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. Yet following a 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 - 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.
Jens-Uwe Guettel is Lecturer in the Department of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University.
Acknowledgments; Abbreviations; 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. Imperial liberalism, Nazi expansionism, and the continuities of German history; Bibliography; Index.