Volland suggests that Mexico’s pronounced Germanophile tradition signified, particularly, a reaction against American expansionism into Mexico, Spanish and British colonialism in the entire Central American region, and the establishment of a French puppet regime in Mexico. Belated German attempts toward establishing political, economic, or military ascendancy in Mexico were a failure. This was another blessing in disguise, as Mexican resentments were thus directed against the more successful Americans and British.
As of 1933, German interests remained restricted largely to enhancing Mexican-German trade relations, which involved very significant German and minimal Mexican exports. But between 1936 and 1938, Mexico opposed Hitler’s aggressive policies and especially German intervention in the Spanish Civil War. Hitler himself disdained all Latin Americans as “racially inferior.” He was otherwise apathetic toward Latin America, but expressed an occasional longing for its resources and trade opportunities.
Commercial exchange became vitally important to both Mexico and Germany after Mexico’s confiscation of foreign oil concessions in 1938. As Mexico confronted an international boycott of her oil exports, which endangered her program of economic development, she sold huge quantities of oil to Germany which helped to fuel the German war machine, notably during the late stages of the Spanish Civil War and during the invasions of France and the Low Countries in 1940. In exchange, Germany destined for Mexico materials that would be useful in railroad, oil industry, irrigation, utility, or other economic development projects. This thriving commerce ended with the outbreak of World War II when Mexico resumed the conduct of an increasingly anti-German policy. Somewhat fittingly, the sinking of Mexican oil tankers by German submarines led to a Mexican declaration of war against the Third Reich.
Volland’s superb research work is based upon such sources as Mexican and German archival materials and notably the diary of Hitler’s minister to Mexico. Bibliographical and footnote explanations are helpful indeed. Remarkably, Volland does not hesitate to question pointedly the findings of other scholars that appear to be out of place. But his style of presentation is somewhat convoluted.