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Why is Germany's history of colonialism and imperialism less prominent compared to other European nations?

Why is Germany's history of colonialism and imperialism less prominent compared to other European nations?



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  • Spaniards and Portuguese in South America, etc
  • UK in India, Pakistan, etc
  • Dutch in SEA: Indonesia, etc
  • French in Africa
  • Belgians in Congo

Why was Germany not as involved as these nations?


Germany managed to unify very late and therefore did not have the opportunity, like other countries, to initiate a doctrine of colonialism. When it finally unified in 1871, there was little left to colonize.

There have been previous attempts at colonization by states of the then fragmented Germany, but none led to significant results, in part due to the absence of a full developed blue-water navy which was necessary for the defense, the supply and trade with the colonies.

In any case he took part in the scramble for Africa and managed to obtain several territories including parts of present-day Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Namibia, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, New Guinea, and numerous other West Pacific / Micronesian islands.

The German colonial empire ceased to exist with the Treaty of Versailles after Germany's defeat in the first world war (in 1918) and each colony became a League of Nations mandate under the supervision (but not ownership) of one of the victorious powers.


Germany attempted in the 1930s and 1940s to establish imperialist extraction colonies in Europe. The German government and many of its people explicitly spoke of it in terms of empire.

Historians of this period of German society regularly compare Germany's "empire" of 1941-1944 to other genocidal actions by other imperialist governments in their colonies.

This answer is meant to compliment ViralK's answer. It is sufficiently different and tendentious that I would be reluctant to edit it into ViralK's answer.


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