German Colonialism: Race, the Holocaust, and Postwar Germany

TitleGerman Colonialism: Race, the Holocaust, and Postwar Germany
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsLangbehn, Volker, and Mohammad Salama
Number of Pages327
PublisherColumbia University Press
CityNew York

More than half a century before the mass executions of the Holocaust, Germany devastated the peoples of South West Africa. While colonialism might seem marginal to German history, new scholarship compares these acts to Nazi practices on the Eastern and Western fronts. With a collection of essays exploring the "continuity thesis," this anthology debates the links between German colonialist activities and the behavior of Germany during World War II. Some contributors argue the country's domination of South West Africa gave rise to perceptions of racial difference and superiority at home, building upon a nascent nationalism that blossomed into National Socialism and the Holocaust. Others remain skeptical and challenge the continuity thesis. The contributors also examine Germany's colonial past with debates over the country's identity and history and compare its colonial crimes with other European ventures. Other issues explored include the denial or marginalization of German genocide and the place of colonialism and the Holocaust within German and Israeli postwar relations.

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