The rapid economic development and prosperity of post-war Germany has always been associated with the European Recovery Program (ERP) of George C. Marshall (1880–1959). As Secretary of State, Marshall implemented his economic program of rebuilding war-torn European nations and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for his actions.
His profound knowledge and understanding of the complicated situation of the defeated European nations arose from his personal experiences during the post-World War I period. As Adjutant to General John J. Pershing (1860–1948), Marshall came to the Rhine area in 1918, as part of the U.S. occupation forces.
The first American Occupation of Germany from 1918 to 1923 laid the foundation of a long relationship between our two countries. The historic background of this relationship, of the post-World War I period, is all but forgotten amongst the people of both nations. These four years were formative in terms of politics, economics, as well as social and cultural exchange.
After two World Wars, Germany has long proven itself a political partner and friend of the United States. Over 50,000 servicemen and women are still stationed in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate as part of the NATO commitment. Today, Ramstein Air Base remains one of the most important strategic installations of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe. And the American presence is deeply engraved in German culture.
The Institute for Regional History at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz has undertaken an academic project to research this phase of American Occupation in Germany after World War I. The goal of this exhibition is to illustrate to both, Germans and Americans, how long this relationship between our two countries has actually existed.
Thanks to the generous support of the Deutschlandjahr we are excited to present the exhibit "Stars and Stripes over the Rhine" at the Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia, South Carolina.