Heinrich Class, president of the League from 1908 to 1939
The organization was created in 1891 as a response to the
Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty. Ernst Hasse was its first president, and was succeeded by
Heinrich Class in 1908. The industrialist
Emil Kirdorf was also a founding member.
The creation of the Pan-German League was preceded by a similar organization. In 1886, Dr.
Carl Peters unofficially had created a "German League" under which many national organizations converged. However, this league fell apart when Carl Peters left Germany for Liverpool. Later, the Pan-German League was created in the wake of the
Zanzibar Treaty. This treaty, signed between Great Britain and Germany, concerned territorial issues in
East Africa. This treaty coupled with
Bismarck’s fall from power provided the impetus to form a new German nationalistic outlet. Thus league emerged to bolster the nationalist movement. Membership included an annual fee of one mark. Hasse worked to save the league, bringing it back to life by issuing the Pan face-German Leaves, which spread the ideals of
The aim of the Alldeutscher Verband was to protest against government decisions which they believed could weaken Germany. A strong element of its ideology included
social Darwinism. The Verband wanted to uphold German
racial hygiene and were against breeding with so-called inferior races like the
Slavs. Agitation against Poles was a central focus for the Pan-German League.
 The agitations of the Alldeutscher Verband influenced the German government and generally supported the foreign policy developed by
Otto von Bismarck.
One of the prominent members of the league was the sociologist
Max Weber who, at the League's congress in 1894 argued that Germanness (Deutschtum) was the highest form of civilization. Weber left the league in 1899 because he felt it did not take a radical enough stance against Polish migrant workers in Germany.
 Later Weber went on to become one of the most prominent critics of German expansionism and of the
Kaiser's war policies.
 He publicly attacked the
Belgian annexation policy and
unrestricted submarine warfare and later supported calls for constitutional reform, democratisation and
The position of Pan-German league gradually evolved into biological racism, with belief that Germans are "superior race", and Germans need protection from mixing with other races, particularly Jews.
 By 1912 in the publication "If I were the Kaiser," Class called on Germans to conquer eastern territories inhabited by "inferior"
Slavs, depopulate their territories and
settle German colonists there.
 There were also calls for expulsion of Poles living in
The Alldeutscher Verband had an enormous influence on the German government during
World War I, when they opposed democratization and were in favour of unlimited
submarine war. Opponents of the Verband were called cowards. Influential figures in the Alldeutscher Verband founded the
Vaterlandspartei in 1917 following the request of the majority of the German parliament to begin peace negotiations with the allies.
After World War I, the Alldeutscher Verband supported General
Erich Ludendorff in his accusation against democrats and socialists that they had betrayed Germany and made the Germans lose the war. According to Ludendorff and the Verband, the army should not have been held responsible for the German defeat. Ludendorff, however, had declared that the war was lost in October 1918, before the German
November Revolution. That fanciful allegation was known the "
Stab-in-the-back myth" (Dolchstosslegende).
Membership in the league was overwhelmingly composed of middle- and upper-class males. Most members' occupations reflected the League's emphasis on education, property ownership and service to the state.
The Alldeutscher Verband was dissolved in 1939.