Andrew G. Bonnell
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Social Democrats and Germany’s war in South-West Africa, 1904–7
The view of the socialist press
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That the German Social Democratic Party, led by August Bebel, was strongly critical of the conduct of Germany’s war against the Herero and Nama peoples in South-West Africa is well documented. The party’s spokespeople condemned human rights abuses in the colonies, as well as the financial costs of the colonies to the German taxpayer.

Less well explored are Social Democrats’ views of the colonized peoples themselves. This paper will examine the views of Germany’s South-West African subjects in the Social Democratic press, with particular focus on the illustrated satirical paper Der Wahre Jacob. Broadly similar to the celebrated magazine Simplicissimus, Der Wahre Jakob had a genuine mass circulation, and it is safe to assume that most party members saw its visual material, and perhaps also read the texts. This paper will consider the representations of Africans in such media in the context of visual representations of Africans more generally in Germany in this period.

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Savage worlds

German encounters abroad, 1798-1914


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