4 years ago

Between Nationalism and Internationalism: The German Chemical Society In Comparative Perspective, 1867–1945

Between Nationalism and Internationalism: The German Chemical Society In Comparative Perspective, 1867–1945
Jeffrey Allan Johnson
One-hundred fifty years ago, on the eve of German unification, about one-hundred people gathered in Berlin to found the German Chemical Society (DChG) under the charismatic leadership of August Wilhelm von Hofmann, who attracted a large international membership by promoting modern organic chemistry. By 1892, when Emil Fischer succeeded Hofmann, the DChG was the world's largest chemical society. Under Fischer the Society promoted international collaboration with foreign societies, and in 1900 it opened an impressive headquarters, the Hofmann House, where it centralized its greatly expanded literary activity including abstracts and reference publications. Yet a half-century later, after war and racial-national extremism, the house lay in ruins and the Society had ceased to exist. In remembering the Society, one may well ask why its auspicious beginning should have led to this ignominious end. The Hofmann House in Berlin, headquarters of the Deutsche Chemische Gesellschaft (DChG) from 1900, was the home of the Berichte, the Chemische Zentralblatt, the Beilstein Handbook, and many other publications that were indispensable for chemists worldwide. After the National Socialist regime and the Second World War, the house lay in ruins and the society's international reputation was lost. In this Review, the history of the DChG from its founding until its fall is outlined.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/anie.201702487

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