King Leopold’s Ghost By Adam Hoschild

1546 words - 7 pages

In King Leopold’s Ghost, Hoschild shares with his readers the unfamiliar story of King Leopold of Belgium’s exploitation of the Congo and the horrible crimes committed against humanity for economical and political gain. The author’s goal in this book was to bring awareness to what happened at this moment in history. Hoschild shows us that a lot of history as we know it is biased and Eurocentric. Many times history is authored or monitored by those who are in power (politically or economically) and their biases are created out of maliciousness, ignorance or self-preservation. Throughout this book, Hoschild was able to illuminate and explore the other side of this very unknown piece of history ...view middle of the document...

I think that how media is portrayed plays a huge part in how history gets told and passed on. Hoschild talks a lot about Leopold’s ability to “spin control.” In many instances Leopold refers to Africa as the “Magnificent African Cake,” (58) and telling the rest of the world that he was merely opening up Africa for free trade, trying to stop slave trade and that he genuinely had no sort of commercial interest. The U.S and many other countries were fooled and began to recognize the Belgium claim on the Congo, thinking they were supporting an international free trade zone, not a region of human slaughter. Hoschild used the analogy of Leopold as a great “theatrical producer.” Leopold seemed to have a grasp and understanding of “public relations” and know the importance of promoting himself as a humanitarian. He was not only able to fool most of the world while these events were going on, but also once he was “caught.” He was able to manipulate and control the outcome of his personal profit and his mark on history.
In chapter five, Otto von Bismarck, the Chancellor of Germany called Leopold’s plans a “swindle.” He wasn’t keen on the idea of supporting or recognizing the colonization of the Congo, until Leopold had Bismarck’s banker work with him to convince him that Germany would see a lot more trade and profits from it. I obviously have no idea what is written in European history books, but these kind of conniving schemes are what I imagine go on a lot between people of high command, whether to “keep them quiet” about something they know or to get them on board with something they are involved in. I also think these under the table deals would not be mentioned in the history books. I’m sure that even though Bismarck was not completely in agreement with Leopold, his people and country praised him for taking part and supporting what they believed to a new colony of free trade brining in many goods and profit for Germany.
Many personal accounts were described this time in the Congo as brutal, inhumane and that King Leopold was making his entire fortune unfairly by forced slave labor. George Washington Williams went to the Congo because he wanted to go and help build the country (according to the artificial vision that was painted by Leo). When he was able to see first hand, he realized what kind of hell was really taking place. He wrote an open letter to King Leopold accusing him of tyranny and cruelty, and no one took notice. Another account, which Hoschild refers to frequently, in chapter nine, is Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” He took a steamboat job in the Congo and during his time spend there he exclaimed that he, “was so horrified by the greed and brutality among white men he saw in the Congo that his view on human nature permanently changed” (142). These first hand accounts are what I think make the difference in determining what is true, unbiased history. Letters, diaries and records provide us with a window to look into what was...

Find Another Essay On King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hoschild

The True Legacy of King Leopold II

1398 words - 6 pages their ancestors who continue to be crippled by European exploitation. King Leopold was not the only person to colonize and exploit African lands, but he seems to be the most brutal in doing so. Despite his propaganda efforts that sought to show him as a benevolent philanthropist, Leopold’s true intentions were anything but. He was supposed to end slavery in the Congo, but in reality he made it much worse. His methods of extortion were even

Congo’s Era of Damnation Essay

767 words - 4 pages south now called DROC, or Democratic Republic of the Congo (Clarke, John H). These immigrants brought agriculture, and made iron tools. Moving ahead to 1482, the Portuguese navigator, Diogo Cão visited the Congo River marking the first ever known European contact with the region. Henry Stanley, a British explorer is commanded to proclaim King Leopold’s rule over the Congo in 1879. This is followed by European powers at the Berlin Conference

The Absence of Morality in King Leopold's Ghost and in the Congo Today

1301 words - 5 pages the name Andre Kasongo Ilunga for trade minister. The problem, government officials later acknowledged, was that there was no such man." Here we see a government leader pulled a dirty trick to remain in power over the Congo, much like the dirty tricks pulled by the Belgians to maintain power over the tribes in the Congo when they were colonizing the land.We see through Adam Hoschild's book, King Leopold's Ghost, and Joseph Gettelman's article

Analysis of the Film Ling Leopold´s Ghost

658 words - 3 pages While viewing the film King Leopold’s Ghost one could not ignore the fact that the filmmakers had a position that was critical to the idea of imperialism in the Congo as well as in the rest of the world. This is an understandable view as the depictions of the horrible atrocities in the Congo were beyond deplorable. The enslavement of the populace is unforgivable and the physical as well as emotional torture imposed on the population was truly

The Atrocities of the Congo

2648 words - 11 pages for Colonies." World History: The Modern World. Boston Mass.: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2007. 292-94. Gondola, Ch. Didier. The History of Congo. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002. Hochschild, Adam. "The Wood That Weeps." King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. 162-66. James, Andre C. "The Butcher of Congo: King Leopold II of Belgium." - Andre C James. Digital Journal, 4 Apr

King Leopold II and Belgian Imperialism

863 words - 3 pages King Leopold’s atrocity is an interesting account of how a jealous man could inflict some of the most disgusting forms of oppression upon his fellow members of the human race. When Leopold came to power in 1865, he was incredibly disappointed at Belgium’s lack of power in the imperial world. Every other western European nation by had this time had taken on colonies as part of their empire; and therefore had been acquiring incredible

Horror and Tragedy in The Congo

4042 words - 16 pages II of the Belgians. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979 Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold’s Ghost. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998. Kanza, Thomas. The Rise and Fall of Patrice Lumumba. Schenkham Publishing Company, Inc., 1979. Kaplan, Urving Zaire. First Printing:1979. Packham, Eric S. The U.N. Intervention in the Congo After Independence. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 1998.

The Damage Caused by Western Imperialism

1206 words - 5 pages Sharer. New York: Signet Classics, 1997. Print. Hawkins, Hunt. “Heart of Darkness and Racism.” Conradiana 14.3 (1982): 163–71. Rpt. in Heart of Darkness. Ed. Paul B. Armstrong. 4th ed. New York: Norton Critical Editions, 2006. 365–375. Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold’s Ghost. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999. Kincaid, Jamaica. A Small Place. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000. Ondaatje, Michael. “Buried 2 Part iv.” Handwriting

Justified Violence in the Belgian Congo

1343 words - 5 pages century, and into the twentieth century; dividing the African continent into areas to be colonized under European rule. Although the countries primary focus was to spread Western religions and culture to the African continent, violence was used amongst the native peoples to further successful developments of the new European colonies. One of these colonies was the Belgian Congo, ruled by the Belgian King Leopold II. Under The King’s rule, acts of

The True Nature of King Leopold's Congo

3894 words - 16 pages ). The Royal Museum for Central Africa changed after the publication of King Leopold’s Ghost by adding an exhibit about colonial Congo; noticeably absent was any mention or evidence regarding the forced-labor system (Hochschild, 312-313). Today, the Congo is a desperately war-torn land with no one legitimate government, but instead ruled by multiple competing militias; “mass rapes by HIV-infected troops, schools and hospitals looted, ten-year old

King Leopold II and the Congo Free State

743 words - 3 pages nearly 905,000 square miles. In conjunction with this massive claim of land, Leopold started the International African Association for the Exploration and Civilization of the Congo. Because of Leopold’s reputation as a philanthropist, he easily won the personal sovereignty of the land claimed by Sir Stanley at the Berlin Conference of 1884. He had his own piece of “that magnificent African cake.” The newly named Congo Free State was handed

Similar Essays

Forced Labor In "King Leopold’s Ghost"

1408 words - 6 pages Forced Labor in King Leopold’s Ghost In King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild, forced labor seems to be a recurring theme throughout the book. Forced labor would be non-existence or be very minimal if it wasn’t for colonialism. Google defines colonialism as an exploitation by a stronger country of weaker one; the use of the weaker country's resources to strengthen and enrich the stronger country. King’s Leopold’s Ghost, Belgium is known as

White King, Red Rubber, Black Death: An Analysis Of King Leopold’s Ghost

1117 words - 5 pages difficult to “get into”. Though I do believe that this is a very interesting topic, and it is truly unfortunate that this is not a very well-known story. It is obvious to me that Hochschild has explored deeply into the matter at hand and wanted to do his part of standing up and being heroic by writing this information-packed novel on the genocide.  Works Cited Works Cited Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror

The Importance Of Human Rights And Moral Care Throught King Leopold's Ghost By Adam Hochschild

1358 words - 6 pages When reading the book entitled King Leopold’s Ghost by author Adam Hochschild, there are many themes to which the book plays an interest to. King Leopold II of Belgium had an interest in the greed that colonialism brought the prospect for power and fame, and lastly the desire for slavery through the means of racism. In doing so, the book also explains the necessity for human rights and a type of moral care for not only Africa but the world as a

Analysis And Commentary Of Adam Hochschild´S King Leopold's Ghost

904 words - 4 pages “‘I will give them my Congo,’ Leopold told Stinglhamber, ‘but they have no right to know what I did there.’”1 King Leopold’s Ghost is a historical analysis by Adam Hochschild, professor at Berkley, of Belgium’s King Leopold II’s orchestration of a private empire in the Congo at the end of the 1800s. During this particular time in history, the great political powers in the world set their eyes upon Africa as a prospect for exploration