Spatial Definitions of Germanness


In spatial terms, Germany remained dynamic even in the modern era, with its borders changing again and again. The sources compiled here do not trace those shifts; rather they show how historical actors used space to make statements about the definition of “German.” Maps that sought to illustrate and create linguistic communities made clear, as early as the 1850s, that linguistic and political boundaries did not necessarily coincide. In the heated debate over borders during the Weimar period, discussions about space often evoked fears of threats to Germans emanating from the Treaty of Versailles. During the division of Germany after 1949, West German maps established claims to the totality of German space, irrespective of borders; they did so by naming or marking boundaries, internally and externally, and especially on the eastern border of the GDR.


  1. < In Search of a Führer – Fusing Art and War
  2. The Eastern Mirror: German Jews from Poland, German Jews on Poland >