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Revenants of the German EmpireColonial Germans, Imperialism, and the League of Nations$
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Sean Andrew Wempe

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190907211

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190907211.001.0001

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A World of Colonial Empires No Longer their Own

(p.1) Introduction
Revenants of the German Empire

Sean Andrew Wempe

Oxford University Press

The introduction outlines the core focus of the book, the Kolonialdeutsche (Colonial Germans): officials and settlers who had invested substantial time and money in German imperialism. The book will examine the difficulties this diverse group of men and women encountered adjusting to their new circumstances, in Weimar Germany or in the new mandates, as they situated their notions of group identity between colonizers and colonial subjects in a world of empires that were not their own. The introduction outlines the temporal scope of the book, starting with the Treaty of Versailles and ending the in-depth analysis in 1933. The epilogue looks into the Nazi era and beyond. The author highlights the importance of Colonial German involvement in such diplomatic flashpoints as the Naturalization Controversy in South African-administered Southwest Africa, and German participation in the Permanent Mandates Commission (PMC) from 1927 to 1933, and the participation of one of Germany’s former colonial governors in the League of Nations’ commission sent to assess the Manchurian Crisis between China and Japan. The introduction also illustrates the contributions this book makes: revising standard historical portrayals of the League of Nations’ form of international governance, German participation in the League, the role of interest groups in international diplomacy, and liberal imperialism. In analyzing Colonial German investment and participation in interwar internationalism, the book also challenges the idea of a direct continuity between Germany’s colonial period and the Nazi era.

Keywords:   Kolonialdeutsche, Sonderweg, Arendt thesis, Treaty of Versailles, internationalism, Weimar Germany

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