Constructing a German Diaspora
The 'Greater German Empire,' 1871-1918
By Stefan Manz
Routledge – 2014 – 232 pages
German unification in 1871 had a significant impact on those Germans who found themselves living outside, or migrating across, the borders of the newly founded Empire. Migrants’ redefined their relationship with their country of origin and were increasingly represented as outposts of ‘Germanness’ whose ethnic links with the mother country had to be preserved for their own and the Empire’s benefits. Germans worldwide underwent a redefinition from geographically scattered and disparate groups to being a unified transnational ‘community of spirit’. This book is the first to specifically focus on the construction of an imagined homogeneous and Reich-focused diaspora through public discourse.
It brings together constructivist approaches to ethno-national identity formation and transnationalist approaches to understanding the German Empire within its global entanglements. Based on local sources from a variety of countries, as well as transnational correspondence, the ‘glocal’ perspective adds new insight to existing studies with a geographical focus. A range of case studies serves to depict the mechanics, spread, and nature of nationalist thinking abroad, including colonial Namibia, transnational correspondence of the Central League for German Navy Clubs Abroad, South America, Colombo, and Bangkok, where "Germanness [was] in very good shape", that have never been the subject of scholarly analysis. This book shows the ways in which the ‘Greater German Empire’ did not remain a fictitious construct but became embedded in migrants’ sense of national belonging and ethnic identity.
Introduction 1. German Settlements Abroad 2. Constructing a German Diaspora 3. Protestantism, Nationalism, and Transnationality 4. ‘Solid Bulwarks of Germanness’: The Central League for German Navy Clubs Abroad 5. Diaspora Nationalism under the Microhistorical Magnifying Glass: The Case of the German Community in Glasgow 6. World War I and the German Diaspora Conclusion
Stefan Manz is Senior Lecturer and Director of German Studies in the School of Languages and Social Sciences at Aston University, UK. He is author of Migranten und Internierte (2003) and co-editor (with Panikos Panayi) of Refugees and Cultural Transfer to Britain in the 19th and 20th Centuries (Routledge, 2012).