The reputation which O'Neill enjoyed in Germany is treated as well as the critical and popular response to his individual works. Greeted during the thirties as a very American dramatist and a revolutionary influence in the theater of his own country, the playwright was seen abroad as a conservative successor to the European tradition of Strindberg, Ibsen, and Hauptmann. After World War II, however, all this changed. He was heard then as the voice from America that provided existential hope to an audience beset by economic hardship, the anxieties of the cold war, feelings of guilt and uncertainty. Extremely popular, his works were performed more frequently during the decades of the fifties and thereafter than any other foreign dramatist except Shakespeare.