When World War I brought an end to German colonial rule in Namibia, much of the German population stayed on. The German community, which had managed to deal with colonial administration, faced new challenges when the region became a South African mandate under the League of Nations in 1919. One of these was the issue of Germanness, which ultimately resulted in public conversations and expressions of identity.
In Creating Germans Abroad, Daniel Walther examines this discourse and provides striking new insights into the character of the German populace in both Germany and its former colony, Southwest Africa, known today as Namibia. In addition to German colonialism, Walther considers issues of race, class, and gender and the activities of minority groups. He offers new perspectives on German cultural and national identity during the Empire, the Weimar Republic, and the Third Reich.
In a larger context, Creating Germans Abroad acts as a model for investigating the strategies and motivations of groups and individuals engaged in national or ethnic engineering and demonstrates how unforeseen circumstances can affect the nature and outcome of these endeavors.
Daniel Joseph Walther is an associate professor of history at Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa. His research and teaching interests focus on issues surrounding the construction of identity, with a special emphasis on the intersection of nationalism, colonialism, and culture.
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