Looking at the German Fascination with Cowboys and Indians During Socialism

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

The New Yorker has run a few interesting pieces in the culture section of its website on the German obsession for the American-West and the latest posting had a very interesting look at how it grew under socialism in the old East Germany.  Anna Altman, the writer of the latest piece “Socialist Cowboys”, wrote in response to last weeks article “Wild West Germany” which focused on the books by Karl May that many believe to be the source of this now famous fascination.  Altman, who lived in Berlin for a number of years, decided to investigate this obsession from the years in which Germany was divided into the East and West.  Her reasoning is that while living in Germany she “learned how German cultural obsessions had a tendency to take on surprising forms in East Germany,” and some of her points were very interesting.

“Socialist Cowboys” touches on the decades long ban on Karl May’s books, the secret police acting as moles during yearly cowboys and indians “reenactments”, the hidden symbolisms, and the newer trend of a fascination with the American Civil War.  The article is a very interesting read so I recommend clicking the source link to read the full story.  I’d also be interested in hearing from our German readers to get their take, so please use the comments to let us know.


Source: The New Yorker

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Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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