‘Wir stehen fest zusammen/Zu Kaiser und zu Reich!’: Nationalism Among Germans in Britain, 1871–1918

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Abstract

German unification in 1871 triggered a wave of enthusiasm for the fatherland amongst German migrants worldwide. Britain was no exception. National confidence and coherence received a boost through the new symbols of ‘Kaiser’ and ‘Reich’. From the 1880s onwards, more and more militaristic and chauvinistic undertones could be heard. Local branches of German patriotic and militaristic pressure groups were founded in Britain. Support for Germany’s ‘new course’ of colonialist expansion and its ambitious naval programme was, however, not confined to right–wing groups but permeated ethnic life in general. Religion and nationalism stood in a symbiotic relationship; some German academics lecturing at British universities displayed chauvinistic attitudes; social clubs were increasingly dominated by an atmosphere of ‘Reich’–nationalism. After the outbreak of war, public expressions of pro–German attitudes did not disappear and were one of numerous factors contributing to Germanophobia within the host society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-415
Number of pages18
JournalGerman Life and Letters
Volume55
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2002

Keywords

  • German unification
  • 1871
  • German migrants worldwide
  • Kaiser
  • Reich
  • German patriotic
  • militaristic pressure groups
  • Britain
  • Germany
  • colonialist expansion
  • naval programme
  • religion
  • nationalism
  • German academics
  • British universities
  • war
  • pro–German attitudes
  • Germanophobia

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