History speaker series: How the U.S. spurred new era in Europe

On Nov. 20, the Library Media Center welcomed the University of Washington’s Professor Raymond Jonas, for a History Speaker series, entitled “Domination, Integration, Betrayal: 1914 and the long Nineteenth Century.” Self-described as a “historian of the modern era,” professor Jonas has published numerous works, on topics ranging from African resistance to European expansion in the early 20th century, to  books on French culture as well as the relationship between pilgrimages of old and modern mass tourism.

After an introduction by BC’s History Department Chairman, Tim Heinrichs, professor Jonas began his lecture with a letter from the late 19th century written by Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa, Crown Princess of Prussia, addressed to her mother, the Queen of England, regarding her newborn son. “He is a lively child. […]. I cannot tell you how much I have wanted a son,” she wrote. He continued to show his audience pictures of the Queen of Prussia and her son, Wilhelm the III.

Jonas explained how Germany’s move from having kings to emperors lead them to become increasingly worried about their place in Europe during this time. The rise of Germany and the increasing complexity of social and economic domination occurred during the decline of the Ottoman Empire. Because of the popular theory of Social Darwinism, Germany began to worry that they were unfit and would become victims.

After providing background on the major political figures in Germany during the late 1800s, professor Jonas began to explain the effects that the U.S. had on Europe through its growing power. He explained by saying: “The completion of the United States marked a new era in Europe. The globe had been spinning on the axis of the European regime but even before the beginning of World War I that axis had begun to wobble. America’s rise as a country had a profound role in the downfall of European regimes.”

Leadership roles during this time began to shift. Royal courts still existed but their power and influence began to dwindle.

During this time it was important for citizens and servants to show their loyalties for their countries. As the idea of war became more popular, the prevalence of nationalism grew with it. With the growth of nationalism and patriotism, the democratic view began to replace the monarchs, while racial newspaper companies became more powerful, having the ability to sway audiences with their stories and gossip. Politicians used the newfound form of power in newspapers to advertise their ideas to the