German Expansionism, Imperial Liberalism and the United States, 1776-1945

German Expansionism, Imperial Liberalism and the United States, 1776-1945

by Jens-Uwe Guettel


$101.70 $113.00 Save 10% Current price is $101.7, Original price is $113. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Usually ships within 1 week


This book traces the importance of the United States for German colonialism from the late eighteenth century to 1945, focusing on American westward expansion and racial politics. Jens-Uwe Guettel argues that from the late eighteenth century onward, ideas of colonial expansion played a very important role in liberal, enlightened, and progressive circles in Germany, which, in turn, looked across the Atlantic to the liberal-democratic United States for inspiration and concrete examples. In the early years of the twentieth century, this America-inspired and -influenced imperial liberalism dominated German colonial discourse and practice. Yet following this pre-1914 peak of liberal political influence on the administration and governance of Germany's colonies, the expansionist ideas embraced by Germany's far-right after the country's defeat in the First World War had little or no connection with the German Empire's liberal imperialist tradition. German Expansionism, Imperial Liberalism, and the United States, 1776–1945 therefore shows that, for example, Nazi plans for the settlement of conquered Eastern European territories were not directly linked to pre-1914 transatlantic exchanges concerning race and expansionism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107024694
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 01/31/2013
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Jens-Uwe Guettel is Lecturer in the Department of History and Religious Studies at the Pennsylvania State University.

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Soil, liberty, and blood: Germans and American westward expansion before 1871; 2. From theory to practice: German colonialism and American westward expansion before the Great War; 3. The American South and racial segregation in the German colonies; 4. America, race, and German expansionism from the Great War to 1945; Conclusion: 5. Imperial liberalism, Nazi expansionism, and the continuities of German history.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“This impressive monograph offers a provocative new look at Germany’s imperial imaginary. Jens-Uwe Guettel expertly shows how pre–World War I German liberal imperialists were attracted to the United States because they saw it as a model empire and racial state. Here, then, is a tightly argued intellectual history of a transatlantic connection and its legacy, a history that takes its readers beyond notions of national exceptionalism and linear continuities and asks us to rethink both the trajectories of 19th-century liberalism and the origins of Nazi imperialism.” – Dirk Bönker, Duke University

“Nuanced and compelling, Jens-Uwe Guettel’s fascinating study of the deep and complex entanglement of German and American ‘imperial liberalism’ offers many new insights that promise to reshape the debates over German and American exceptionalism. This is a most welcome contribution to the transatlantic history of ideas and colonial practices that will help bridge historiographical divides.” – Erik Grimmer-Solem, Wesleyan University

“Guettel’s book makes several important historiographical interventions, regarding transnational history, the nature of liberalism, continuities of empire, and German exceptionalisms. It is informative, mind-changing, and brilliant.” – Lora Wildenthal, Rice University

“Jens-Uwe Guettel simultaneously challenges American and German exceptionalism by revealing how the United States served as a model for German expansionism in Europe and overseas in the long period from the American Revolution to the end of the Second World War. German Expansionism, Imperial Liberalism, and the United States, 1776–1945 portrays imperial liberalism in its full complexity, beyond the bowdlerized Atlanticism cooked up to nourish Cold War alliances. It will be of great interest to readers interested in political thought, imperial and colonial studies, and transnational history.” – Andrew Zimmerman, George Washington University

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews