It is noteworthy that, while the French and Americans succeeded in creating a national counterpart of Conan Doyle’s archetype, the Germans always conceived of the great detective as an English character. This may be explained by the dependence of the classic detective upon liberal democracy. He, the single-handed sleuth who makes reason destroy the spider webs of irrational powers and decency triumph over dark instincts, is the predestined hero of a civilized world which believes in the blessings of enlightenment and individual freedom. It is not accidental that the sovereign detective is disappearing today in films and novels alike, giving way to the tough “private investigator”: the potentialities of liberalism seem, temporarily, exhausted. Since the Germans never developed a democratic regime, they were not in a position to engender a native version of Sherlock Holmes. Their deep-founded susceptibilities to life abroad enabled them, nevertheless, to enjoy the lovely myth of the English detective.
—Siegfried Kracauer, From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film (1947)