Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Becoming a State-in-the-World: Lessons Learned from the American Occupation of Germany

  • Grant Madsen (a1)

For students of American Political Development, the emergence of globalization and Americanization as themes of inquiry has spurred a growing interest in explaining America's rise as “a legal-economic and geopolitical hegemon.” An important episode in this rise came during the American occupation of Germany after World War II. In postwar Germany, America's military government realized that the American public remained unwilling to support (over the long term) the global projection of what Michael Mann has called “despotic power.” To achieve its fundamental goal of reorienting Germany toward a peaceful coexistence with the Unites States, military government turned instead to what Mann has called “infrastructural power” (power projected “through” society by state institutions). In pivoting from despotic to infrastructural power, three important consequences followed for the occupation. (1) Because it relied on the development of new infrastructures within a new German state, the occupation saw institutional “genesis” in which the Germans themselves influenced the pathway and timing of military government policy. (2) In creating new state institutions, military government performed “policy bricolage,” creatively reconstructing institutions “from” the ruins of war-torn Europe (as opposed to “on” its ruins). (3) Financial policy took a central place in military government's focus because it allowed for “increasing returns” in advancing military government's interests. Collectively, military government's experience provided lessons for an American state in the world.

Corresponding author
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

T. O. Smith , “Europe, Americanization and Globalization,” European History Quarterly 37, no. 2 (2007): 302

Elizabeth Borgwardt , A New Deal for the World: America's Vision for Human Rights (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2005)

Volker R. Berghahn , “The Debate on ‘Americanization’ Among Economic and Cultural Historians,” Cold War History 10, no. 1 (2010)

Sophie Meunier , “Globalization, Americanization and Sarkozy's France,” European Political Science 9, no. 2 (2010): 214

Marie-Laure Djelic and Sigrid Quack , “Overcoming Path Dependency: Path Generation in Open Systems,” Theory & Society 36, no. 2 (2007): 161–86

Ted Baker and Reed E. Nelson , “Creating Something from Nothing,” Administrative Science Quarterly 50, no. 3 (2005): 329–30

Ted Baker , “Improvising Firms: Bricolage, Account Giving and Improvisational Competencies in the Founding Process,” Research Policy 32, no. 2 (February 2003)

Ted Baker , “Resources in Play: Bricolage in the Toy Store(y),” Journal of Business Venturing 22, no. 5 (September 2007)

Raghu Garud , “Bricolage Versus Breakthrough: Distributed and Embedded Agency in Technology Entrepreneurship,” Research Policy 32, no. 2 (February 2003)

Raghu Garud , “Path Dependence or Path Creation?The Journal of Management Studies 47, no. 4 (June 2010)

David Stark , “Recombinant Property in East European Capitalism,” The American Journal of Sociology 101, no. 4 (1996): 995

Barbara Marshall , “German Attitudes to British Military Government 1945–47,” Journal of Contemporary History 15, no. 4 (1980)

Wolfgang Krieger , “Was General Clay a Revisionist? Strategic Aspects of the United States Occupation of Germany,” Journal of Contemporary History 18, no. 2 (1983)

Marie-Laure Djelic , Exporting the American Model: the Post-war Transformation of European Business (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 163

Michael J. Hogan , “Corporatism,” The Journal of American History 77, no. 1 (1990)

E. M. H. Lloyd , “Price Control and Control of Inflation,” The Review of Economics and Statistics 27, no. 4 (1945): 149

Charles P. Kindleberger and F. Taylor Ostrander . “The 1948 Monetary Reform in Western Germany,” International Financial History in the Twentieth Century, ed. Marc Flandreau , Carl-Ludwig Holtfrerich , and Harold James (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Studies in American Political Development
  • ISSN: 0898-588X
  • EISSN: 1469-8692
  • URL: /core/journals/studies-in-american-political-development
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 5 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 87 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd March 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.