A.J.P Taylor’s Theories Of Imperialism Essay

1330 words - 6 pages

A similarity between Taylor and Kennedy’s theory is that they both recognize the impact that Germany had. Kennedy suggests that Germany was the one to alter “the relative position of all the existing Great Powers in Europe” , this was based on the argument that Germany was the economic “powerhouse” of Europe. There was an increasing manifestation of Germany’s growth and place in the world. This can be seen in the words of the German politician, Friedrick Naumann “The German race brings it” . We can see the emphasis on political prestige through his elaboration, that Germany “brings army, navy, money and power”. This was the age of “new European Imperialism”, where each country seemed to be asserting their status and political prestige. Kennedy’s theories of imperialism argue that colonisation in Africa was motivated by the need for “large scale territorial expansion”. Germany’s colonisation in Africa was argued to be “irresistible as a natural Law” However, it may seem that Kennedy and Taylor’s theories are valid in explaining the colonisation in Africa. It is worth mentioning, nevertheless, that in Germany after 1895; it was the “ruling elite” that had become conceived of the need for colonisation in Africa. This factor applies more towards the theories of “gentlemanly capitalism” rather than the theories of “diplomatic and political aims”. Therefore, as a result, it may be the case that all different elements of theories are valid for explaining the colonisation of Africa. In further analysis, it will become clearer whether this is the case.

Germany’s influence on the Partition of Africa cannot be ignored, however there is a great power that Kennedy regarded as the centre of this event. That country was Great Britain. In Kennedy’s view, Great Britain had become the most dominant power, as a result of the industrial revolution. The British had created a new model of “great power status”. Therefore, the Partition of Africa was the event where European powers sought to imitate this “great power status”. This argument is developed further in Kennedy’s work. The British Empire within Africa was “a tremendous expansion of British power”. Whilst, Germany had altered the balance of Great Power, it is generally agreed that “if any nation had upset the world’s balance of power, it was Great Britain.” . Compared to countries such as Germany, Britain was not pursing in Africa purely for appearance and saving face. According to Kennedy, “nothing frightened Britain imperialists’ more than economic decline” because of the disastrous impact upon British power. It was argued that colonisation in Africa was used for “imperial defence” It would “fight for the preservation of the European balance of power.” This appears to support Taylor’s claim that the balance of European power was delicately composed, therefore the colonisation in Africa did not occur for economic interests. It was to preserve the balance power.

Kennedy’s theory is an insightful,...

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