The Development of the Amerikahaus
Amerikahäuser were originally established all over Germany right after the end of World War II and devoted to the re-education and democratization of Germans according to the American model. This, however, does not mean that these centers engaged in propaganda, since critical depictions of the United States’ diversity in culture, politics, and society were also emphasized. The Amerikahaus in Munich soon became a major part of Munich’s cultural life and attracted an average of 80,000 visitors per month. Munich’s surroundings were reached by special mobile libraries. At first, the American military government financed these activities, until the United States Information Agency (USIA) later took over.
During the Cold War, the Bavarian Center for Transatlantic Relations adapted its main task to the political atmosphere of the time and focused on maintaining and stabilizing transatlantic relations. While the German public was generally excited about John F. Kennedy and the moon landing, critical situations like the Vietnam War and the conflicts within American society posed a special challenge to the work of the Amerikahaus in Munich. Despite many protests directed towards the Amerikahaus during this time, it still managed to maintain its great importance in cultural life, even among the youth who were particularly critical of American politics.
As a result of cost-cutting measures, the work of the U.S. government at the Amerikahaus was discontinued in June 1997. Since then it has continued as a Bavarian institution.
Today it is an open house for citizens and transatlantic players dedicated to cooperation and networking with the U.S.