Foreign Affairs
Germany-US Relations: Why is the United States in Germany

In the United States, German immigrants form the largest ethnic group in Germany. In the early 1600s, Germans settled in the US and established their own communities in 1683 as Germantown near Philadelphia.

Germans came to the US for a variety of reasons, including economic hardship. About 1 million Germans immigrated to America following the German Revolution of 1940.

World War I

At the start of World War I, the US declared its Impartiality but soon changed its position after Germany began unlimited submarine warfare. During this phase of the war, various American and European vessels were sunk, taking a thousand passengers, including 100 Americans, among the Lussonia.

The US officially entered the conflict against Germany in a war that ended in 1919 with Germany’s defeat and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

Jewish persecution

The violence resurfaced as Hitler began to target the Jewish population during the Holocaust. The Treaty of Compromise between the United States and Germany was finally revoked and the  US ambassador signed the agreement in 1938. However, some critics say that, due to the isolationist tendencies of American politics, the US did not do enough to prevent the rise of Hitler and the persecution of the Jews.

World War II

As World War II began, the US took an initial neutral position. In the early stages of the war, the United States built a commercial empire against all belligerent nations and this isolationist position led to the real change of the fall of France and the fall of Britain, when the United Nations began to supply arms to the enemy – the German side.

Tensions began to rise when the United Nations began sending munitions to protect arms supplies, which were eventually being attacked by German submarines. After Pearl Harbor, the United States officially ended the surrender of Germany in 1945.

Divide Germany

At the end of World War II, Germany was occupied by France, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. Eventually, the Soviets supported the East German Democratic Republic and the American and Western Allies supported the West Federal Republic of Germany, both established in 1994.

A phoney war between the two superpowers made reality worse in Germany.  US Aid to West Germany was characterized by the Marshall Plan, which helped rebuild Germany’s infrastructure and Economy and provided an incentive for West Germany to remain in the Soviet Union’s bloc with other European countries.

Divide Berlin

The city of Berlin (in the eastern part of Germany) was also divided between the Eastern and Western powers. The Berlin Wall became a physical symbol of the Cold War and the Iron Curtain.


The competition between the two German halves continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1988.

Resurgent Germany re-established its capital in Berlin.

Current relationship

The Marshall Plan and the US military presence in Germany left a legacy of political, economic, and military cooperation between the two nations. Although the two countries have had recent disagreements over foreign policy, particularly over the US-led invasion of Iraq, the relationship has generally remained intact.

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