Expectations Vs. Reality Essay Discussion Of The Disparity Between The Economic, Political And Racial Expectations And Realities Of The Early Years Of German South West Africa

759 words - 3 pages

Expectations vs. Reality

Discuss the disparity between the economic, political and racial expectations and realities of the early years of German South West Africa.

The German colonial empire was an overseas province formed in the late 19th century. The years 1885 - 1893 saw the German's control German South West Africa through racial and military influence as well as economic and political dominance. However, it was found that there was a vast discrepancy between the expectation of colonisation and the reality of what perpetuated.

During the late 19th century many European's were oblivious to the high standards of African society. Being white supremacists, they assumed that all Africans were obtuse and illiterate. They thought of them as an oriental, dirty race that needed to be taught 'the white way of living' in order to civilise them. This can be seen by a few lines in the poem 'Kipling's White Man's Burden' written in 1899. "Send for the best ye breed," which translates into the strongest will devour the weakest, which is an example of social Darwinism and "half devil and half child," which can be interpreted into assimilation (to teach the inferior Africans the way of living) is the only way to help them. The Germans thought that they were the fittest race and that they had a right to invade African territory. However, when the German colonial soldiers arrived in Africa it was evident that their previous judgment was in fact erroneous. Whilst the German's still believed they were superior, it was found that many of the African citizens were educated and that most of the tribes were bilingual. This is confirmed by Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi's stream of correspondence letters with other leaders and lieutenants which proved that he was well educated and literate as well as extremely worldly and well aware of the events around Africa.

Another reason behind German colonisation in Africa was that the German government believed that it would create lebensraum (living space) for their escalating population. During the late 19th century, there was a rapid rise in amount of homeless residing in Germany. So the government looked to colonisation as their answer. They expected thousands and thousands of people to travel to Africa in the first few years of the pronouncement. However, this did not happen, as the German government found that most German citizens were making the long journey to America instead. By 1891...

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