The colonial routes of Nazism

Article published on Sept. 6, 2010
community published
Article published on Sept. 6, 2010
We all regard Nazism's birthplace to be in Nuremberg or Munich..but what if this movement has its origins in Africa? David Olusoga and Casper Erichsen's book ''Kaiser Holocaust'' changes our way of thought about the origins of Nazism and the German ''imperium'' in Namibia. German west-Africa (today's Namibia), 1904-1908.
German settlers are trying to establish themselves in the newly-acquired territory but some indigenous people, namely the Herero and Nama react. The result was the liquisation of these people in a way that according to the authors presaged not only Hitler's genocidal madness, but became an inspiration for the dictator's dream of an empire which would lead Jews and Slavs outside the Urals.

Even from the 19th century, German settlers were encouraged to see the local African tribes as ''evolved apes'' and leave aside any Judeo-Christian concept of compassion for the weak (“Exterminate all the brutes!” exclaims Conrad’s European trader Kurtz).

From this point, little were needed to be done in order for the concept of Aryans to be delivered fifty years later. It is important that the authors do not want to describe the events in Africa as ''Holocaust'' since this would diminish the horror of the Jewish persecution. However, they ve managed to draw important connections between the racial policies of Kaiser and the social-Darwinism of Hitler.

Hermann Göring's father, Dr Heinrich Ernst Göring, served as the first Commissioner of German South West Africa, orchestrating that barbarity before living as an ambassador to Haiti. Furthermore, in 1905 the first concentration camps appear in German West Africa, with Shark Island (near Luderitz) being the most notorious of all.

By 1907, when the Konzentrationslager was closed, thousands had died there due to beatings and forced labour. Though the death toll is impossible to establish accurately (the Germans later burned incriminating documents), the liquidations were carried out so efficiently that by 1908 the Kaiser’s government had wrested a total of 46 million hectares of land from the Africans.

''Impressively researched, The Kaiser’s Holocaust unflinchingly catalogues the abuse of human life in a continent the Kaiser never even visited'' points effectively the review of Telegraph.

Emphasis is given to the Social Darwinist theories which were developped in Germany and the medical measures which were made in Nama's bones and skulls in order these theories of racial superiority to become ''scientific''.

A worthy-reading book, full of documentation, which paves the road of further investigation on the area in order to understand the routes of fascism and nazism.

With sources from Telegraph