Twofold mission in South America

The interview Ross gave after his release from a short arrest in Temuco shows his efforts to balance between his harsh criticism of the conservative Chilean Auslandsdeutsche (Germans abroad), or “German colony”, and his implicit acknowledgment of the necessity of being on good terms with the German community of the country which hosted his lectures.  

In contrast to the explicit accusations in Ross’s report sent to the former state secretary Dr. Conrad Haußmann (see Ross rescuing the republic), his interview with the liberal-conservative newspaper El Mercurio1 attests to Ross’s diplomatic approach to his ideological conflict with commissioned ambassador Dr. Otto Gumprecht as well as to the conservative German colony in Chile. Ross interprets his role as a representative of “democratic Germany, a country in the heart of Europe, which would guarantee order and international peace”, combating his audience’s “monarchist and reactionary views”. But Ross, restraining his martial rhetoric, announces his empathy: Auslandsdeutsche are stuck in nostalgia and oppose modern Germany’s “democratic development”, and its “representative”, because of their distance to the Heimat.

Ross claimed to be commissioned by a number of newspapers and press consortia as well as by the Deutsches Auslands-Institut in Stuttgart (with the support of the Foreign Office) to inform the German public about emigration to South America. But in his lectures on site, delivered for groups of Auslandsdeutsche,2 he was interested in establishing a two-way information relay channel to explain his views on current developments in Germany, a hint to his attempt to distinguish himself as a political expert who served Germany’s interests abroad.3

Katalin Teller

[n.d.]. Con un periodista aleman. El Mercurio. 1920 May 12; 5-6. 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 Eduardo Santa Cruz A. Analisis historico del periodismo Chileno. Santiago: Nuestra América; 1988; 45-47 and 80-83 [accessed 2017 January 31],

2 See also a number of his articles published in the Buenos Aires liberal-conservative newspaper La Prensa: Colin Ross. La situacion politica y economica de Alemania sus probables effectos en Europa [I]. La Prensa. 1920 Jan 27; 7 and La situacion politica y economica de Alemania sus probables effectos en Europa [II]. La Prensa. 1920 Feb 2; 6. See Library.

3 Bodo-Michael Baumunk. Colin Ross. Ein deutscher Revolutionär und Reisender 1885-1942. [unpubl. ms]. Rev. edn. Berlin; 2015 [1999]; 43-44 and 50-52. See Library.

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