In 1904, the indigenous Herero people of German South West Africa (now Namibia) rebelled against their German occupiers. In the following four years, the German army retaliated, killing between 60,000 and 100,000 Herero people, one of the worst atrocities ever. The history of the Herero genocide bears not only on transitional justice issues throughout Africa, but also on legal issues elsewhere in the world where reparations for colonial injustices have been called for.
This book explores the events within the context of German South West Africa (GSWA) as the only German colony where settlement was actually attempted. The study contends that the genocide was not the work of one rogue general or the practices of the military, but that it was inexorably propelled by Germany’s national goals at the time. The book will argue that the Herero genocide was linked to Germany’s late entry into the colonial race, which led it to acquire multiple colonies all over the world frenetically within a very short period, using any means available, including ruthlessness.
The seminal influence of the German view of race, racial identity and racial superiority on the unfolding events cannot be overlooked. This book shows how the Germans, in their attempts to confirm their belief that their race was superior, were preoccupied with race identification and the origins of races. It also examines the Kaiser’s role. This study recounts the reasons why the Kaiser likely issued the order and why proof of this has not emerged before now. The book reveals his history of violence and the ordering of brutal actions, even against his own citizens.
Questions relating to human rights are very much in the news, yet genocides in Africa are understudied, especially those that occurred during colonial times. The history of the Herero genocide has been examined by very few writers and almost no-one in Africa. Sarkin’s book deals with the issues from an entirely different point of view and proposes new understandings from an alternative position. It provides a lot of new information not previously dealt with in the little literature there is on the subject.
Reviews of Germany’s Genocide of the Herero: Kaiser Wilhelm II, his general, his settlers, his soldiers:
"How Kaiser Wilhelm's bloodlust led to the first modern genocide" by David Keys click here to read
Germany’s Genocide of the Herero: Kaiser Wilhelm II, His General, His Settlers, His Soldiers by Jeremy Sarkin. Review by Beverley Roos Muller click here to read