New Books Network

Erik Grimmer-Solem

Learning Empire

Globalization and the German Quest for World Status, 1875-1919

Cambridge University Press 2019

New Books in European StudiesNew Books in German StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Military HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World Affairs July 16, 2020 Craig Sorvillo

In his new book, Learning Empire: Globalization and the German Quest for World Status, 1875-1919 (Cambridge University Press) Erik Grimmer-Solem examines the process of German globalization that began in...

In his new book, Learning Empire: Globalization and the German Quest for World Status, 1875-1919 (Cambridge University Press) Erik Grimmer-Solem examines the 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, Learning Empire 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. 

Erik Grimmer-Solem is Professor in the Departments of History and German Studies at Wesleyan University 


Craig Sorvillo is a PhD candidate in modern European history at the University of Florida. He specializes in Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust. He can be reached at craig.sorvillo@gmail.com or on twitter @craig_sorvillo