Using previously untapped resources including private collections,the records of cultural institutions, and federal and state governmentarchives, Schoonover analyzes the German role in Central American domesticand international relations.Of the four countries most active in independen... t Central America-Britain,the United States, France, and Germany- historians know the least aboutthe full extent of the involvement of the Germans.German colonial expansion was based on its position as an industrializedstate seeking economic well-being and security in a growing world market.German leaders were quick to recognize that ties to the cheap labor ofoverseas countries could compensate for some of the costs and burdens ofconceding material and social privileges to their domestic labor force.The Central American societies possessed limited resource bases; smallerand poorly educated populations; and less capital, communications, andtechnological development than Germany. They saw the borrowing of developmentas a key to their social, economic, and political progress. Wary CentralAmerican leaders also saw the influx of German industrialists as assuranceagainst excessive U.S. presence in their political economies and cultures.Although the simplistic bargain to trade economic development for cheaplabor appeared to succeed in the short term, complex issues of German domesticunemployment and social disorder filtered to Central American countriesand added to their own burdens. By 1929, Germany had recovered most ofits pre-World War I economic position.
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