Constructing a German Diaspora
The "Greater German Empire", 1871-1914
By Stefan Manz
Routledge – 2014 – 360 pages
This book takes on a global perspective to unravel the complex relationship between Imperial Germany and its diaspora. Around 1900, German-speakers living abroad were tied into global power-political aspirations. They were represented as outposts of a "Greater German Empire" whose ethnic links had to be preserved for their own and the fatherland’s benefits. Did these ideas fall on fertile ground abroad? In the light of extreme social, political, and religious heterogeneity, diaspora construction did not redeem the all-encompassing fantasies of its engineers. But it certainly was at work, as nationalism "went global" in many German ethnic communities. Three thematic areas are taken as examples to illustrate the emergence of globally operating organizations and communication flows: Politics and the navy issue, Protestantism, and German schools abroad as "bulwarks of language preservation." The public negotiation of these issues is explored for localities as diverse as Shanghai, Cape Town, Blumenau in Brazil, Melbourne, Glasgow, the Upper Midwest in the United States, and the Volga Basin in Russia. The mobilisation of ethno-national diasporas is also a feature of modern-day globalization. The theoretical ramifications analysed in the book are as poignant today as they were for the nineteenth century.
"Stefan Manz has produced a major work of historical scholarship which pushes back the boundaries of our understanding of the meaning of German nationalism and the concept of diaspora, demonstrating that contemporary notions of transnationalism have historical roots which predate the First World War. Using a wide range of archival material Manz has constructed a fascinating narrative utilising examples from German communities from all over the world, which make his book a truly global history… The book will prove essential reading for anybody interested in the historical origins of diaspora and transnationalism and in the rise of German nationalism on a global scale."
- Panikos Panayi, De Montfort University
Introduction 1. Patterns of Migration and Settlement 2. Metropolitan Diaspora Constructions 3. Politics: Navy and Auslandsdeutschtum 4. North America and Russia 5. Religion: Protestantism and Auslandsdeutschtum 6. Language: German Schools Abroad. Outlook and Conclusion. Appendix.
Stefan Manz is Senior Lecturer in German at Aston University, Birmingham, UK, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.