Civilizing the Enemy

German Reconstruction and the Invention of the West
Patrick Thaddeus Jackson
The origins of modern civilizational discourse


For the past century, politicians have claimed that "Western Civilization" epitomizes democratic values and international stability. But who is a member of "Western Civilization"? Germany, for example, was a sworn enemy of the United States and much of Western Europe in the first part of the twentieth century, but emerged as a staunch Western ally after World War II.

By examining German reconstruction under the Marshall Plan, author Patrick Jackson shows how the rhetorical invention of a West that included Germany was critical to the emergence of the postwar world order. Civilizing the Enemy convincingly describes how concepts are strategically shaped and given weight in modern international relations, by expertly dissecting the history of "the West" and demonstrating its puzzling persistence in the face of contradictory realities.

Patrick Thaddeus Jackson is Associate Professor of International Relations in American University's School of International Service.

Praise / Awards

  • "By revisiting the early Cold War by means of some carefully conducted intellectual history, Patrick Jackson expertly dissects the post-1945 meanings of “the West” for Europe’s emergent political imaginary. West German reconstruction, the foundation of NATO, and the idealizing of 'Western civilization' all appear in fascinating new light."
    —Geoff Eley, University of Michigan
  • "In this important book, Patrick Jackson makes a major contribution to constructivist International Relations' theory as well as offer an original and lucid re-interpretation of (West) Germany's stunning transformation from America's enemy to its ally after World War II."
    —Ido Oren, University of Florida
  • "What sets Patrick Jackson’s book apart is his attention, on the one hand, to philosophical issues behind the kinds of theoretical claims he makes and, on the other hand, to the methodological implications that follow from those claims. Few scholars are willing and able to do both, and even fewer are as successful as he is in carrying it off. Patrick Jackson is a systematic thinker in a field where theory is all the rage but systematic thinking is in short supply."
    —Nicholas Onuf, Florida International University
  • "Western civilization is not given but politically made. In this theoretically sophisticated and politically nuanced book Patrick Jackson argues that Germany's reintegration into a Western community of nations was greatly facilitated by civilizational discourse. It established a compelling political logic that guided the victorious Allies in their occupation policy. This book is very topical as it engages critically very different, and less successful, contemporary theoretical constructions and political deployments of civilizational discourse."
    —Peter J. Katzenstein, Cornell University
  • "Jackson's book likewise brilliantly illuminates 'wie es eigentlick gekommen ist,' how it actually came about, to reconstruct a classic historian's phrase, casting new light on how policy is made and how it becomes institutionalized and hence history. A tour de force on both fronts, it is compelling reading for both the student of (German) history and politics or 'Western Civ' and the student of the sociology of knowledge."
    German Studies Review

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Copyright © 2006, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 304pp.
  • 4 drawings.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2006
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06929-3

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  • $36.95 U.S.

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