Men of Empires/Empires of Men

Masculinity in US Diplomatic Relations to Germany and Japan from the late 19th Century to World War I

Maximilian Klose


The late 19th century saw the rise of three imperial powers. The United States, the German Empire, and the Empire of Japan all ascended as major economic centers that soon developed colonial ambitions in East Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Caribbean. Strikingly, political leaders in all three countries pitched themselves and their countries as prime examples of a young and virile masculinity, thus asserting their newfound dominant roles in world affairs. The project asks for the role that masculine rhetoric and demeanor played in the diplomatic relations between the three countries. It seeks to find out how diplomatic actors projected their masculinity on the international stage, to what ends they did so, and how they came to be perceived by their diplomatic counterparts. In doing so, the project understands masculinity both as a subject of investigation and as a heuristic tool that helps to understand processes of knowledge transfer as well as displays and notions of power and legitimacy that contributed to the course of diplomacy.