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African Resistance and Center Party Recalcitrance in the Reichstag Colonial Debates of 1905/06

  • John S. Lowry (a1)

On May 26, 1906, as German chancellor Bernhard von Bülow rested on the North Sea coast recuperating from a recent physical collapse, his administration suffered a resounding triple defeat in the Reichstag at the hands of his hitherto indispensable Catholic political partners in the Center party. In the course of a single day, the Centrists rejected the military justification for a railroad in wartorn Southwest Africa, ruled out further government compensation for settler losses in the Herero and Nama Uprisings, and then blocked the elevation of the Colonial Department of the Foreign Office to the status of an independent imperial office. Moreover, the intense interest of Kaiser Wilhelm II in the passage of each of these colonial measures rendered the Center's decisive contribution to the rout acutely embarrassing for the chancellor. Faced seven months later with a similar Centrist refusal to authorize more than twenty of the latest twenty-nine million marks toward suppression of the Nama, Bülow would then dissolve the Reichstag, putting a definitive end to nearly a decade of government-Center parliamentary cooperation.

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Central European History
  • ISSN: 0008-9389
  • EISSN: 1569-1616
  • URL: /core/journals/central-european-history
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