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SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA GERMANY'S WELTPOLITIK BY NANDINI MAHARAJ
Germany's Weltpolitik Germany was hardly a colonial power before the New Imperialism period. - Unified in 1870 A rising industrial power close on the heels of Britain, Germany began its world expansion in the 1880s. After isolating France by the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary and then the 1882 Triple Alliance with Italy, Chancellor Bismarck proposed the 1884-85 Berlin Conference.
Weltpolitik (world policy) was the foreign policy adopted by Kaiser William Il in 1890 with the aim of transforming Germany into a global power through aggressive diplomacy, -the acquisition of overseas colonies, and the development of a large navy. This was backed by a real imperialist policy and a mercantilist thesis.
In 1881, Schleiden, a lawyer, published Deutsche Kolonisation, according to which the "development of national consciousness demanded an independent overseas policy" Pan-germanism was thus linked to the young nation's imperialist drives. Generally, Bismarck was opposed to widespread German colonialism (as he wanted to consolidate newly unified Germany), but he had o esign at the insistence of the new Cerman Emperor Wilhelm lIl on 18 March 1890. -Wilhelm Il instead adopted a very aggressive policy of colonizatiorn and colonial expansion.
Germany was powerful but without colony unlike Britain and France. She could not have sit down quietly. Germany's expansionism would lead to the Tirpitz Plan, implemented by Admiral Tirpitz, who would also champion the various Fleet Acts starting in 1898, thus engaging in an arms race with Britain. By 1914, they had given Germany the second largest naval force in the world (roughly 40% smaller than the Royal Navy of Britain.
This aggressive naval policy was supported by the National Liberal Party rather than by the conservatives, implying that imperialism was supported by the rising middle classes. Germany became the third largest colonial power in Africa, in 1914 with its African possessions of Southwest Africa, Togoland, the Cameroons, and Tanganyika. Following the 1904 Entente cordiale between France and the British Empire, Germany tried to isolate France in 1905 with the First Moroccan Crisis.
This led to the 1905 Algeciras Conference, in which France's influence on Morocco was compensated by the exchange of other territories, and then to the Agadir Crisis in 1911. Along with the 1898 Fashoda Incident between France and Britain, this succession of international crises reveals the bitterness of the struggle between the various imperialist nations, which ultimately led to World War I
After World War l, Germany's possessions were partitioned among . Britain (which took a sliver of western Cameroon, Tanzania, western Togo, and Namibia), France (which took most of Cameroon and eastern Togo) and . Belgium (which took Rwanda and Burundi)
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