Race, the Holocaust, and Postwar Germany
More than half a century before the mass executions of the Holocaust, Germany devastated the peoples of southwestern Africa. While colonialism might seem marginal to German history, new scholarship compares these acts to Nazi practices on the Eastern and Western fronts. With some of the most important essays from the past five years exploring the "continuity thesis," this anthology debates the links between German colonialist activities and the behavior of Germany during World War II. Some contributors argue the country's domination of southwestern Africa gave rise to perceptions of racial difference and superiority at home, building upon a nascent nationalism that blossomed into National Socialism and the Holocaust. Others remain skeptical and challenge the continuity thesis. The contributors also examine Germany's colonial past with debates over the country's identity and history and compare its colonial crimes with other European ventures. Other issues explored include the denial or marginalization of German genocide and the place of colonialism and the Holocaust within German and Israeli postwar relations.
A must-read for anyone interested in the relationship between colonialism and genocide. These contributors bring together diverse geographical settings, texts, and political opinionsan exciting cross-section of scholarly debate, with essays of lasting value.
Lora Wildenthal, Rice University
These well-argued and interesting essays place Germany's colonial history in a number of politically significant contexts. Most contributions focus on issues of continuitybetween colonialism and the Holocaust, the colonial empire and contemporary Germany, and overseas colonies and German expansion in Eastern Europe. Substantial differences are revealed between the interpretive approaches of the authorsincluding differences over the meaning of 'continuity' itself. Useful to scholars and students of different interests in a range of fields.
Woodruff D. Smith, University of Massachusetts, Boston, and author of German Colonial Empire and The Ideological Origins of Nazi Imperialism
The German colonial 'adventure' is understudied yet has its own complicated and difficult history, from German missionary societies to the post-wall impact of a colonial legacy, framed by Nazi racial politics, on German political ideology. Langbehn and Salama's first-rate collection frames the problem and even provides some tentative answers.
Sander L. Gilman, Emory University, author of Multiculturalism and the Jews
After many years of neglect, the study of the history of German colonialism is booming, stressing the global reach of German interests, the varying directions of German expansionism, and the aggressive drives behind German imperialism over a much longer period than previously considered. From a variety of ambitious and theoretically informed standpoints, these essays present German colonialism in a challenging new light.
Geoff Eley, University of Michigan, author of A Crooked Line: From Cultural History to the History of Society
...an original interactive collection of essays.
its essays prove that the study of German colonialism is crucial to understanding a wide range of central issues related to German history, and that the field is becoming increasingly more interdisciplinary and transnational, and, as a result, generating substantial insights.
German Colonialism is a state-of-the-art collection...The excellent, wide-ranging chapters quickly draw the reader into the most recent debates in literary and historical studies on German colonialism.
Eric D. Weitz
The essays pave the way for a broader spatial and temporal understanding of German colonialism in all of its myriad manifestations and it remains to be seen what new scholarship will arise from this collection.
Introduction: Reconfiguring German Colonialism, by Volker Langbehn and Mohammad Salama
Part I. Colonial (Dis)Continuities: Framing the Issue
1. Borrowed Light: Nietzsche and the Colonies, by Timothy Brennan
2. German Colonialism: Some Reflections on Reassessments, Specificities, and Constellations, by Birthe Kundrus
Part II. Lebensraum and Genocide
3. Against "Human Diversity as Such": Lebensraum and Genocide in the Third Reich, by Shelley Baranowski
4. Hannah Arendt, Imperialisms, and the Holocaust, by A. Dirk Moses
5. Caesura, Continuity, and Myth: The Stakes of Tethering the Holocaust to German Colonial Theory, by Kitty Millet
Part III. Looking East: Poland, the Ottoman Empire, and Politicized Jihadism
6. Germany's Adventures in the Orient: A History of Ambivalent Semicolonial Entanglements, by Malte Fuhrmann
7. Arguing the Case for a Colonial Poland, by Kristin Kopp
8. Colonialism, and No End: The Other Continuity Theses, by Russell A. Berman
Part IV. Of Missionaries, Economics, and Intranational Self-Perception
9. The Purpose of German Colonialism, or, the Long Shadow of Bismarck's Colonial Policy, by Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann
10. Christian Missionary Societies in the German Colonies, 1884/85-1914/15, by Ulrich van der Heyden
11. German Colonialism and the British Neighbor in Africa Before 1914: Self-Definitions, Lines of Demarcation, and Cooperation, by Ulrike Lindner
Part V. Postcolonial German Politics
12. "Kalashnikovs, Not Coca-Cola, Bring Self-Determination to Angola": The Two Germanys, Lusophone Africa, and the Rhetoric of Colonial Difference, by Luís Madureira
13. Germany, Palestine, Israel, and the (Post)Colonial Imagination, by Martin Braach-Maksvytis
List of Contributors