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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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The Faithful Hounds of Imperialism?

The Faithful Hounds of Imperialism?

Heinrich Schnee on the League’s Manchurian Commission

(p.194) 6 The Faithful Hounds of Imperialism?
Revenants of the German Empire

Sean Andrew Wempe

Oxford University Press

The presence of former German colonial officials as part of the League’s bureaucracy was not confined to the Permanent Mandates Commission, but also came into play in special emergency inquiry committees, most notably in the League’s investigation of the Manchurian Crisis. In November 1931, the League of Nations called for a Commission of Enquiry to determine the causes of the conflict, hoping to diffuse the tensions between Japan and China, which ran counter to many world powers’ and League member states’ interests in the Far East. The five-man commission headed by the second Earl of Lytton of the United Kingdom included Major General Frank Ross McCoy (United States), Count Aldrovandi Marescotti (Italy), General Henri Claudel (France), and Dr. Heinrich Schnee. It was in this venue that Heinrich Schnee—the last governor of German East Africa and the most outspoken detractor of the Allies, the League, and the new Mandates System—somewhat ironically was able to benefit from growing internationalism. His role on the Lytton Commission became the crowning—and final—event in his efforts to revive his career and renown as an authority on imperialism. Despite the loss at Locarno of any hope of a return of Germany’s former overseas possessions, the involvement of a prominent Colonial German in the Manchurian discussions suggests that although no longer citizens of an imperial power, Germans made continued contributions to the international discourse on empire and nation, as well as to international decision-making on these matters.

Keywords:   Heinrich Schnee, Manchurian Crisis, Lytton Commission, League of Nations, Japan, China, Germany

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