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German nationalist doctrine aiming at the union of all German-speaking peoples under German rule. Pan-Germanists considered that not only the German groups in neighboring countries, such as Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Switzerland, and Alsace, but even distant German-speaking groups such as Volga Germans, Baltic Germans, Transylvanian Germans, and German-Americans were linked by a blood tie to their fatherland. The doctrine originated in the late 19th cent. as an instrument of German imperialistic expansion. In 1893 the Alldeutscher Verbund (Pan-German League) was founded. The Pan-Germans became particularly vocal after Germany's defeat in World War I had deprived it of some border territories and its colonies. National Socialism appropriated Pan-Germanism; by the annexation of Austria and of German-speaking parts of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and by German conquests in Europe during World War II, Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded for a time in making the Pan-German program a reality.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a political doctrine reflecting the aggressive aspirations of the German bourgeoisie and Junker class. Pan-Germanism originated in the early 1880’s in Austria-Hungary, where G. von Schönerer and his followers worked out a program for Germany’s annexation of the Austrian regions of the country. The ideas of Pan-Germanism took final shape at the end of the 19th century, when the Pan-German League was organized.

The proponents of Pan-Germanism inspired the policy goals of seizing Polish, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, and Baltic lands and establishing the world dominance of German imperialism. They promoted an arms race, the country’s militarization, and the building of a powerful navy. In its fervent nationalism, chauvinism, racism, and hostility to socialism, Pan-Germanism was an ideological predecessor of German fascism.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.