Talk:German colonial empire

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Shouldn't this map have an english language key? This is after all a page on the english language Wikipedia.

I understand both languages, but agree, it should be in English. If someone has the source file, perhaps it can be modified.


The islands Neu-Brittanien, Neu-Irland and Admiralitäts-Inseln where do thea belong to?

Missionary Societies?[edit]

Were there any German missionary societies or groups à la Great Britian? If so, it would be an interesting adition.

Missing information[edit]

The article skips almost immediately from German unification to the Herero uprising in Namibia; no mention is made of the initial colonization efforts there or elsewhere in Africa, nor their impeti. This information is critical. Cjs2111 16:11, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Help with Herero and Namaqua genocide, and Lothar von Trotha[edit]

Some help would be appreciated on the Herero and Namaqua Genocide and Lothar von Trotha articles, as there's just two editors (myself and one other) active right now, and we're going nowhere fast! Even if you don't want to get involved actively, keeping a watch on the page would be appreciated. Greenman 20:06, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

The German Colonial Empire[edit]

This is an article on the German Colonial Empire. As the definition in the opener says, "The German colonial empire was an overseas area formed in the late 19th century as part of the Hohenzollern dynasty's German Empire".

The stuff on the Augsburg banking families, the Margraviate of Brandenburg, and the Habsburg Monarchy's Austrian territories within the Holy Roman Empire, are neither the German Colonial Empire, nor its precursors. They do not belong in this article.

The phenomenon of the German colonial empire began with Germany's unification.

The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick t 23:07, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Rather than removing the information altogether, perhaps you could move the disputed content to List of former German colonies. Olessi (talk) 22:12, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
The information is there already, if you take the time to read the article you refer to. The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick t 00:45, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
That article has nothing about the Curonian or Austrian ventures. Olessi (talk) 18:24, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

This is a WTF question[edit]

"William II, German Emperor, was so frustrated by the defeat of his European generals that he declared that Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, the German general in charge in East Africa, should be the only German officer allowed to lead his soldiers in a victory parade through the Brandenburg Gate. Vorbeck was the only undefeated German general of the war, and the only one to set foot in British territory." -OK, since Lettow-Vorbeck's army didn't "put itself at the disposal of the allied powers" (he never techically surrendered) until the rest of Germany (including Wilhelm II) had collapsed; how can this make any sense? Except displaying an example of Hohenzollern sarcasm at it's most bitter? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:51, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Lettow – Vorbeck returned to Germany in 1919, Wilhelm fled to the Netherlands in November 1918. Whoever decided to organize a victory parade at the Brandenburg Gate, it wasn´t Wilhelm II. ( (talk) 11:03, 5 March 2008 (UTC))

Long Term Consequences[edit]

The provided source by User:Molobo states the opposite of Molobo´s entry: The source speaks of "a first hypothesis" and a "rather experimental hypothesis" when arguing on long term consequences and in the conclusion argues, "German colonial heritage ... (was) of minor importance.." for German directions after 1914. Thus the change. --ThePiedCow (talk) 10:59, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Here are some direct quotes from the paper by Helmut Bley, an academic of colonial Africa at the University of Hanover:

  • "It can be argued — at least as a first hypothesis, that another line of indirect continuity, should be taken more seriously, the relationship between the experience of a threatened and then lost colonial empire during World War I." (11)
  • "I may add a rather experimental hypothesis: I would try to link those militaristic colonial policies in the East with tendencies in the German army in the early 20th century including the experience of the colonial wars." (11)
  • "In conclusion it can be argued that the German colonial heritage and especially traditions of colonial revisionism were of minor importance for the continuities and directions German expansionism took after 1914." (13)

Bley suggests connections between German colonial Africa and Lebensraum. It is fine to mention a possible connection within the article, but it is imbalanced to extrapolate upon that, especially since Bley only hypothesizes a connection. If the reader is interested in Bley's theory, s/he can read his writings and make their own determination. Olessi (talk) 00:45, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

It's improper to delete all of this information. Additional sources can be provided if needed, but I see no reason to delete scholary work on the subject. The subject is notable, encyclopedic, scholary and presents vital info on origins of German practice of ethnic cleansing and genocide that went from Africa to Europe. The same origins are mentioned in The Ideological Origins of Nazi Imperialism By Woodruff D. Smith, A Low Dishonest Decade: The Great Powers, Eastern Europe, and the Economic Origins of World War Ii, 1930-1941 (Hardcover)by Paul N. Hehn , Germany's Colonial Pasts By Eric Ames, Marcia Klotz, Lora Wildenthal,Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction by Robert Young to name just a few. I see no reason to delete information how genocide and ethnic cleansing of German colonialism influenced German genocide and ehtnic cleansing in Europe. This is sourced, notable and essential part of the article. --Molobo (talk) 03:00, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

My concern is with the way you presented the information initially. You added a considerable number of potentially controversial statements and provided a single source. An examination of that source indicates the author (Bley) hypothesized about a connection and concluded the connection was minor; you presented his hypothesis as if it were a widely accepted conclusion. Whether his theory is accurate or not is not the point. What is important is verifiability, which was not possible based on your single original source. Olessi (talk) 05:56, 6 March 2008 (UTC) Don't worry Olessi as you see I already provided several other sources at request, more will come. Do to your suggestion I will segrate the various sources regarding influence of German colonialism on German policy.--Molobo (talk) 08:27, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Alot of Noise[edit]

There should be a detailed map outlining the places Germany held in the height of its colonization era. It would be useful, relevant, clear to use, unlike the format it is in now. If someone can add the places Germany held in its era of Imperialism, that would be helpful

done. --Auntieruth55 (talk) 23:38, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Giveaway and Herero revolt[edit]

(1) Removed W.M. Hughes’ astonishment “to find that the Big Four planned to give German New Guinea to Japan.” No citation is offered. There is nothing in the literature that I have seen that supports this Big Four largesse towards Japan -or- Hughes being “astounded” over such a proposal. Japan’s presentation of claims to the Supreme Council at the Paris Peace Conference consisted of taking over German rights in Shantung and annexation of the German islands north of the equator.

(2) I proffer to remove the Herero genocide sentence. While verifiable and specific to the German South West Africa page and other pages where the genocide is belabored, it is out of place in this general survey of German colonies -- and further, it seems to have been inserted here and massaged by an avowed atrocity connoisseur pushing his agenda.

--Gamahler (talk) 23:48, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

No reaction; will remove (2) above.--Gamahler (talk) 01:24, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
Strongly disagree, a mention of one of the most significant events of German colonial rule is certainly not out of place. Your language elsewhere and use of the word "belabored" here in response to the near-extinction of a people, while your contributions that go into great detail to describe the "great" shipping lines, idealistic colonists, beautiful cities, etc, indicates a certain lack of perspective. Greenman (talk) 22:41, 25 May 2009 (UTC)


Herero Genocide, and legacy of German colonialism. Both are notable topics and are sourced by scholary works.--Molobo (talk) 17:58, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Notable nonsense[edit]

Reverted user:Molobo’s Christmas Day bushwhacking of the GeCoEm entry. As stated before, the Herero revolt and genocide was a limited event in a specific geographic region. The tactics of the repression were usurped by the theater commander. All this is exposed on dedicated pages, but is out of place on this page.

Helmut Bley’s hypothesis was put to bed some time ago; clarifications were offered by several editors. User:Molobo should reread that section until comprehension is attained.

To continue: maneuvering efforts of colonization during the imperialistic scramble-era into WWII exploitation of the Slavs as colonial legacy is absurd and notable only as an example of nonsense. The undated Hitler quote fails as a source that imperial colonial experience was the granddaddy of a Nazi empire – but its inclusion here explains the tortured mental processes of those searching for sinister intentions in everything German. It is outright dishonest for user:Molobo to push his POV and then hide behind a duo of labels he likes to throw around, i.e., "scholarly" and "notable," neither of which seem to be within his grasp.

--Gamahler (talk) 02:01, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree with the removal of this information, on the basis that it is not a mainstream point of view and mentioning it would be giving it undue weight (though please assume good faith and don't make personal attacks). The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick t 02:12, 30 December 2008 (UTC)


This article is severely biased. A casual read indicates that the Germans were absolutely benevolent masters, their conquered were entirely happy with their lot, and the Allies just looking to take advantage with malevolent propaganda, etc. Of course victorious Allied propaganda needs perspective, but the perspective in this article is highly skewed. No mention of the genocide, one of the most notable events of German colonial rule, but other minor positive details, such as the supposed "new breed of efficient, humane, colonial civil servant", are listed and cited in abundance. Greenman (talk) 22:29, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

There were three distinct phases along the German learning curve in African colonies. The last phase was - according to the referenced literature - the one laced with advancement and progress. It was in this last phase with secretaries Dernburg, Lindequist and Solf, where “more was accomplished in less than five years what previous German administrations had failed to do in two decades.” The sarcasm about “happy conquered” and “new breed“ is noted. It is a quote, will be corrected in the text and could be factual.
Previous visitors to this page also insisted that the relatively brief Herero interlude was the primary feature of German colonialism, that it was a rehearsal for the destruction of European Jewry, etc., etc. The Herero revolt and genocide (Charles Miller calls it a ‘near-genocide’) was limited to SWA. Yes, thousands (‘hundreds’ according to one British report at the time) were killed or starved in military operations ordered by Lothar von Trotha. There was no universal ‘genocide’ or ‘near-genocide’ or a Trotha in Samoa, Togo, New Guinea, Kiautschou, GEA, or the north Pacific islands to elevate ‘genocide’ to marquee billing in this general review of the German Colonial Empire.--Gamahler (talk) 20:09, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Have restored mention of the "relatively brief" genocide, in the correct phase of the three you describe. Brevity has nothing to do with historical noteworthiness. The atomic bomb explosion, although only lasting a fraction of a second, was a noteworthy event in Nagasaki's history, for example. The genocide is also mentioned in the even more high-level German Empire article, and of course is more noteworthy than relatively unimportant quotes about British colonialists views of German colonialists, which are given undue weight in the article. The article seems more of a defensive response to British colonial criticism of the time than an objective mention of what occurred under German colonialism. The perspective of the colonised is almost non-existent. Just count the number of mentions of "Britain" or "British" in the article, compared with a mention of an important event in one of Germany's own colonies. Whether the genocide was THE most notable event in German colonial history is debatable, but not important - it was clearly A notable event. Greenman (talk) 22:58, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Massacres are always notable, even if we don't want them to be. BillMasen (talk) 13:53, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
The Nagasaki analogy is breathtaking. Whether the actions were THE or A is indeed debatable, but in wiki-world it is not. Louis writes: “In 1904 General von Trotha brutally suppressed the uprising of the Hereros, an event that caused much more indignation in England during the First World War than at the time.” ‘Britain’ or ‘British’ throughout should be no surprise; German colonialism allegedly was nothing other than a Bismarckian plot to twist the British lion’s tail, to foil Pax Britannica everywhere. So, ok. Res ipsa loquitur, the thing [the brutal suppression] speaks for itself.--Gamahler (talk) 17:13, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
No-one is against noting massacres that occurred under the British Empire. I can't believe people are seriously saying it shouldn't be ntoed here. BillMasen (talk) 19:35, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

I have neutralised the tone of the article, but the content is still unfairly favourable to the empire. BillMasen (talk) 10:57, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Much better, thank you! Greenman (talk) 14:50, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Agree with people having problems with the article. It lacks information about several atrocities, exploitation and portays colonist discrimination and exploitation of native people in what seems to be positive light. It also lacks section on legacy of German colonialism and influence it had on German thinking and ideas--Molobo (talk) 14:03, 30 May 2009 (UTC).

Is there an article parallel to this one on

I would agree that it is unusual that the Herero genocide does not even get its own subsection, with a clear link to the (well-written and well-researched) wikipedia article devoted to the genocide itself. It is certainly one of the first things that come to mind when the German colonial empire is spoken of. Feketekave (talk) 11:08, 29 June 2009 (UTC)


Gave a better formulation regarding the German genocide of Herero, also taged controversial claims. --Molobo (talk) 14:08, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Article misses opposition within Germany[edit]

In general the article misses opposition within Germany that opposed colonisation across the seas and sought to gain territories for colonization in Central Europe.--Molobo (talk) 14:15, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Improvements still needed[edit]

I've added some tweaks, and additional information -- a map, a picture, some links, and some copy editing, too -- to smooth out some of this article's issues. It really could use expansion in the first half, in the areas of the three phases: merchant company's and their exploitation, exploration and identification of resources, and so on. These processes may have been different in the Niger valley than they were in, for example Kaiserwilhelmsland. Probably also should have some mention of the Lutheran and Catholic missions, and their impact on the colonial movement. I did take out the Hohenzollern phrase -- it implied that the German empire was a Hohenzollern proposition, which it was not. Wilhelm may have wanted to be emperor, but his grandpa did not, and accepted it with very limited enthusiasm. --Auntieruth55 (talk) 03:37, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

CO - Colonial overhaul[edit]

Reverted User:Feketekave’s revision. The cited literature identifies the described colonial phase and the Reichstag’s actions as "complete overhaul" of the colonial bureaucracy. If user:F has a source that identifies the described phase and the Reichstag legislation for all the colonies as "Genocide. Changes in policy," that source can be posted in addition to the cited "Colonial overhaul." Further, this section already links to the Herero genocide page.--Gamahler (talk) 21:30, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Was there or wasn't there a Herero genocide? Incidentally, we can choose whatever section titles we desire, as long as they describe the content of the section; to insist on sources for them (should ze copy chapter titles?) is ridiculous. The central fact here is the Herero genocide; the response to it is, by definition, something secondary. Feketekave (talk) 15:11, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Agree with Feketekave's comment above. However, there are valid edits in both versions that are being lost. The latest version after Feketekave's edit is a better starting point, so will make a few changes to that. Greenman (talk) 15:23, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
That's a lovely work of inserting apologetics for German colonial rule, by the way, Gamahler. Feketekave (talk) 20:52, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Map of colonial possessions[edit]

Pat considers this map “horrible” (inserted by Auntieruth). In my view, as a map, it is actually quite good; its reproduction offends visual clarity, thus the problem. The different color-coded squares at bottom left represent the comparative sizes of various empires in 1905, the small squares within the larger squares show the relative landmass of the mother country to its empire. At bottom right, the same for populations. The largest box, pinkish, guess who, followed by the Russian, French, Ottoman, German, Belgian, Portuguese, Dutch, etc. empires. This map, with explanation, could be a valuable addition to a general page on empires or colonialism.–Gamahler (talk) 18:24, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

In thumbnail form, which it will be viewed as the majority of the time, it is useless as a map to enable the reader to understand the spread of the German colonies. The prior map does not suffer from this problem. The headline map should be simple and should not require the reader to zoom in to get the general idea. Note the British Empire map, which I authored, functions equally well in thumb and zoom modes. The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick t 18:52, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Good work on the British Empire map. Auntieruth, I am sure, replaced the prior map in good faith last June. I merely changed the caption to reflect what the map actually shows: a snap shot of all empires in 1905. In my opinion, appropriately sized for readability, it contains useful information as a comparison document. Nevertheless, I agree that this map is not a good fit for this page.–Gamahler (talk) 21:42, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

The article is highly disturbing[edit]

Whole sections read like the worst justifications about conquest of other nations and support of colonialism. This source: Miller, Charles (1974). Battle for the Bundu. The First World War in East Africa is heavily used to support this with strange quotes taken from it apparently? Does anyone know the credentials of the author? --MyMoloboaccount (talk) 23:54, 14 September 2010 (UTC)


There are three men in the photo of Claussen. Only two are named. I cannot make out who the other named man is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:38, 18 November 2010 (UTC) One might be a translator. It is not obvious which is Paul. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:42, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Recent Edits[edit]

Ok first: There is no reason for a POV tag, as nobody gave a meaningful reason for it (beside this strange rant by Molobo). 2.: There was never a consensus for the addition of this strange paragraph about the experiments of a _single_ scientists. This is an article about a very wide topic, the German colonial empire, and the Herero genocide has already a prominent place. Another big paragraph in such a article about the experiments of a _single_ scientist is definitive off the scale per undue weight. Looking at the talkpage it is obviously clear that nobody was for this addition, so speaking of a "consensus" is just a straw man. It may be sourced appropriately, but it better belongs in the right sub-article (where it already is, so nothing gets lost!). So there is no reason to include this in such prominent place, as this is an overview article about the empire, and this guy is in no way relevant enough to the empire itself, that he deserves such a big paragraph in an overview article like this. So please dont let this become a senseless edit war.StoneProphet (talk) 22:04, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

If you want to remove admittedly referenced material, then you need a positive consensus to do that. If other editors agree with you it will go. Otherwise it will stay. BillMasen (talk) 01:40, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

Well, i presented my arguments. Here is nobody to make a consensus, therefore this consensus thing makes no sense. If you want, we can make a consensus. I didnt removed sourced material, it is still in an other article, the article where it really belongs into. As i said, this guy is not important enough for the whole empire to add a big paragraph about him twice into wikipedia in such a big overview article. StoneProphet (talk) 20:24, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

Overhaul Needed[edit]

This is the poorest quality article I have read in a long lime. Amongst its many problems are a constant shift in terms and perspective indicative of someone copy and pasting hap-haphazardly from various articles without consideration for information around it. The article also has several instances of redundancy and contradiction, sometimes within the same paragraph. And there are so many grammatical and syntax errors, and run on sentences the article is nearly unreadable. I suggest a complete overhaul. - Krikkit — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:47, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Not all European nations were colonial powers[edit]

I restored some deleted information and expanded it. Also it is worth mentioning that not all major European nations were colonial powers-Russia or Austria weren't involved that much in colonies. --MyMoloboaccount (talk) 16:33, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Wasn't east siberia colonized by Russia? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:27, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Fischer, et al.[edit]

Removed the entire paragraph on the assorted rogue activities of Eugen Fischer and others in SWA. No source is provided that Fischer represented colonial policy; i.e., nothing states that he was appointed by Wilhelm II, the chancellor, the head of the colonial department or any of the governors from Africa to Oceania. Fischer graces/disgraces his own page, but has no place in this, a broad overview of the German colonial empire.TrinityGate (talk) 05:05, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

rogue--?? that is TrinityGate's personal POV that he used to erase a fully sourced summary of recent scholarship. To show he is a rogue some RS will be needed. Actually there are at least a half dozen scholarly books in English that analyze his role and link it to mainstream German science. See for example 1) Shelley Baranowski, Nazi Empire: German Colonialism and Imperialism... (2010) Page 191; 2) René Lemarchand - Forgotten Genocides: Oblivion, Denial, and Memory 2011 - Page 54; 3) Hutton, Race and the Third Reich: Linguistics, Racial Anthropology... (2005) Page 68 4) Davis says, Eugen Fischer was one of "three important conduits through which colonial ideas and methods were transferred from German South West Africa" Davis, Colonialism, Antisemitism, and Germans of Jewish Descent (2011) Page 19.; 5) Campt, Other Germans: Black Germans And the Politics of Race... (2005) Page 39. Rjensen (talk) 05:21, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
What I removed from “Growth” were 200 words or so of abysmal language: cranky rebuttal arguments against every sentence with a hint of progressive governance. My second removal did not question the scholarship cited, but it charges “undue weight” as to the relevance of Fischer and his helpers to the subject covered, the entire colonial realm. Eugen Fischer cannot be found in any index of history volumes from Togo to Kiautschou. Since Fischer has his own page, all activities in his corner of SWA are catalogued in detail for the wiki readership -- but he has no business on this page. TrinityGate (talk) 03:38, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Fischer's role is considered important by the RS -- see my post above for citations to 5 recent books--which is the criteria Wiipedia uses for inclusion. TrinityGate has provided not one RS that support his POV claims that Fischer is unimportant.Rjensen (talk) 07:02, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Louis as a Source[edit]

Can anybody expand on the source "Louis" that's used quite a bit here? The citations lack the author's first name and doesn't mention the book it is sourced from. I'm questioning some of the relevance and context used, however it's impossible to find a book without a title and only a common surname to work with. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jtgelt (talkcontribs) 03:12, 18 July 2014 (UTC)