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Local government and transatlantic encounters
Professional exchanges, networks and politics between Berlin and the major cities of North America, 1890–1939
In the second half of the nineteenth century, the major cities of Europe and North America experienced rapid population growth that was unprecedented in history. The changes brought about by urbanization highlighted the need for a comprehensive municipal administration in line with modern thinking. In a time of increasing globalization, when technological advancements and improved opportunities for travel brought the continents closer together, numerous connections and networks developed between municipal administrations across national borders from the 1890s onwards. The community of municipal experts concerned with urbanization discussed the pressing problems of cities and how to solve them through international conferences and exhibitions, study trips, and journalism.
The project traces the varied elements of this transatlantic exchange of expertise. At its center is the question of the professional, intellectual, and political connections between Berlin and the major cities of the USA from the time of the German Empire to the beginning of the Second World War. On the basis of German and American sources, Berlin’s history is regarded from a transnational perspective that reveals the points of contact between the New and the Old World.