conflict & communication online, Vol. 3, No. 1 & 2, 2004
ISSN 1618-0747




Susanne Jaeger
The German press coverage on France after World War II

How is the continuing reconciliation process between the former "hereditary enemies" Germany and France reflected in German daily newspapers between 1946 and 1970?
Using quantitative content analysis, a representative sample of coverage of France and French-related topics published during this period was examined with an emphasis on a) the choice of news topics and possible deviations from the predictions of Galtung’s news-factors model and on b) how protagonists and events were portrayed in these articles. A further qualitative analysis was made of some promising journalistic attempts to achieve "constructive" coverage during the same period. This was intended a) to determine whether and how several theoretical deductions from Kempf’s conflict model of de-escalation processes are manifest in post-conflict coverage and b) to identify the stylistic "tools" journalists used – even unintentionally – to further a better understanding of the former enemy and – in the long run – to build peace and reconciliation between Germany and France. The overarching questions addressed by this study are: (What) can we learn from coverage during a successful reconciliation process, and how can these lessons be transferred to contemporary coverage of post-war processes? Major findings of the two studies will be presented.


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On the author: Susanne, Dipl. Psych., born 1966 in Würzburg. Studies of psychology and sociology at the University of Konstanz. Since 1999 a member of the Peace Research Group at the University of Konstanz, she is currently working in a project on "News media as mediators of democratization, peace-building and reconciliation in post-war societies" and writing her doctoral thesis on the performance of the German press during the German-French reconciliation process after World War II.

Address: Fachbereich Psychologie, Universität Konstanz, D-78457 Konstanz. eMail: