Sean Andrew WempeOct 6, 2021
Revenants of the German Empire
Colonial Germans, Imperialism, and the League of Nations
Oxford University Press 2019
Revenants of the German Empire: Colonial Germans, Imperialism, and the League of Nations (Oxford UP, 2019) reveals the various ways in which Colonial Germans attempted to cope with the loss of the German colonies after the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. These Kolonialdeutsche (Colonial Germans) had invested substantial time and money in German imperialism. German men and women from the former African colonies exploited any opportunities they could to recover, renovate and market their understandings of German and European colonial aims in order to reestablish themselves as "experts" and "fellow civilizers" in European and American discourses on nationalism and imperialism. Colonial officials, settlers, and colonial lobbies made use of the League of Nations framework to influence diplomatic flashpoints including the Naturalization Controversy in South African-administered Southwest Africa, the Locarno Conference, and German participation in the Permanent Mandates Commission from 1927-1933. Sean Wempe revises standard historical portrayals of the League of Nations' form of international governance, German participation in the League, the role of interest groups in international organizations and diplomacy, and liberal imperialism. In analyzing Colonial German investment and participation in interwar liberal internationalism, the project also challenges the idea of a direct continuity between Germany's colonial period and the Nazi era.
Jack Guenther is a doctoral candidate in history at Princeton University. His research focuses on modern Germany, global economic history, the history of international order, and the relationship between markets and state power in the 20th century.