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 good. 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 Americans. 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 Germany." 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 Germany. 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 characteristics."
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