The relationship between Auslandsdeutsche and Germany

As the relationship between Germany and the US grows increasingly tense, Ross writes a book he provocatively titles Unser Amerika (Our America).

Unser Amerika masks its underlying intent. In the opening passages of the book, Ross explains that he is merely writing a history of Germans in the US, and that he is not doing this with the intent of achieving any gains for Germany: “Germany doesn’t profit from its sons who have traveled over the sea and remained conscious of their Germanness; […] I can not warn my fellow countrymen enough never to forget this. German blood that has flowed to America is irrevocably lost to the German Heimat, and not only politically”. (14)

This forceful statement is, however, gradually weakened over the course of the book as Ross increases the importance he ascribes to Germans in America: “When we Germans say ‘our America’, it is only in reference to the heritage and the ideas that originated in the old homeland and that played a role in making America great and free. We know that we gave these to you, Americans, unconditionally, and we only attach to it the single wish and hope that it might lead to a better understanding between America and Germany”. (17)

“Better understanding” may sound innocuous enough, but in the context of increasing German nationalism (the book was written after the National Socialist rise to power), and increasing international tensions, much is at stake for Ross. Will the United States remain a ‘white’ continent that, in alignment with Europe, continues to represent ‘the West’ in the ‘clash of continents’? Or will it shift its frame of reference to the Western hemisphere, in opposition to Europe? This decision would hold vital import for Ross’s shifting model of global alliances and power structures.

Kristin Kopp

Colin Ross. Die deutsche Stunde Amerikas. In: Unser Amerika: Der deutsche Anteil an den Vereinigten Staaten. 1. Aufl. Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus; 1936; 11-17.

Topic: Auslandsdeutsche
Case: Geopolitics

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