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.
A peer-reviewed journal, it is the only American publication that explores issues in modern Germany from the combined perspectives of the social sciences, history, and cultural studies. It provides a forum for critical analysis and debate about politics, history, film, literature, visual arts, and popular culture in contemporary Germany. Every issue also includes contributions by renowned scholars commenting on recent books about Germany.