How did black soldiers feel after the Second World War?

What a paradox: In the American Civil War, the northern states defeated the slave owners of the south, restored the unity of the nation and freed the black plantation slaves. But Afro-Americans did not become really free and equal citizens.

Of course, the war also helped to change that until segregation was finally defeated in the 1960s - even if the discrimination is not over yet, as the events of the Ferguson fatal shots recently showed. And yet: those who fought against the Nazis were often less likely to be offered at home.

The jazz musician Joe Hendricks stormed on June 6, 1944 with his comrades on Omaha Beach, the most loss-making stretch of beach during the Allied invasion of Normandy. He recalls how the experience of horror brought whites and blacks closer together: "White soldiers seemed to feel that way too. Why should we fight each other when we were facing such a strong opponent?"

But it should take a while. In the late fifties, Lieutenant Colin Powell, who later became a senior soldier and then became the US Secretary of State, was not allowed to leave his base in Georgia because of racial segregation.

He came to Germany as a soldier, Germany of all places: And suddenly felt freer: "We could go anywhere." Hence the title of the film: A touch of freedom.

Broadcast date: 14.1. 2015, 10:45 p.m. on ARD.