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He reluctantly acquiesced to pleas for help to deal with revolts and armed hostilities by often powerful rulers whose lucrative slaving activities seemed at risk. German native military forces initially engaged in dozens of punitive expeditions to apprehend and punish freedom fighters, at times with British assistance.

At that time, the German penchant for giving muscle priority over patience contributed to continued unrest. Several of the African colonies remained powder kegs throughout this phase and beyond. In the first years of the 20th century shipping lines had established scheduled services with refrigerated holds and agricultural products from the colonies, exotic fruits and spices, were sold to the public in Germany.

The colonies were romanticized. Geologists and cartographers explored what were the unmarked regions on European maps, identifying mountains and rivers, and demarcating boundaries. Hermann Detzner and one Captain Nugent, R. There were also suspicions and reports of colonial malfeasance, corruption and brutality in some protectorates, and Lutheran and Roman Catholic missionaries dispatched disturbing reports to their mission headquarters in Germany.

German colonial diplomatic efforts remained commercially inspired, "the colonial economy was thriving The use of forced, unpaid labor went on the books as a criminal offense. Subsequent historians would commend German colonialism in those years as "an engine of modernization with far-reaching effects for the future. This led to the local tribes and natives losing their influence and power and eventually forced some of them to become slave laborers. Although slavery was partially outlawed in by Germany, this caused a great deal of resentment and led eventually to revolts by the native population [ further explanation needed ].

La Wehrmacht, Le IIIème Reich en Guerre - Documentaire Histoire

The result was several military and genocidal campaigns by the Germans against the natives. Both the colonial authorities and settlers were of the opinion that native Africans were to be a lower class, their land seized and handed over to settlers and companies, while the remaining population was to be put in reservations; the Germans planned to make a colony inhabited predominately by whites: The established merchants and plantation operators in the African colonies frequently managed to sway government policies. Capital investments by banks were secured with public funds of the imperial treasury to minimize risk.

Dernburg, as a former banker, facilitated such thinking; he saw his commission to also turn the colonies into paying propositions. Every African protectorate built rail lines to the interior, [30] every colony in Africa and the Pacific established the beginnings of a public school system, [31] and every colony built and staffed hospitals. Once war was declared in late July Britain and its allies promptly moved against the colonies.

The public was informed that German colonies were a threat because "Every German colony has a powerful wireless station — they will talk to one another across the seas, and at every opportunity they [German ships] will dash from cover to harry and destroy our commerce, and maybe, to raid our coasts. In the Pacific, Britain's ally Japan declared war on Germany in and quickly seized several of Germany's island colonies, the Mariana , Caroline and Marshall Islands , with virtually no resistance.

By only in remote jungle regions in East Africa did the German forces hold out. Smuts , now in Britain's small War Cabinet, spoke of German schemes for world power, militarisation and exploitation of resources, indicating Germany threatened western civilisation itself. Smuts' warnings were repeated in the press. The idea took hold that they should not be returned to Germany after the war. Germany's overseas empire was dismantled following defeat in World War I. With the concluding Treaty of Versailles , Article 22, German colonies were transformed into League of Nations mandates and divided between Belgium, the United Kingdom, and certain British Dominions, France and Japan with the determination not to see any of them returned to Germany — a guarantee secured by Article Belgium gained Ruanda-Urundi in northwestern German East Africa , the United Kingdom obtained by far the greater land mass of this colony, thus gaining the "missing link" in the chain of British possessions stretching from South Africa to Egypt Cape to Cairo , and Portugal received the Kionga Triangle , a sliver of German East Africa.

British placement of surrogate responsibility for former German colonies on white-settler dominions was at the time determined to be the most expedient option for the British government — and an appropriate reward for the Dominions having fulfilled their "great and urgent imperial service" through military intervention at the behest of and for Great Britain.

President Wilson saw the League of Nations as "'residuary trustee' for the [German] colonies" captured and occupied by "rapacious conquerors". In the s, some individuals and the German Colonial Society fought for the idea of colonialism. Settlement in Africa was not popular, and was not a focus for Hitler.

Established in , the Reichskolonialbund under Franz Ritter von Epp absorbed all colonial organizations and was meant to raise pro-colonial sentiments, public interest in former German colonies, and take part in political agitation. However, with the onset of World War II the organization entered a decline, before being disbanded by decree in for "activity irrelevant to the war".

There are hardly any special ties between modern Germany and its former colonies; for example, there is no postcolonial league comparable to the British Commonwealth of Nations or French Francophonie. In stark contrast with French and English, both of which are widely spoken across the continent by those of both African and European ancestry, the German language is not a significant language in Africa even within former colonies—although it is spoken by a significant minority of the population of Namibia.

Germany cooperates economically and culturally with many countries in Africa and Asia, independent of colonial history.

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Kaiser Wilhelm II understood and lamented his nation's position as colonial followers rather than leaders. In an interview with Cecil Rhodes in March he stated the alleged dilemma clearly: Germany has begun her colonial enterprise very late, and was, therefore, at the disadvantage of finding all the desirable places already occupied. The German colonists included people like Carl Peters who brutalized the local population. Nonetheless, Germany did assemble an overseas empire in Africa and the Pacific Ocean see List of former German colonies in the last two decades of the 19th century; "the creation of Germany's colonial empire proceeded with the minimum of friction.

Agreements and treaties with other colonial powers or interests followed, and fee simple purchases of land or island groups. The colonies were primarily commercial and plantation regions and did not attract large numbers of German settlers. The German colonial population numbered 5, in , and about 23, in After World War I, the military and "undesired persons" were expelled from the German protectorates. In the former colonies were inhabited by 16, Germans, of whom about 12, lived in the former Southwest African colony. In her African and South Seas colonies Germany established diverse biological and agricultural stations.

Staff specialists and the occasional visiting university group conducted soil analyses, developed plant hybrids , experimented with fertilizers , studied vegetable pests and ran courses in agronomy for settlers and natives and performed a host of other tasks. Research by bacteriologists Robert Koch and Paul Ehrlich and other scientists was funded by the imperial treasury and was freely shared with other nations.

More than three million Africans were vaccinated against smallpox. The German presence in Africa was vital for significant achievements in medicine and agriculture. Bernhard Dernburg, a former banker from Darmstadt , was appointed as the new secretary of the revamped colonial office.

Entrenched incompetents were screened out and summarily removed from office and "not a few had to stand trial. Replacing the misfits was a new breed of efficient, humane, colonial civil servant, usually the product of Dernburg's own creation, the Colonial Institute at Hamburg.


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During the Herero genocide Eugen Fischer , a German scientist, came to the concentration camps to conduct medical experiments on race, using children of Herero people and mulatto children of Herero women and German men as test subjects. In conclusion of his studies he advocated genocide of alleged "inferior races", stating that "whoever thinks thoroughly the notion of race, can not arrive at a different conclusion".


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In October , after 3 years of talks, the first skulls were due to be returned to Namibia for burial. Afterwards he researched the effects of these substances by performing autopsies on dead bodies. According to numerous historians, an important ideological component of German nationalism as developed by the intellectual elite was Social Darwinism. German colonial rule in Africa was an expression of nationalism and moral superiority that was justified by constructing an image of the natives as "Other". Germany's cultural-missionary project boasted that its colonial programs were humanitarian and educational endeavors.

In recent years scholars have debated the "continuity thesis" that links German colonialist brutalities to the treatment of Jews, Poles and Russians during World War II. Some historians argue that Germany's role in southwestern Africa gave rise to an emphasis on racial superiority at home, which in turn was used by the Nazis.

German colonial empire

Other scholars, however, are skeptical and challenge the continuity thesis. The limited successes of German colonialism overseas led to a decision to shift the main focus of German expansionism to Central and Eastern Europe , with the Mitteleuropa plan. Unlike the British or Spanish empires, Germany left very few traces of their own language or customs. As of today, no country outside of Europe has German as their official language, although in Namibia, German is a recognized national language and there are numerous German placenames and architectural structures in the country.

German colonialism therefore turned to the European continent. Subsequently, after the defeat of Russia during World War I, Germany acquired vast territories with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and created several administrative regions like Ober Ost. The E-mail Address es you entered is are not in a valid format.

German colonial empire - Wikipedia

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