Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Revenants of the German EmpireColonial Germans, Imperialism, and the League of Nations$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 November 2020

A Question of Respectability

A Question of Respectability

Colonial German Responses to the Treaty of Versailles and Colonial Guilt

(p.31) 1 A Question of Respectability
Revenants of the German Empire

Sean Andrew Wempe

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 explores the demands for colonial restitution by the former officials, with particular emphasis on Heinrich Schnee, the last governor of German East Africa, and Theodor Seitz, the last governor of German Southwest Africa. In order to maintain imperial/national conceptions of the “self,” these individuals argued against the idea of colonial guilt and reasserted German Europeanness in a world where empire was an essential component of this identity. They engaged with the new political vocabulary of empire and civilization made normative by the Allies and the League, using it in conventional ways to legitimate past actions and to reassert German Europeanness as well as manipulating it to claim moral superiority. Their arguments against colonial guilt can therefore be broken into three categories: (1) pointing to past praise of Germany’s colonial record; (2) reconfiguring the relationships between the terms “violence,” “European,” and “civilization”; and (3) highlighting Allied hypocrisies and claiming to be the only true embodiment of the new ideals of empire. The intention of this threefold line of argument was to preserve imperially constituted identifiers of the German nation in a postcolonial situation. The end result was a tricky negotiation of Colonial Germans’ identity as a group. German colonial irredentists simultaneously claimed the status of victim alongside their former colonized subjects, and yet insisted they were separate from and more advanced than these groups. They demanded recognition of the word “German” as synonymous with the term “European,” and yet also claimed moral superiority over the rest of European civilization.

Keywords:   Heinrich Schnee, Theodor Seitz, Treaty of Versailles, Mandates System, Woodrow Wilson, self-determination, imperialism

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .