Lamprecht‘s work came to a dead end in Germany, the American interest in Lamprecht‘s cultural history and Americans‘ progressive acceptance of the sociological traditions of Max Weber put them even further from the spirit of Weimar German medievalism.
Americans who studied in Germany did not necessarily come away with a love of the German approach to teaching and scholarship, even if they recognized the importance of its intellectual rigor. M. Carey Thomas, for example, had studied Anglo Saxon, Gothic, Old High German, and Middle High German at Leipzig, although she bridled under what she considered her instructors‘ excessive glorification of old Germanic languages over her native English. However, she persevered until the minister of education for Saxony disallowed her and other women students studying with liberal professors to enroll for doctoral degrees. Disgusted by this refusal, she transferred to Zurich, where she received her Ph.D. summa cum laude in 1882.
As a result of her experience in Europe, Thomas held an ambivalent attitude toward German scholarship shared by other American scholars of her generation, male and female alike. On the one hand, she recognized the superiority of German philological studies and the necessity of acquiring a German or German-style education in order to achieve recognition in her field. On the other hand, she deeply resented ―barbarous
element for which alone all others exist‖ and which promises ―scientific conclusions‖ (448) was in many ways typical of pre-war American historians. On Lamprecht, see
Roger Chickering, 1993).
It is all too easy to present a caricature of von Below as a political historian opposed to the transformation of history into a social science. For a much more balanced appreciation, see Otto Gerhard Oexle, "Ein politischer Historiker. Georg von Below
, ed. Notker Hammerstein