Representation without Emulation: German Cultural Diplomacy in Search of Integration and Self-Assurance during the Adenauer Era

in German Politics and Society

The article investigates an essential characteristic of the Federal Republic of Germany's search for self-assurance in foreign cultural representations after World War II. A normative behavioral pattern, described here as an “attitude of restraint,” emerged during the Adenauer era, resulting in representations without emulation. The article focuses on German participation in world fairs-an example that reveals the multi-layered mechanisms linking diplomacy with culture, political attitudes with individual experiences and memories, and foreign relations with social conditions. The formation of an attitude of restraint constituted part of the long-term process of West German self-education and shaped cultural identities in the Federal Republic. The self-assurance re-found during the Adenauer era is placed in the context of political debates about the break with the Nazi past, defense against communist East Germany, and the selective turn toward an international modernity. Furthermore, the article offers an explanation regarding the diffusion of certain behavioral norms through everyday experience and practice.