Disappointing new Auslandsdeutsche (Germans abroad)
After Ross’s first South American journey he was skeptic about immigration, not least as a result of his conflicts with Auslandsdeutsche in Chile. The latter were not directly addressed in the book itself, but their attirude was transposed into economic and political doubts.
Ross’s 1922 book Südamerika, die aufsteigende Welt (South America, the ascendent world) was what was left of his plan to emigrate to Argentina (Argentina was one of three South American countries, along with Uruguay and Chile, that did not ban Germans from entering their territory after the Great War).1 Besides the economic hardship Germany, and most of Europe, had to cope with after 1918, Ross’s participation in the failed revolution of 1918/1919 made him want to leave. His South American hopes were dashed, but he capitalized on the journey by writing articles and books and delivering lectures (see Serving Vienna’s workers instead of the Auslandsdeutsche), and a guide book for immigrants (see “Rather contra than pro”).
Südamerika, die aufsteigende Welt, which for its 1941 edition was partly re-edited to meet national socialist requirements, was a classic travelogue complemented by cautious predictions of the fate of current and future Auslandsdeutsche. In doing so, Ross focused on standard social democratic governance criteria (such as the welfare system, health care, and balanced land tenure in the face of “high capitalism”). These criteria seemed to be “in their infancy”, while awakening nationalism in the abovementioned countries made that German settlers (or “colonists” as they are often called) were met with suspicion. Ross presents them as well-educated, patriotic workers who sacrifice themselves for the country’s welfare rather than as exploiters or mere profiteers. This notion would recur in the years to come.
Colin Ross. Vorwort. In: Südamerika, die aufsteigende Welt. 1. Aufl. Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus; 1922; 3-6.
Case: Speaking engagements
1 Colin Roß. Auf deutschem Boden um die Erde: Erinnerungen eines Weltreisenden. 1. Aufl. Köln: Hermann Schaffstein Verlag; 1934; 25-27. See Library.