid
White Man which sells almost as well as Moore’s books. In Europe, nobody even
thinks about translating or heaven forbid distributing these books. Maybe

Le Monde, July 7th, 2004
Ibid., May 25th, 2004
John Berger, The beginning of history,
Rafael Wolf, Michael Moore fait trembler George Bush,
Mike Davis, Die Feldzüge des Proleten, ( in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 28
because there simply is no demand, historically there never really has been any
There’s no anti-Michael Moore, he’s in a position without enemies in Europe, he’s
the Mother Theresa of anti-Americanism providing them the vitriol they need.
Then the media surfs the waves of public opinion. On the eve of the 2004
election, German ProSieben aired Moore s Fahrenheit 9/11, praising it for the
power of the facts presented . In reality, the facts confirm that Moore’s are rather
weak. In a commentary presented on the German state television ZDF we find
again the ignorant American: the only way of telling the American people
something is to entertain them and the Americans have degenerated to taking
out the credit cards from their wallets
. Degenerated? Buffon must be smiling…
It’s almost unbelievable how the Germans listen to Moore. It just proves the lust
for anti-American information , but better described as propaganda. After all,
Moore dedicates a whole chapter in Downsize This! to a rant about the Germans
who supposedly haven’t paid enough for the Holocaust and states that all the
Germans of a World War II-age who moved to Florida are simply Ex-Nazis
This ought to upset the Germans, just witness how disgusted they were about
Rumsfeld calling them Old Europe (they are getting older by the way…), but it
does not. This could be due to the German editor s brilliant job editing out the
chapter in the translation. I just can t help but wonder about the what if they
knew… scenario.
The ghost of Vietnam and other disasters
Within the German media there is one recurring way to describe the two recent
wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Few newspapers or commentators have avoided it.
Le Monde started it off by dedicating the front page of its sélection hébdomadaire
to a Soviet veteran who said that Afghanistan will be ten times worse than

Frank Baloch, Lachen und Weinen um Amerika,
Michael Moore, Downsize this!, chapter »Germany still hasn’t paid for its sins and I intend to
collect«Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 29
Cover of German
weekly Der Spiegel
Vietnam and that it was a fortress impossible to take 78
. Günther Grass
predicted a second Vietnam 79
. Germany’s most respected weekly Der Spiegel
followed suit by running a cover story about one month after the beginning of the
Afghanistan war: Falle Afghanistan: Amerikas heilloser
Bombenkrieg und das Gespenst Vietnam (Trap
Afghanistan: America’s incurable bombing war and the
ghost of Vietnam). To make the headline even more absurd,
this edition appeared on November 12th, 2001, the day the
Northern Alliance took Kabul and men publicly shaved off
their beards after years of tyranny. Three years later, the
Afghans have a remarkably stable country and held
successful democratic presidential and parliamentary
elections. A task not all European countries can handle as we witnessed in
December 2004. All the horrible predictions of a Soviet-like disaster, gone with
the wind and with great help of the Northern Alliance the Americans managed in
about a month what neither the British nor the Russians managed to do in years
of bloody conflict: they took Afghanistan with a remarkably low number of
So the European media turned to Iraq. President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang
Thierse, was concerned about the millions of civilians who would become victims
of bombs and rockets (completely ignoring those dying under the sanctions
regime and the Hussein dictatorship).
80 But before the war even started, Peter
Scholl-Latour, the German expert on terrorism, wars and everything else USrelated, appeared on television to announce that the buildings of Baghdad will be
exactly the same as the jungles of Vietnam81
. Later he predicted an American

Le Monde, September 22nd, 2001
Henryk M. Broder, Kein Krieg Nirgends, p. 103
80, Die peinlichen Prognosen unserer Politiker, (
Markus Bodler (ext.), Karl-Heinz Kamp, Die Stunde der Phantasten, ( in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 30
Cover of German
weekly Stern
Stalingrad 82
, just before the Coalition Forces took Baghdad and the first
American tanks rolled into Saddam City greeted by Iraqi soldiers standing in their
underwear after having stripped off their arms and uniforms). Interestingly,
Saddam promised the same (his exact words were Stalingrad on the Tigris
on March 1st. What a coincidence! Only three months later the famous ghost of
Vietnam started manifesting once again: n-tv entitled a story about the possibility
of guerilla war in Iraq Das Vietnam-Trauma 84
implying that it could easily
become another Vietnam. In October, Der Spiegel brought its New Yorkcorrespondent Marc Pitzke into the game, he did not disappoint: Bush s
Vietnam 85
was the title of the story which predicted an endless war.
A month later Stern, the home of serious German journalism
(remember the bogus Hitler diaries?), published a cover story
asking if Iraq was the new Vietnam: Iraq – Das Neue
Vietnam? (Iraq – The new Vietnam?). A few days before, the
German state television network ARD hosted a debate asking
the same question: Irak – Amerikas neues Vietnam? 86
– America’s new Vietnam?). But the discussion was more
about Iraq’s future and how Americans could pass the power
to the Iraqi government without too much hassle. The other state sponsored TV
station, ZDF, didn’t have to ask, it affirmed: Amerikas zweites Vietnam 87
(America’s second Vietnam). Remarkably, the long before discredited Scholl-

Thomas Uwer and Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, Der Sturz Saddam Husseins,
Abendblatt, Thomas Frankenfeld und John Lumpkin, Mann gegen Mann in Bagdad?,
N-tv, Das Vietnam-Trauma, (
Spiegel Online, Marc Pitzke, Bushs Vietnam, (,1518,271610,00.html)
Das Erste, Irak – Amerikas neues Vietnam?,
Frontal21, Amerikas zweites Vietnam,
(,1872,2078590,00.html)Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 31
Another cover of
Der Spiegel
Latour reappeared in this show. Obviously viewers had already forgotten his
completely false predictions six months earlier and probably
believed him once again. It was a little bit more than a year
after the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom when Der
Spiegel reaffirmed its response, already given by Pitzke, to
this question by running the following cover story: Die Falle
Irak: Bush s Vietnam (The Trap Iraq: Bush’s Vietnam). The
similarity with their cover story from fall 2001 about
Enduring Freedom cannot be overlooked, it was yet
another pot shot with the hope of actually turning out to be
Let’s have a look at the facts to see how wrong these comparisons are. Although
the death toll of the first years of the Vietnam War and Iraq until now is
comparable, one should not forget that the US has almost ten times as many
troops in Iraq as they had at the beginning of the Vietnam War. Still, in Vietnam,
in the weeks of intense fighting, American Forces lost up to 500 soldiers a week,
in Iraq, when the Marines took Fallujah, the stronghold of the resistance , it took
them just over a week and they suffered surprisingly limited casualties for an
urban combat scenario. The quality of the US Army is no doubt far superior as
well, the enemy is entirely opposite, much weaker and poorly equipped. The
insurgents have basically no support, apart from Iran and Syria and perhaps a
few other regions, whereas the Vietcong were backed by the Russians and
Chinese. So when there is so little support for the Iraq-Vietnam connection, even
less for Afghanistan and Vietnam, why do the media keep insisting on it?
Vietnam was the biggest humiliation and defeat America has suffered in recent
history. As previously discussed, the superpower status of the United States is
not well received in Europe (just as in much the rest of the world). By conjuring
up a comparison of the current conflicts to Vietnam, the media recall a
humiliation experienced by America – a way to prove America is not invincible,
that she may struggle and to create doubt that it could happen again. ShowingAnti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 32
images of crying soldiers at the graves of their comrades may not be entirely
respectful, but it serves to convey an image and message that America is weak,
crying and may one day fall again. It is a desperate attempt to hide the fact that
America is in a position where she can do what she pleases whereas Europe
would like to return to such a position of global influence once again. America did
not fail in Afghanistan, but created a regional ally. So now the media are having a
shot at Iraq. But the blistering defeat of the rebels in Fallujah shows that Iraq
might just as well go the American way. A desert full of sand is after all NOT a
jungle full of Vietcong.
Nous sommes tous Américains?
No one can deny the wave of support and sympathy Europe and the World had
for the United States in the days following the devastating terrorist attacks of
September 11, 2001: people gathered in large numbers in front of American
embassies, American flags were displayed in public (not being burned for a
change) and even minutes of silence were recognized (in a part of the world
increasingly proud of its secular culture). But what kind of sympathy was this?
Were the media just as inclined toward America as the streets would have us
There is of course Jean-Marie Colombani’s famous editorial, appearing in Le
Monde on September 13th (and not 12th): Nous sommes tous Américains
(We are all Americans). Jacques Amalric in Libération was a little bit less
enthusiastic: We are all New Yorkers, for lack of being Americans.
Levalois declared that we feel a little bit like being New Yorkers today
90 even
before Colombani, on September 12th. Le Monde diplomatique got ironic in an
that accused America of having a foreign policy dictated by its very own

Le Monde, September 13th, 2001
Libération, September 14th, 2001
La Presse de la Manche, September 12th, 2001
Le Monde diplomatique, October edition, p. 32Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 33
interest in the edition following September 11th: All Americans, living in New
York and we all speak English. It was probably Spiegel Online that published the
first obvious negative commentary on the events: in Der Gigant ist verletzbar
no words were wasted about the horror of the attacks, but all attention given to
the way George W. Bush would react. No matter what measures President Bush
will take, the world will not become more peaceful
. Bush and America are not
even given a chance to respond, barely ten hours after the attacks. Even before
anybody in Washington indicated a form of response to the attacks, Harald
Schumann already stated that it would be no good anyway.
Negative views were present even the very first day in the online edition of a
leading German newspaper, which compels closer scrutiny of Colombani’s
column. While the headline is certainly a declaration of sympathy towards
America, there are elements that can be interpreted as though Colombani
wanted to hold America responsible for what had happened: America has
ceased to draw the peoples of the globe to it; or, more exactly, in certain parts of
the globe, it seems no longer to attract anything but hatred. This implies that the
US must have done something that angered and provoked the terrorists to hate it
so badly and commit these atrocities. In the following paragraph he falls for the
well known legend of the CIA training bin Laden and asks if America did not give
birth to this devil which would mean that she is responsible for what happened to
As for the facts, there were two separate groups united in the fight against the
Soviets; and the United States never gave money to the Arab Afghans for whom
bin Laden was fighting. Does this sound like pro-Americanism? A few months
later, in an open letter to our American friends Colombani compared America to
Saudi Arabia. Apparently because a few states refused to teach evolution, then
tells America that it cannot fight a battle with the Taliban without fighting against

Ibid.Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 34
the bigotry within94
. According to Fouad Ajami The United States had not
squandered Colombani’s sympathy; it never had that sympathy in the first place.
Le Monde kept insisting on the theory of America being responsible for the
attacks by letting people who shared these views comment in their articles,
mixing their voices with those of the writer, making the accusations appear
reasonable. Daniel, an artist , was quoted saying that we [Americans] were
asking for it
95 and the day before a front-page article appeared where Nadia
Yassine, spokeswoman for Morroco’s Isalmist Justice and Welfare party, and a
moderate Muslim, denounced the ‘boomerang effect’ of American domination.
The dead at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were only the ‘most
recent victims’ of American Power . Without having said anything themselves, the
articles mixed the author’s words and his subject’s words creating the
appearance of fact. Le Monde’s affiliated Le Monde diplomatique used the exact
same term boomerang effect as headline for a series of articles concerning
9/11 immediately after the tragedy.
Actually, the edition has a few more examples of the exact same thing. In the
front page article The enemy Ignacio Ramonet self-righteously declares that
America is not innocent , because she is far from being an angel, but he uses
this idea to pretend that all the violent, illegal action in South America, Africa,
Middle East and Asia is the cause of the attacks. He expresses his thoughts in
disguise as those of the countries of the South : What happens to them [the
Americans] is really sad, but they did not steal it meaning that they deserved it, a
sort of payback. Steven C. Clemons writes in the other front page article United
States, Excess of Power that without a doubt America’s triumphalism after the
end of the Cold War explains a lot .
On top of the pages concerning 9/11, we read Total war against a diffuse

Fouad Ajami, The Falseness of Anti-Americanism,
Le Monde, September 19th, 2001Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 35
danger . Wollt ihr den totalen Krieg 96 asked of an entirely different person on
February 11th, 1943 after his country suffered from heavy bombardments. We
see not only German political figures mixing up the present and the past, the
French did too – only a few weeks after September 11th. In Germany, there was
even a political party, the PDS (formed from what remained of the former
communist party of East Germany, or SED), that distributed a flyer simply saying
that Such things come from such things
A fair amount of intellectuals were almost cheering with joy: for composer
Karlheinz Stockhausen, the attacks on the WTC were the biggest work of art
that the cosmos has ever seen 98
. On November 3rd, 2001 Jean Baudrillard
finally expressed his joy over the attacks: How we have dreamt of this event,
how all the world without exception dreamt of this event, for no one can avoid
dreaming of the destruction of a power that has become hegemonic.
99 As far as
I am concerned, I did not dream of it, Monsieur Baudrillard. This is fairly typical of
the anti-American rhetoric after the fall of the Berlin wall: the wish of the
destruction of the hyperpower America. Baudrillard s dream was definitely not
singular, but he made this dream even more cynical than it already was.
It was the end of Europe’s brief moment of sympathy, at least the huge waves of
support. It quickly became clear that America would respond to the attacks
militarily. On October 16th, barely one month after the Al Qaida attacks, people
across Europe gathered to protest the American intervention in Afghanistan100
Berlin counted between 20,000 and 30,000 protestors; Stuttgart around 15,000;
between 20,000 and 50,000 in London; in Glasgow around 2,000; in Italy about
30,000 demonstrated on Sunday at an annual peace march; and, last but not

Ibid., nirgends, p. 200
Ibid., nirgends, p. 184
Fouad Ajami, The Falseness of Anti-Americanism,
Anti-war demonstrations in Europe, ( in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 36
least, 5,000 in Berne.
In Germany the pacifist groups had trouble keeping away neo-fascist groups,
which illustrated the common thread of anti-Americanism historically shared by
the far left and the far right. One may interject that these people are
demonstrating for peace and not against the United States. But then again, were
there any peace-marches against the behavior of Russia in Chechnya or of the
French massacres in the Ivory Coast? The comments made by the speakers and
those in attendance were even more revealing: They deplored the bombing of
one of the world s poorest and most backward countries
, but apparently
forgot that the Americans at that time were targeting one of the world s most
brutal regimes and that their main goal was not bombing innocent civilians.
Still, the worries about the population may be justified and cannot be classified as
anti-Americanism (although the painful question of where the demonstrators
were during the Taliban regime remains). A volunteer for Friends of the Earth
said that by responding militarily to the attacks, Americans are turning
themselves into terrorists
, and in reality America is more of a dictatorship
than any other country . While the first part fits perfectly with the reflex of
equaling America to evil (like Hitler or in this case the Taliban), the second joins
Heine’s image of a freedom prison 103
. A student at Bristol University knew that
it is all for political and economic gain.
104 Lenau’s image of money as
America s only god is very well represented here. Satnam and Ishmael from
Bradford said They are not after bin Laden, they are after something more,
something bigger, maybe oil.
105 What else could it be? It’s the Americans after
all! That there really is not much of it to speak of in Afghanistan, remains just a

See chapter »Freedom, money and America«
Anti-war demonstrations in Europe, (
Ibid.Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 37
fact. It was during this period that European public support for America totally
evaporated. Sympathy for America was present, but only when America was a
victim. As soon as it decided to defend itself it became the imperialistic America
ruled by the dollar once again.
The quest for European identity
As already discussed and reaffirmed, Europe – France and Germany in particular
– are not very comfortable with America’s superpower position and in order to
change the situation, they are trying to position the EU as a counter power to
America. The outrage of Chirac s comment to new EU members and those who
wish to become members, after they took a rather pro-American position on the
Iraq question, stating they had missed an excellent opportunity to shut up 106
an excellent example of the contempt behind the effort to define Europe as not
being America. This reinforces a sentiment present in the history of Europe’s
superiority, of Europe not wanting to become America.
Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida published a manifesto for a CoreEurope 108
. In the demonstrations against the intervention in Iraq on February
15th, 2003, they saw a signal for the birth of a European public .
109 First of all,
these demonstrations were a global, not a unique European phenomena, so it is
rather naive to imply the creation of a new European identity from this single
event. But defining it in terms of a demonstration against American policies is
further proof of Europe’s defining itself as not being America. Furthermore, they
ask for a European policy to oppose the hegemonic unilateralism of the United
, but knowing that Europe has no such single foreign policy, he

ZDFheute, Wirbel um Chiracs Schimpftriade,,1367,POL-0-2034395,00.html
See chapter »We do not want to be like you!«
FAZ, May 31st, 2003, Nach dem Krieg: Die Wiedergeburt Europas, Habermas und Derrida
Ibid.Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 38
degrades new members to invitees
111and calls for a Core-Europe 112
consisting of France and Germany, the two countries who knew before the
search for WMD in Iraq ended how they would vote in the Security Council

against the Americans. At present this is the core vision of those seeking a new
United Europe, motivated by an intrinsic anti-Americanism, serving as its most
defining feature.

Gerd Langguth, Habermas, die deutschen Intellektuellen und der Antiamerikanismus in
Deutschland, ( in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 39
Conclusion: The song remains the same
Here we are concluding an analysis that is far from exhaustive. This work has at
least shown the absurdity of anti-Americanism in Europe and how it operates,
almost as a reflex. It is important to note that it is not the bad food at McDonald’s,
the high prices of Nikes or the cowboys Bush and Reagan that are the cause of
this resentment. It has always been there in one form or another since the very
discovery of America and will probably perpetuate, especially now. One may
get the feeling that anti-Americanism has become more potent since 9/11. While
this is essentially correct, it has much to do with the fall of the Soviet empire, the
disappearance of the enemy from whom America protected Europe. There is no
perceived need for America anymore and all the old feelings are slowly coming
back, probably stronger than ever. 9/11 was just yet another breaking point.
But are we all anti-Americans in Europe? Anti-Americanism seems to be, at least
for now, a plague affecting Western Europe, as the countries who have risen
from communism are much friendlier to America. For instance, during Bush’s visit
in Europe in 2002, we witnessed enthusiastic pro-American crowds in Budapest,
but angry anti-American mobs in Berlin. So there is still hope, but it is uncertain if
those countries will not fall into the same reflexes as Germany and France
following the Second World War or if they will not go down the German-French
anti-American road.
But are all Europeans anti-Americans? Certainly not! There is a big rift between
the intellectuals and the media on one side, the European people on the other.
After all, apart from having to replace its windows from time to time, McDonald’s
is doing very well, Nike is doing well too and Hollywood movies are still not giving
much of a chance to European cinema. The American people have come to
experience for themselves, they generally like or at least do not hate. But their
knowledge about American society, politics and – most importantly – its people,
they get from intellectuals and the media (and a few anti-American Americans).
Thus they follow the loud European anti-American bandwagon – for lack of
exposure to more balanced, direct and unbiased views. In places where theyAnti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 40
have no first hand experience, the public simply adopts the opinion of the
intellectual elite and believe themselves to be on the right track. It is as if antiAmericanism is an elitist and media sport with much of the public cheering,
because they have no opinion or have no chance of forming their own.
Therefore, when Michael Moore says that the Americans are fat and dumb, why
not believe him? Much of the public doesn t know who Americans really are, on
the other hand Moore is American, fat and… you know.Anti-Americanism in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 41
Author Grzegorz Bronislaw
Personal conclusion
As I started doing the research for this work I was very
aware of anti- Americanism today, but I had almost no
idea why it was so prevalent nor did I know that it was
so deeply rooted, having persisted since the very
founding of America. The search for anti-Americanism
in history was very necessary for the second part of
the work, but it was illuminating at the same time. I
have learned where all the negative prejudices about
Americans and America come from and while it is a bit
shocking if not disturbing, it helps to illuminate European resentments against the
United States. As for anti-Americanism today, the research uncovered – at least a
little bit and at least for me – the methodology used by the press and other media
to spread and maintain these perceptions largely rooted in the views of European
philosophers. Both this research as well as 9/11 compelled me to contemplate
the rift between intellectual elites and the people . There certainly seems to be
something to this, but to analyze this issue in depth will take another travail de
maturité… At first I thought that nobody had ever looked into this subject, but the
more I researched, the more opinions, books and articles appeared. I was
completely amazed by the amount of documentation I was able to find on a topic
that is not much present in the media and in the people’s minds here in Europe
(not that anti-Americanism is not present in the media, because it is, but it is
mostly shown as justifiable critiques of America). All in all, during the course of
this research work, I not only grew older, but grew wiser too and no antiAmerican comment will pass me by. Bring it on Europe!
Grzegorz Bronislaw Grabinski originates from Warsaw Poland, currently a
student attending boarding school in Switzerland. More information about this
author is available on his homepage at in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 42
Russell A. Berman, Anti-Americanism in Europe
James W. Ceaser, A genealogy of anti-Americanism
David Ellwood, Anti-Americanism: Why Do Europeans Resent Us?
Andrei S. Markovits, European Anti-Americanism (and Anti-Semitism)
André Glucksmann, Ouest contre Ouest
Jean-François Revel, L’obsession anti-américaine
Philippe Roger, L’ennemi américain, Généalogie de l’antiaméricanisme français
François Ryssen, Généalogie de l’antiaméricanisme français
Ted Stanger, Sacré Français: Un Américain nous observe
Henryk M. Broder, Kein Krieg, nirgends
Dan Diener, Feindbild Amerika
Gerd Langguth, Habermas, die deutschen Intellektuellen und der Antiamerikanismus in
( in Europe
GOPEurope e. V. 43
Your moment of Zen: the acknowledgments
I would like to thank God for letting me live as an atheist.
I would like to thank Allah for letting me live as a kafir.
I would like to thank all the other divinities for letting me live.
I would like to thank Europe for being anti-American. This would not have been
possible without you, I will love you til death do us part!
I would like to thank my parents for putting me into this world and not getting rid
of me until to this very day (It must be love!).
I would like to thank Daphné for standing by me.
I would like to thank Fred and Noé for being the two most original fools I have
ever met.
I would like to thank all the people who have their own opinions on antiAmericanism. You brought me a few additional sleepless nights. You are lovely!
I would like to thank Queen, Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses and AC/DC. These
men are Gods!
Last but not least, I would like to thank Christian Broye for dealing with all my
irony, distasteful jokes and many other things.This document was created with Win2PDF available at
The unregistered version of Win2PDF is for evaluation or non-commercial use only.