Soft Occupation: Investigating America’s influence on German politics

Investigative journalist Jurij Kofner is a German citizen. To question the extent to which his country’s policy decisions are influenced by America’s agenda, he explores Germany’s post-war history to understand how relations with the US were formed. He also looks into the dynamics of the two countries’ cooperation under the umbrella of NATO.

Today, America’s largest permanent military operation outside the US is in Germany. The American government uses Ramstein as a base for its controversial drone operations. Local citizens, who question the legitimacy of the arrangement, discover they have no say in what some foreign powers can do in their own country.

In 2013 it emerged that the German chancellor and other politicians had been spied on by American Intelligence. The phone tapping scandal damaged trust between the countries and raised questions about whether theirs was truly a relationship between equal partners. Jurij Kofner meets politicians, independent journalists and other independent experts; they all suggest that America’s meddling in Germany’s affairs didn’t end at just tapping phone lines. According to some, American NGOs wield influence over German media by offering journalists “grants” in return for writing articles that steer readers towards sympathy with American interests. There’s also a US-funded youth education programme that allegedly seeks to indoctrinate Germany’s young people with a US-friendly agenda.

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