National states and international science: A comparative history of international science congresses in Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, and cold war United States.
Prior studies of modern scientific internationalism have been written primarily from the point of view of scientists, with little regard to the influence of the state. This study examines the state's role in international scientific relations. States sometimes encouraged scientific internationalism; in the mid-twentieth century, they often sought to restrict it. The present study examines state involvement in international scientific congresses, the primary intersection between the national and international dimensions of scientists' activities. Here we examine three comparative instances in which such restrictions affected scientific internationalism: an attempt to bring an international aerodynamics congress to Nazi Germany in the late 1930s, unsuccessful efforts by Soviet geneticists to host the Seventh International Genetics Congress in Moscow in 1937, and efforts by U.S. scientists to host international meetings in 1950s cold war America. These case studies challenge the classical ideology of scientific internationalism, wherein participation by a nation in a scientist's fame spares the scientist conflict between advancing his science and advancing the interests of his nation. In the cases we consider, scientists found it difficult to simultaneously support scientific universalism and elitist practices. Interest in these congresses reached the top levels of the state, and access to patronage beyond state control helped determine their outcomes.