Semester of Graduation

Spring 2024


Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



This thesis examines the ideals of German Kultur before and during the Great War from the perspective of two émigré German intellectuals. Kuno Francke, a German-American professor at Harvard, and Baron Friedrich von Hügel, an Austrian-English philosopher and theologian, both published wartime treatises on German culture whose interpretations contrasted significantly. Francke’s The German Spirit, published in 1916, lauded the literary, philosophical heroes of Romantic Germany and argued for their enduring legacy within an industrialized Imperial Germany. Francke’s idealized Germany—encircled by enemies, deeply artistic, philosophical, and inwardly free—aligned with the rhetoric of his counterparts in Germany during the outbreak of the war. Even after opening the first museum within America dedicated to Germanic studies, Kuno Francke’s apologies during the war contributed to his academic ostracism and did not tame the radical hostility experienced by German-Americans during the war. Von Hügel, influenced deeply by his Roman Catholicism, critiqued Germany’s inclination toward theory and inwardness, which disastrously combined with materialism, in his 1916 wartime publication The German Soul. Careful to affirm the accomplishments of Germany without expelling everything German, as many English theologians and thinkers did during the war, he does not fit wholly into either the English or German rhetorical camps even though he affirmed the rightness of the Allied Powers. By examining the nuances and intricacies of these two different conceptions of Germany, observed by émigré intellectuals, this thesis illuminates new aspects of German cultural studies prior to and during the Great War.



Committee Chair

Marchand, Suzanne

Available for download on Sunday, April 04, 2027