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German Colonialism
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Book description

Germany was a latecomer to the colonial world of the late nineteenth century but this history of German colonialism makes clear the wide-reaching consequences of Germany's short-lived colonial project. Sebastian Conrad charts the expansion of the empire from its origins in the acquisition of substantial territories in present day Togo, Cameroon, Namibia and Tanzania to new settlements in East Asia and the Pacific and reveals the colonialist culture which permeated the German nation and its politics. Drawing on the wider history of European expansion and globalisation he highlights the close interactions and shared vocabularies of the colonial powers and emphasises Germany's major role in the period of high imperialism before 1914. Even beyond the official end of the empire in 1919 the quest for Lebensraum and the growth of the Nazi empire in Eastern Europe can be viewed within a framework of colonialism whose effects resonate to the present day.


‘In this brief but superb book, Conrad manages to couple acute analysis with all the essential information about Germany's colonial ventures in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. It is a model history, a tour de force.’

Eric D. Weitz - University of Minnesota

‘Sebastian Conrad’s German Colonialism is a smart, scintillating synthesis of a great deal of new scholarship; it places the German experience in a cultural and transnational frame, and shows why this episode was so important for German, European, and global history. By far the best brief treatment.’

Helmut W. Smith - Vanderbilt University

‘Sebastian Conrad has proven to be a master in the art of condensed and efficient writing. He skilfully analyses most aspects of German colonial history and provides an impressive bibliography as well. The result is a brilliant mixture of wide ranging narrative account with cultural historical methods and a timely discussion of the social and economic effects of the European Powers’ colonialist period.’

Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann - University of Oxford

‘With its many excellent illustrations and maps, its annotated critical bibliography and its acute awareness of historiographical trends, it is a model of its kind, providing an essential guide to the subject and intelligent pointers for further research.’

Source: London Review of Books

'This is an excellent overview of German colonialism … It is the best survey of the subject in English to date, and will be welcomed by students and scholars alike. The breadth of the discussion marks this book out as a particularly valuable addition to the existing literature, and distinguishes it from other textbooks on the topic.'

Source: Reviews in History (

'Sebastian Conrad’s brief summary provides an excellent overview not only of the events and of the geographical and structural dimensions of Germany’s colonial experience but also of its historiography.'

Woodruff Smith Source: The Journal of Modern History

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