Erik Grimmer-Solem, "Learning Empire: Globalization and the German Quest for World Status, 1875-1919" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

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The First World War marked the end point of a process of German globalization that began in the 1870s, well before Germany acquired a colonial empire or extensive overseas commercial interests. Structured around the figures of five influential economists who shaped the German political landscape, Professor of History, Erik Grimmer-Solem’s Learning Empire: Globalization and the German Quest for World Status, 1875-1919 (Cambridge University Press, 2019), explores how their overseas experiences shaped public perceptions of the world and Germany's place in it. These men helped define a German liberal imperialism that came to influence the 'world policy' (Weltpolitik) of Kaiser Wilhelm, Chancellor Bülow, and Admiral Tirpitz. They devised naval propaganda, reshaped Reichstag politics, were involved in colonial and financial reforms, and helped define the debate over war aims in the First World War. Looking closely at German worldwide entanglements, Learning Empire recasts how we interpret German imperialism, the origins of the First World War, and the rise of Nazism, inviting reflection on the challenges of globalization in the current century. Grimmer-Solem, has written an imaginative and first-rate account of several aspects of Kaiserreich Germany’s politics. No one will in the future look at Germany in this period without referencing this book.

Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.

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