A Democratic Germany Thanks to the films in the Selling Democracy series, the Goethe-Institut has a welcome opportunity to think back on the beginnings of modern democracy in Germany and on the rebuilding of Europe. Sixty years ago, World War II had just ended and the Nazi regime and its dictator, Hitler, known for their scorn for humanity and human rights, had been removed from power. Germany was simultaneously conquered and freed. The films produced by the U.S. Military Government in Germany and the Marshall Plan Motion Picture Section show the destitution and hunger of Europe during the period after the War. And they create visions and inspire hopes: a democratic Germany as part of a peaceful Europe without borders or trade barriers.

The Goethe-Institut, the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany, fosters international cultural cooperation and mutual understanding around the world by promoting a dialogue between German culture and the rest of the world. In a two-year program, the Goethe-Institut locations in the United States are examining the changing relationship between the U.S. and Europe: Trans><Atlantic: Common Concerns - Different Views focuses on several subthemes, tackling various issues from both American and European viewpoints, such as media reflections, art in public space, globalization, attitudes toward the environment, unilateralism vs. multilateralism, anti-Americanism and anti-Europeanism.

The films and events that are part of the series Selling Democracy fit extraordinarily well into this dialogue, as they are not only a historical memory. Human rights, freedom from unjust regimes, democratization and self-determination are still visions, and the political strategies necessary to realize these dreams dominate political discussions today – including in the dialogue between the US and Europe.

Heribert Uschtrin, Director - Goethe-Institut Washington