The presentation will discuss the contribution of German communists to the revolution against slavery and the defeat of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. While the Lincoln administration and top Union generals developed a military strategy to restore the status quo antebellum in the Chesapeake Bay region, German émigrés in the Mississippi River Valley worked with enslaved African Americans and some native-born white people to create what Carl von Clausewitz termed “war by means of popular uprisings.” German communism shaped the course of the American Civil War, and the American Civil War, in turn, shaped German communism.
Andrew Zimmerman is a professor of history at The George Washington University. He is the author of Alabama in Africa: Booker T. Washington, the German Empire and the Globalization of the New South. He has also edited Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ The Civil War in the United States. He is currently writing a history of the American Civil War as a transnational working-class rebellion titled A Very Dangerous Element.
The moderator will be Noah Strote of the Department of History at North Carolina State University. This event is part of the North Carolina German Studies Workshop and Seminar Series.