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Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2017 Sep 4;56(37):11044-11058. doi: 10.1002/anie.201702487. Epub 2017 Aug 7.

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

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Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA, 19085, USA.


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.


German Chemical Society; National Socialism; chemistry journals; history of science; scientific internationalism


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