German Colonization


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. German Colonization is Number 42 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Section one of the book discusses the antecedents to modern German colonization, including the history of German migrations in Europe, emigration to Brazil, the United States and other New World countries, and the role of missionaries, explorers, scientific societies and others in kindling German interest in colonization. Section two deals with the late-19th century debate in Germany about colonization, covering both the reluctance of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck to get involved in colonial enterprises and the counterarguments made by advocates of a colonial policy. Section three discusses Germany’s role in the European “scramble for Africa” and such developments as the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1884 and the 1884−85 Congress of Berlin. Section four deals with Germany’s acquisition of the colonies of Southwest Africa, Togoland and Cameroon, German East Africa, New Guinea, and certain Pacific islands, as well as acquisition of the protectorate of Kiaochow in China. The final section covers the administration of these territories, at first under the German Foreign Office (1890−1907) and later under the Colonial Office (1907−14). The book, one of the longer volumes in the series, offers a succinct but thorough introduction to the subject. Germany lost all of its colonies in the peace settlement that followed World War I.

Last updated: July 21, 2014