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German global soft power, 1700-1920

McLelland, Nicola



Karene Sanchez-Summerer

Willem Frijhoff


This article provides the first overview of the reach and 'soft power' of German language and culture in Europe and beyond, from 1700 to 1920, shortly after the end of the First World War. Besides the role of the state (weak, until deliberate policies began to be formulated from the late nineteenth century), the article shows the role of language societies, religious, educational and scientific institutions, and other sociocultural and political factors, including migration and colonization, in promoting German 'soft power' in other parts of Europe, in the Americas, Africa and China. The changing status of German language and culture in these parts of the world and the extent of local and 'home' support, through explicit policy or otherwise, for German as a first, foreign or additional language abroad is also considered.


McLelland, N. (2016). German global soft power, 1700-1920. In K. Sanchez-Summerer, & W. Frijhoff (Eds.), Linguistic and cultural foreign policies of European states: 18th-20th centuries. Amsterdam University Press

Acceptance Date Jun 2, 2016
Publication Date Dec 2, 2016
Deposit Date Jan 26, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jan 26, 2017
Publisher Amsterdam University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Issue 3
Series Title Languages and Culture in History
Book Title Linguistic and cultural foreign policies of European states: 18th-20th centuries
ISBN 9789462980600
Keywords German as a foreign language (GFL), German colonialism, German migration, Philanthropists, Language societies, Togo, Namibia, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Jiaozhou Bay concession (Kiautschou)
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