Courtesy Reuters

Germany's Colonial Claims: a South African View

GERMANY'S colonial aspirations are confined largely to Africa: that is the classic field for colonial exploitation and there lie the most important of the former German colonies. The problems created by those aspirations are of special interest to the Union of South Africa, the only place on the African continent where European civilization is firmly established on a relatively large scale. What happens in the former German colonies -- South West Africa, Tanganyika, the Cameroons and Togoland -- is therefore a matter of concern to South Africans.


Of particular interest to the Union is the Territory of South West Africa, which borders it on the northwest and for which it holds a Class C Mandate. This area is generally regarded as a desolate region devoid of economic value. Its seaboard is almost harborless, its coast lands are a sandy waste, while the border zone between it and the Union for the most part is barren and unattractive. Yet the territory has considerable mineral resources, its grassland interior is suitable for stock-raising, and its climatic conditions are such as to permit Europeans to rear healthy families. The German protectorate was proclaimed in 1884; by 1914 the German population had grown to 15,000. During the World War and the years which immediately followed it, the German population was reduced by more than 40 percent. But this loss to the white element was more than made good by immigration from the Union. Today the European population of the Territory is around 31,000, of which about thirty percent is German. The non-European population -- Bantu, Hottentot and Bastard -- numbers over 330,000.

During the early postwar years both the German Government at Berlin and the German colonists in South West Africa seemed to have accepted their new status under South Africa's Mandate and to have reconciled themselves to eventual incorporation into the Union. In 1923 the South African Government made an agreement with Germany (usually referred to as the London Agreement) under the terms of which German nationals in South West

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