Pub. Date:
Boydell & Brewer, Limited
Germany's Genocide of the Herero: Kaiser Wilhelm II, His General, His Settlers, His Soldiers

Germany's Genocide of the Herero: Kaiser Wilhelm II, His General, His Settlers, His Soldiers

by Jeremy Sarkin


Current price is , Original price is $95.0. You

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Please check back later for updated availability.


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 remains a key issue for many around the world partly because the German policy not to pay reparations for the Namibian genocide contrasts with its long-standing Holocaust reparations policy. The Herero case 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 argues that the Herero genocide was linked to Germany's late entry into the colonial race, which led it frenetically and ruthlessly to acquire multiple colonies all over the world within a very short period, using any means available. Jeremy Sarkin is Chairperson-Rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, and is at present Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. He is also an Attorney of the High Court of South Africa and of the State of New York. A graduate of the University of the Western Cape and of Harvard Law School he has been visiting professor at several US universities where he has taught Comparative Law, International Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law and Transitional Justice Southern Africa (South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia and Zimbabwe): University of Cape Town Press/Juta

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781847010322
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
Publication date: 03/17/2011
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword By The Paramount Chief of The Herero v

Preface viii

Acknowledgements x

Introduction 1

What is in this book? 3

Why the genocide was committed 7

German perpetrators and Herero victims 14

The role of Kaiser Wilhelm II 16

The relationship of the Herero genocide to the Holocaust 20

Methodology, terminology and definitions 28

Chapter One: Aetiology Of A Genocide 36

Introduction 36

The importance of GSWA to Germany 51

Removing obstacles and luring potential settlers 59

Reasons for targeting the Herero and Nama land holdings 64

Strategies to obtain land for settlement and livestock 66

Appropriating Herero land and cattle during and after the war 84

Interracialism, mixed race German citizens and alcoholism 89

Teaching the 'Natives' a lesson and promoting Germany's image 93

Chapter Two: Implementing The Genocide: Annihilating 'The African Tribes with Streams of Blood and Streams of Gold': 102

German brutalities before 1904 103

1904 and beyond: the intent, the order and the extermination of the Herero 110

The intended meaning of vernichten: a political or military strategy or call for genocide? 125

The number of Herero killed in the genocide 136

When did the genocide begin? 142

Was the killing of women and children specifically sought? 150

Conclusion 154

Chapter Three: Did The Kaiser Order The Genocide? 155

Introduction 155

The Kaiser's personality 160

The debate about the role of the Kaiser: was he the decision maker or was he a shadow Emperor? 168

The Kaiser and the military 171

The Kaiser's record of brutality 174

The role of the Kaiser in the colonies 181

The Kaiser and German South West Africa 183

Did the Kaiser appoint General von Trotha? 190

Why the Kaiser chose Von Trotha 192

Did the Kaiser give Von Trotha a specific genocide order? 195

Would Von Trotha have kept the genocide order secret? 198

The role of German law in keeping the genocide order secret 203

Military culture 212

Praise and support 224

Conclusion 230

Conclusion 233

Introduction 233

German colonial policies 235

German South West Africa's unique status among Germany's colonies 237

German and international politics at the turn of the twentieth century 238

The aims of the Herero genocide 239

German state action 241

The Herero genocide as a precursor to the Holocaust 244

Conclusion 244

Bibilography 246

Index 266

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews