Film Series and Conference Explores Democracy in Germany and the US

CONTACT: NAME: Elizabeth Covington, Center for German and European Studies,

Madison–What is democracy? How have both Germany and America, past and present, displayed democratic ideals and practices? What limitations have they revealed? And in today’s changing physical, social, and political worlds, how has democracy surfaced, or not, through each countries’ societies and cultures?

A free film series, “Selling Democracy—Films of the Marshall Plan, 1948–1953,” (October 13–17) will feature 25 short films made in Europe after the Second World War by the Marshall Plan’s Motion Picture Section and by the Documentary Film Unit of the US Office of Military Government. This landmark series was organized by Sandra Schulberg and curated with Ed Carter of the Academy Film Archive. Films include: “Out of the Ruins,” “Help is on the Way,” and “Strength for the Free World.”

The film series is hosted by a related conference, “Cultures of Democracy? Germany and the USA at Home and Abroad,” (October 19–20, 9am–4pm, Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St.) which will further explore the above questions about democracy.

Conference highlights include a keynote address, “The German Problem and the Atlantic Future,” delivered by Ronald Steel, Professor of International Relations and History, University of Southern California. Dr. Steel has authored biographies on Robert Kennedy and others. He is also a frequent contributor to The Atlantic Monthly and The New York Review of Books. (Friday, October 19, 4pm–6pm, Red Gym, “On Wisconsin” Room, 716 Langdon St.)

This conference is largely free and open to the public. For more information:

For more information on the film series including times and location:

Both the “Culture of Democracy” conference and the “Selling Democracy” film series are part of the tenth-anniversary conference of the Midwest Center for German and European Studies, a program of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, with further support from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).