Whatare the Forces that Led to Colonialism and Sustained it precisely theExtension of German Colonialism in Africa?
TheGerman colonialism dates between the late nineteenth century and theearly twentieth century where the Europeans spanned the globe in aquest for territory. These colonies were acquired as strategic andcommercial dependencies and were controlled by European states andthrough this much about the European imperial state was revealed. Inthis paper, colonialism is painted as a desire for colonialpossessions while imperialism is the dominance of corporatesocieties. The two energies show the extension of power by theEuropeans on the non-Europeans. This research paper seeks to revealforces that bring about colonialism and sustain it precisely theextension of German colonialism in Africa. Examining specific actionscarried out by German in African colonialism will reveal their waysof ruling. Studying German colonialism is essential because thedynamism and the harsh rule they use to colonize make it more thanthe just anomaly of the history of European.
Thenature of German colonialism (direct rule) made the Germans struggleto establish successful colonies overseas. Some of the ways in whichthey ruled were by use of punitive and excessive force.
Thescramble for and partition of Africa began with the Berlin conferencein 1884 which made a regulation to the trade and the ruling ofEuropeans (Patrick, 1985).With the growth of European economies,industrialization and search for supremacy, there was the increasedneed for overseas colonies in Europe. Germany could not be left out,and it was also in the race for the scramble and partition of Africa.During the scramble and partition, though, Germany was a latecomer,and it ended up getting a smaller number of colonies compared toother European nations. Various reasons led to the catch up of theGerman. The German states did not concentrate on Navy development.The Navy was a crucial part or factor in the acquisition of colonialterritories. It would help in transfer and supply of militaryequipment from Europe to the targeted areas. It would also serve as ameans of transportation and communication between the colonies andthe countries in Europe. German colonies were established based onreasons that a major colonial power should not show interest in apotential colonization area. They also had to be located in the exactarea within another kulturvolk because German had the tendency oflosing their identity in such an environment. Thirdly, the regionshad to be suitable so as to establish settlement colonies so that itwould be possible for them to build the German nation methodically onforeign soil (Arne, 2004).
Therewas no unity in German states, and each state had its ambitionsdifferent from the others. The only goal that unified them at thattime was majorly securing their German interests in Europe. Theseparate German states did not have synchronized political andforeign policy structures. As a result, the above factors hinderedcooperation.
Therewas certain need for colonies overseas and Germany could not be leftbehind. Colonizing countries got the raw materials from the colonies.(Leuan, 1986) Colonizing countries acquired raw materials from thecolonies. The colonies were a source of cheap raw materials for thecolonizing countries. It was during this time for the scramble andpartition that industries were booming in Europe which meant thatthey had a ‘hunger’ for raw materials which Europe alone wouldnot provide adequately this led to colonization so as to obtain rawmaterials. The colonies also provided cheap labor because subjectswould only get small wages and they would work to get certainprivileges. There was also search for prestige. A country that hadmore overseas colonies was deemed superior in some way during thatperiod. The drive for this glory created the scramble and partition.The need to spread civilization was also one of the motives. Peoplein the colonies were thought to be ‘backward, ‘and the colonialnations though that it was their responsibility to enlighten them andcivilize them so that they would intern bring civilization. Strategicadvantages were also very crucial. This was regarding controllingtrade routes, countries that controlled certain trade routes enjoyedprivileges and safety of their business men. This would also provevaluable when transportation of military and weapons was needed. Thecolonies were investment destinations. Various industries would beset up in the colonies products from which would serve the Europeanmarkets since the goods from these parts were cheap. The colonieswere also markets for the products manufactured in the imperialcountries. With the growing population in Europe, there was the needto settle the surplus people in these acquired colonies. This was toease pressure on the existing resources and land space that wasdrastically becoming scarce.
TheBerlin conference was set up by Otto Von Bismarck in Berlin to see toit that the scramble and partition did not lead to differences in thecountries racing for colonies in Africa and other associatedterritories. (Wesseling, 2005) Berlin Conference holding used to bebetween the months of November 1884 to February 1885. The essence wasto create a formula upon which there would be the division ofcolonies. This organization drew particular rules regardingcolonization. Before a nation would occupy any territory, it wouldfirst notify other countries before settling down. The Congo basinwas declared free for trade to take place regardless the countryinvolved. The Niger and Congo rivers were declared free fornavigation. Also, it addressed the issue of the slave trade, and theycame to an agreement that slave trade would be eliminated by land andby sea. It upheld the principle that there had to be practicaloccupations to validate the annexations.
SinceGermany entered the scramble and partition late, it did not have manycolonies like other countries such as Britain which had a largenumber. The following are the territories that the Germansadministered. The German East Africa Territory – This was composedof Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi. The German South West Africa whichwas mainly made up of modern-day Namibia, the Germany West Africa(Cameroon) consisted of Cameroon, parts of Gabon, Congo, Nigeria,Chad and the Central African Republic.
TheGermans imposed direct rule unlike other colonizers like the Britonswho employed indirect rule and the French, assimilation (W.O, 1993).There were a lot of controversies with the direct rule in the Germanterritories. For example, in Namibia local leaders were notappreciated. Also in some German colonies, there was widespread slavelabor. It was not until 1905 that there was the slave labor partialoutlaw. This had brought a lot of resistance and rebellions in thecolonies, for instance, Namibia and Tanganyika. Even though there wasgreater control of the territory in the direct rule, the method hadits disadvantages. The direct method was usually very expensive sincethey had to have German administrators from top to down whichconsumed a lot of expenses. This process also made them face a lot ofresistances from the subjects. It was easier to administer at thelower levels using the natives than the German colonial agents
Germanfaced opposition during colonialism which is evident in Maji Majirebellion. This was an armed resistance against the German rule inEast Africa modern day Tanzania. The primary or the cause was mainlybecause of the German policy which forced the natives to grow cottonfor export, and it lasted between 1905 and 1907(Illife,1967).In EastAfrica, the Germans did not have a stronghold, but they had fortsthroughout the interior to maintain its grip on power in the entirecolony. This was another factor that made them use punitive tacticsto sustain control over the population. At around 1898 the Germansstarted head taxation forced labor for the construction ofinfrastructures like roads and other structures followed.
Therewas an introduction of the growth of cotton in 1902 by Carl Peterswho ordered villages to grow cotton for export. Production of thecotton was left to be overseen by the headmen. Each community wasrequired to produce a quota of cotton. Leaving the headmen in chargeof cotton production made the population dislike them and see them asbetrayers. The introduction of these policies had devastating effectson the social lives of the indigenous population. The women were nowtaking roles that were carried out by the men in the society. Takinggentlemen away from their villages to provide labor, since they werethe only providers, left the villages derived from certain essentialthings.
In1905, there was a drought. This combined with the current animositywith the colonial government sparked the start of the rebellion ataround July that time.
`Magic`united the rebellious people. A spiritual leader medium namedKinjikitile Ngwale was the prime mover of the resistance. Ngwale madethe locals believe that Hongo, a snake spirit, had possessed him. Hedeveloped the ideology and belief that the people of Tanganyika hadbeen summoned to eliminate the Germans. He then developed a‘medicine’ made of castor oil mixed with millet seeds. This socalled medicine was meant to turn bullets into water.
Therevolution started out with the Matumbi people marching from theirvillages and destroying cotton crop as well as trading posts. Theresult was that Kinjikitile was arrested and hanged but before thathe declared that the ‘medicine ‘had already spread throughout theentire region. On August 14, 1905, Ngindo tribe people attacked asmall group of missionaries and speared them to death. Among them wasRoman Catholic Bishop of Dar es Salaam. The attacks then continued,and rebels moved throughout the colony attacking German garrisons. OnAugust the 16th, Ifakara, a small German garrison was destroyed. Thismade the garrison at Mahenge to fortify. At Mahenge, there were twoattacks because the attacking tribes failed to agree on the time theywould carry on their attacks. The first one was curbed with 15minutes of fire and they retreated, the second one, the attackers ofthe garrison were able to get within three paces of the firing linebefore their killing.
TheNgoni people then joined the uprising at almost this time. The Germantroops from Mahenge who were armed with machine guns later subduedthem. Later on, the governor of the German East Africa requested backup. Reinforcements arrived from various places including New Guinea.There was posting of three groups to the south where they destroyedeverything that had aided the rebels including crops. At some point,the rebels staged a successful ambush at River Rufiji. By April 1906,the German troops had managed to calm down the southwest. In thesouth- east guerilla tactics were used, and it was around this timethat Von Gotzen introduced a policy that he could pardon those thatwould surrender and hand over their weapons.
Inthe year 1907 in August, the war ended.15 Europeans were left dead,around 389 native soldiers, tens of thousands of insurgents andinnocent bystanders also died (Hull, 2004). Many were left displacedfrom their homes. It was also the start of nationalism for Tanganyikaas a whole as it was used by nationalists to unite people ofTanzania. There was massive depopulation in the regions of southernTanganyika. There is an estimation of around 75000 people were leftdead while others were left crippled for the entire of their lives. Alot of property underwent destruction. Cotton was destroyed anduprooted during the uprising. The villages got destroyed, andMatumbi, Ngoni, and Wangido occupied them. German buildings in thecoastal towns of Samanga were also burnt down. The war hindered tradeand other commercial activities during the period. There were reformsby the German government. Governor Rechenburg made in charge ofabolishing forced labor and using African administrators to a largeextent. The German government reinforced its military to enforcesecurity, law, and order in the colony. This gave birth to the use ofindirect rule by the Germans like their British counterparts appliedin the neighboring Kenya.
Variousfactors led Herero people to oppose the German colonialism. To beginwith, the Germans did not respect African leaders, and this made themunite their people against the Germans (Dedering,1993). Also, grabbedland from the natives was given to the white settlers especially in1897 without the consent of community chiefs. The Germans ruled theHerero people by force and Nama traditional chiefs. This made theindigenous leaders feel like they had lost their power in theirrespective communities. Moreover, there was confiscation of cattlethat belonged to the indigenous people because German traderspersuaded the Herero people to take goods on credit which intern theycould not pay back because they couldn’t raise the repayment. Heavyand ‘unknown’ taxes were on charge and defaulters were beingflogged. The natives did not like these taxation policies. The cattleraiding which was practiced regularly by the German settlers, armedtroops and traders caused bitterness among the Herero and Nam people.The charismatic leadership of Samuel Maharero and Hendrick Witbooiwho provided the leadership required for the rebellion. The fact thatthere was the pushing of Africans to small areas which wereunproductive and unsuitable for survival made Herero people disagree.
Thisrevolution of the people of Herero was in Namibia between 1904 up to1907. For this case, the Germans ruled with oppression, and theyundermined the culture of the Herero people. This intern led to theirSamuel Maharero to order the extermination of the Germans excludingthe English, missionaries, Basters, Berg-Damaras and missionaries. On12th of January, they invaded Okahadja and killed one hundred andtwenty-, three people most of them Germans. The attacks escalated,and the Germans were forced out of their farms to urban areas wherethey could easily get protection.
KaiserWilhelm, the second of Germany was so much determined to defeatHerero. He ordered thousands of troops under the guidance of GeneralLothar. This made them corner the Herero at Waterberg, and the Hererowere defeated. In 1905, another uprising rose again but with the useof guerrilla tactics they managed to engage the Germans for over twoyears. During these periods all Nama and Herero people were taken inas prisoners of war in concentration camps. They were then used asslave labor to build infrastructure including railways, docks, andbuildings. In fact, most of the buildings today in Namibia underwentconstruction during these times as the prisoners were used to provideslave labor. The conditions of the concentration camps were so badthat half of the population died. Humiliation losses accompanied bythe public outcry by the people in Germany meant the war andeverything had to come to an end. Governor Friederich declared thewar officially over.
Effectsof the rebellion included the following. The number of people thatlost their lives was very high. For example commander, Van Trothaordered the killing of any Nama and Herero men whether armed or not.There was the murder of some German soldiers in the war. Moreland wasoffered the German settlers after the defeat of the Nama and Herero.In Namaqua, a policy came up that all land that was availablebelonged to the Germans. The Kalahari Desert, which ideally didn’tsupport individual residence, became a home for those who survived.Others were the push to Botswana where they remained homeless with nocattle. Also, it gave insight to nationalists that followed on theright paths to choose in order to obtain independence. There was anincrement in forced labor. More Herero and Nama people were compelledto offer free labor in German farms.
Theend of German rule in Africa began when fellow colonizers likeBritain started doubting Germany’s ability to handle subjectmatters. There was also the issue that Germany offered little valuein territorial transactions. In the Pacific, in 1914, Japan declaredwar on Germany and immediately seized some of its colonies withoutresistance. These were Mariana, Caroline and Marshall Islands JCSmuts who was in Britain’s small war cabinet presented the ideathat Germany was threatening western civilization with schemes ofworld power, militarization, and exploitation of resources. With theend of World War I and the defeat of Germany it came to an agreementin the Versailles treaty that there would be the division of Germancolonies between the France, Japan, British dominions, Belgium andthe U.K.
TheGermans nature of colonization did not enjoy much success. This ismainly because they used direct rule accompanied with excessive forceand oppression. They faced a lot of resistances from the indigenouspeople who hindered efficient colonialism and there was wastage ofresources, unlike other colonizers. This in association with otherfactors led to the confiscation of their colonies.
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