Jared Poley is Professor of History at Georgia State University. He is the author of Decolonization in Germany: Weimar Narratives of Colonial Loss and Foreign Occupation (2005) and The Devil’s Riches: A Modern History of Greed (2016). He is a co-editor of the Spektrum collections Conversion and the Politics of Religion in Early Modern Germany (2012) and Kinship, Community, and Self (2014).
In The Impossible Border, Annemarie H. Sammartino explores these waves of migration and their consequences for Germany. Migration became a flashpoint for such controversies as the relative importance of ethnic and cultural belonging, the interaction of nationalism and political ideologies, and whether or not Germany could serve as a place of refuge for those seeking asylum. Sammartino shows the significance of migration for understanding the difficulties confronting the Weimar Republic and the growing appeal of political extremism.
Sammartino demonstrates that the moderation of the state in confronting migration was not merely by default, but also by design. However, the ability of a republican nation-state to control its borders became a barometer for its overall success or failure. Meanwhile, debates about migration were a forum for political extremists to develop increasingly radical understandings of the relationship between the state, its citizens, and its frontiers. The widespread conviction that the democratic republic could not control its "impossible" Eastern borders fostered the ideologies of those on the radical right who sought to resolve the issue by force and for all time.
For centuries, large numbers of German-speaking people have emigrated from settlements in Europe to other countries and continents. In German Diasporic Experiences: Identity, Migration, and Loss, more than forty international contributors describe and discuss aspects of the history, language, and culture of these migrant groups, individuals, and their descendants. Part I focuses on identity, with essays exploring the connections among language, politics, and the construction of histories—national, familial, and personal—in German-speaking diasporic communities around the world. Part II deals with migration, examining such issues as German migrants in postwar Britain, German refugees and forced migration, and the immigrant as a fictional character, among others. Part III examines the idea of loss in diasporic experience with essays on nationalization, language change or loss, and the reshaping of cultural identity.
Essays are revised versions of papers presented at an international conference held at the University of Waterloo in August 2006, organized by the Waterloo Centre for German Studies, and reflect the multidisciplinarity and the global perspective of this field of study.