The Student Researcher: A Phi Alpha Theta Publication


The history of African colonialism is filled with stories of atrocity perpetrated under the guise of cultural or racial superiority. The death of 32,000 civilians in British concentration camps during the Second Boer War, and the horrors perpetrated in the Belgian Congo are only two examples of the effects of European imperialism in Africa.1 When the Herero people rebelled against the German colonial government in 1904, the Schutztruppe and colonial officials responded with a brutality that mirrored their fellow European colonizers.2 However, unlike the other European powers, Imperial Germany cast their conflict with the Herero in terms of a racial struggle in which the vanquished would face extinction. Relying on decades of research by prominent German intellectuals, Imperial Germany used the tenets of social Darwinism and eugenics to justify European colonialism and the genocide of “inferior” races as a positive good. (first paragraph)