Ross rescuing the republic

The report Ross submitted to the Foreign Office gives a sense of the force with which political and ideological interests could clash between Ross and the Chilean Auslandsdeutsche (Germans abroad).

Ross’s accusations concern the German functionaries Dr. Gumprecht and Dr. Oestreich in Chile who, according to Ross, have launched a transnational witch-hunt by denouncing him as a Bolshevist propagandist. Gumprecht and Oestreich would use “social democrat”  and “Bolshevist” as smear words without distinction. By doing so they displayed an obvious disagreement with the government in Germany as well as a “reactionary monarchist” attitude. In the same vein they condemned Ross’s loyalty to the Weimar Republic’s leadership. Meanwhile Ross, despite this belligerent environment, would achieve success in convincing parts of the German community in Chilke of the integrity of Germany’s political establishment.

In this report it is not only the diplomatic machinations against Ross and Ross’s reaction to them that are relevant in accounting for power relations and networks within the South American Auslandsdeutschtum. The report also points out the central role of the press and the public space of lectures. Both parties seem to have tried to influence, even exploit, these channels (see also the summary of Ross’s lecture by Oestreich Informing the Chilean Auslandsdeutsche (Germans abroad) and Oestreich’s commentary The stab-in-the-back myth as identification for Auslandsdeutsche (Germans abroad)).1 How powerful the utilization of journalistic forums for acting out this conflict was shows a short New York report on the appeal of the Berlin social democratic newspaper Vorwärts’ call for Gumprecht’s resignation.2

Katalin Teller

Colin Ross. Vierter südamerikanischer Bericht von Dr Colin Ross. Die antirepublikanischen Tendenzen der deutschen Gesandtschaft in Santiago. [After April 1920]. Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg, Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart. Aus Bestand Q ½ (Nachlass Dr. Conrad Haußmann), Sign. Q 1/2 Bü 8

Topic: Auslandsdeutsche
Case: Speaking engagements


1 See more on this incident Earl R. Beck. Colin Ross in South America, 1919-1920. The Americas. 1960 Jul; 17 (1): 53-63.

2 Anonymous. Ask German Consul’s Recall. The Sun and New York Herald. 1920 Jun 14; 5, (accessed 2017 Feb 7).

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