'A transatlantic buzz': flying saucers, extraterrestrials and America in postwar Germany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The years 1946-1960 saw a wave of reports of flying saucer sightings on both sides of the Atlantic. To date, however, few scholars have examined how the phenomenon moved across states and regions, what responses it garnered and what impact it had on contemporary thought and values. This article examines how the mainstream press and public intellectuals in postwar West and East Germany reported on and discussed flying saucer reports. The evidence shows that both cold war geopolitics and the occult were used to explain sightings, but that suspected American influences and anti-American sentiments figured heavily in how most reports were interpreted. Flying saucers thus functioned as cyphers for considering alien influences in postwar society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-303
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Transatlantic Studies
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations

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