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The road to BrexitA cultural perspective on British attitudes to Europe$
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Ina Habermann

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526145086

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526145093

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‘Extr’ord’nary people, the Germans’: Germans as aliens in post-war British popular culture

‘Extr’ord’nary people, the Germans’: Germans as aliens in post-war British popular culture

(p.107) 5 ‘Extr’ord’nary people, the Germans’: Germans as aliens in post-war British popular culture
The road to Brexit

Judith Vonberg

Manchester University Press

This chapter is concerned with post-war British perceptions of Germany. It is argued that by continuing to locate Germanness as the alien Other to Britishness in the post-war period, Britons could hold on to a secure sense of British identity and unity forged in wartime. Many post-war British novels, films and comic strips depicted Germans as alien to all humanity. While the 1960 film Sink the Bismarck! epitomises this tradition, the 1957 box-office hit The One That Got Away, starring the German actor Hardy Krüger and based on the true story of the prisoner of war Franz von Werra, challenged the stereotype. The fact that the dashing and good-looking Krüger exhibited character traits considered typical of British heroes, such as daring, wit and resourcefulness, led to uneasy and ambivalent responses in audiences and critics. Twelve years after the war, the humanness of Germans could still only be acknowledged in British popular culture as an anomaly.

Keywords:   Germany, Nazism, British popular culture, Film, Sink the Bismarck!, The One That Got Away, Hardy Krüger

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