Recipe for success

Directly after his return from the US, China, Japan, and the Soviet Union in early 1940, Ross gave this interview in Berlin. It  reports on what elements in his career were essential for him in the construction his popular image as a traveling and geopolitically interested journalist and filmmaker.

The goal of Ross’s last extensive journey was to outline the “tremendous forces” in East Asia’s “political, intellectual, social and religious life” on the basis of new experiences and “hundreds of single incidents” on which he reported in many articles in German periodicals. In addition, together with this son Ralph he had collected 8,000 meters of film to “substantiate the deeper drives of those people’s work and existence” rather than to make “nice images”. Prior to traveling to and focusing on East Asia, Ross had a “special task” of delivering numerous lectures in the US to promote the national socialist movement.

En route, the family (without daughter Renate this time) had to face a number of “adventures”, such as air attacks in China. Although the 15-month “expedition” turned out to “lead from crisis to war”, Ross’s constant drive to travel had been unaffected by these difficulties. His restlessness would take him down unknown roads to pursue his habit of “living among the locals” and  directly observe their way of life.

In sum, this (self-)portrait contains all the elements of Ross’s success formula: traveling with his family, adventure, explaining and contextualizing locally observed events from a global perspective, and, last not least, being a “missionary” lecturer serving current German ideology.

Katalin Teller

Anonymous. Von der Weltreise zurück. Aus einer Unterhaltung mit Colin Roß. Neuigkeits-Welt-Blatt. Jg. 67, Nr. 68. 1940 Mar 21; 6.

Topic: Profession: reporter
Case: Speaking engagements


1 The film that emerged from this journey, Das neue Asien, was advertised with the subtitle “a global politics film”. However, this epithet was first used in the publicity for Ross’s 1927 film Die erwachende Sphinx in Hamburg; see Anonymous. Der erste weltpolitische Film. Hamburger 8-Uhr-Abendblatt. 1927 July 26. See Library.

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