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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Mittleafrika: The German Dream of an Empire Across Africa in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries: An Overview
Author:Mambo, Robert M.
Periodical:Transafrican Journal of History
Notes:biblio. refs., ills.
Geographic terms:Africa
Subjects:colonial conquest
History and Exploration
Imperialism, Colonialism
Abstract:Slightly over one hundred years ago, the efforts of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck created for Germany an African empire which lasted for c. 30 years, spanning the period 1884-1918. Her possessions included Togoland, the Camerouns, German South West Africa and German East Africa. With time, a grandiose plan evolved, its objective being the merger of all these disparate possessions to form one contiguous empire stretching from the Atlantic coast in the west to the Indian Ocean sealine in the east. This is what then became known as 'Mittelafrika', i.e. 'Middle Africa'. Indeed 'Mittelafrika' remained a dream. And, at this time, the German plan had to compete equally well with the designs of the British, the French and the Portuguese. This paper looks at the background of the concept 'Mittelafrika', especially the diplomatic activities associated with the outbreak of the First World War. It also traces the historical developments and final crystallization of 'Mittelafrika', a concept which was really pervasive during the whole period of German rule in Africa, and pays attention to the supporters of the 'Mittelafrika' movement within the German population (professional soldiers, military historians and renegade colonial officials). Finally, an assessment is given of the role African subjects were supposed to play in the envisaged empire if the idea had indeed become a reality. Notes, ref., sum.