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L’enseignement des langues et de l’histoire en Allemagne, en Italie et en France, XIXe-XXe siècles : formation des maîtres, pratiques professionnelles et enjeux politiques

Educating the nation. German history textbooks since 1900 : representations of colonialism

Susanne Grindel

Résumé

Empires and colonies had a distinctive impact on the formation of national identities in Europe and school history education helped to translate the colonial experience into national histories. As the German colonial experience was rather short-lived one could argue that it bore little on German national identity. However, a close reading of German history textbooks since the turn of the 20th century illustrates that colonialism affected the lesser imperial powers in a similar way. Germany perceived itself as a colonial power since it participated in the European project of expansion and even after Germany had lost its colonies history textbooks did not fundamentally alter their outlook on the nation. Still conceiving national identity as backed by European superiority and modernity textbooks perpetuated the dichotomic epistemology of colonial knowledge. In fact, German textbooks presented national history very much in tune with European developments and they educated the nation almost until today as if the colonial world order was still stable.

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Texte intégral

  • 1 Gérard Noriel in his editorial to a special issue of Genèses advocating an approach to school hist (...)
  • 2 Berger - Lorenz 2010. Porciani - Tollebeek 2012.
  • 3 Citron 2008.

1« Enseigner la nation »1 or educating the nation may serve as the signet of the 19th century which saw the rise of the modern nation state and along with it the establishment of a state school system, the emergence of history as an academic discipline and as a subject in schools. And after all it witnessed the invocation of national sentiments and the triumph of national identity. By the year 1900 many Western European nation states had discovered history education as a powerful instrument in the formation of the nation. The teaching of history at school helped to engrain national master narratives and it secured a sense of belonging. To this end school history could rely on national historiography2 and Suzanne Citron has exemplified the workings of the « roman national » succinctly for the French Third Republic.3

  • 4 Carrier 2013.
  • 5 Yeandle 2014. Grindel 2013. Osler 2009.
  • 6 Cock - Picard 2009. Legris 2010.

2At the same time history education had become a contested field. Since the introduction of History as a subject schools, curricula, teacher training and textbooks have become key in the « articulation and negotiation of national identities »4. This is true for the 19th and 20th centuries but it is even more applicable when we look at current migrant societies which challenge the traditional notion of the nation state. Debates in the UK about the national curriculum for history5 or in France about memory laws and their effects on the teaching of history may testify to this observation : as much as history education secured the construction of the nation in the first place so much is it called into question today when globalization threatens to deconstruct it and when the end of empires and the ensuing postcolonial migration have shattered imperial master narratives.6

  • 7 Honold - Scherpe 2004.

3Thus, « educating the nation » has become a delicate endeavour when we look at the various contestations that the teaching of history and – as its most perceptible trajectories – history textbooks face : the social changes as reflected in multicultural classrooms, the scientific input of new turns or approaches in historiography and the public impact of memory cultures that actively shape the perception of the national self. For a better understanding of how textbooks may translate these challenges we will focus on one particularly pressing aspect and address their representations of colonialism in a historical perspective. From the apogee of European expansion around 1900 to decolonisation in the 1960s colonial history constituted a prominent part of history education in most Western European countries including those not acting as colonial powers. Overseas possessions were considered to be one of the pivotal assets of the emerging nation-states. They epitomised the political importance of the nation ; they were vital in forming cultural identities and ascertaining images of self and other that relied on European modernity and superiority.7 The end of empires induced in some places a period of nostalgia or amnesia but in most cases European history textbooks did not fundamentally alter their outlook on the nation and on national identities. In fact, postcolonial migration had a stronger impact. It not only brought back the colonial memories of colonizers and colonized but it also obliged metropolitan societies to confront different readings of imperial history and to redefine their national self. Even if Germany did not have to cope with postcolonial migration on a level comparable with France or Britain the colonial past became an issue for Germany as well in the overall debate of how to address Europe’s colonial memory.

4These findings provide the backdrop against which German history textbooks will be looked at in particular. As the German colonial experience was rather short-lived one could argue that it bore little on German national identity. However, a close reading of these textbooks may show how empires and colonies shaped national history education not only in the more but also in the less significant European colonial powers. Focussing on textbooks used in secondary history education since the turn of the 20th century the article will follow three lines of enquiry seeking to determine (1) the relevance devoted to empire, (2) the causes and motives of colonial expansion and (3) the forms of colonial rule.

What place for colonialism ?

  • 8 English transcriptions vary from Kiaochow, Kiauchau to Kiao-Chau.
  • 9 The Prussian curriculum for Geography at secondary schools from 1892 was the first to introduce Ge (...)
  • 10 « […] es wurden Kolonien gegründet, und große Landstrecken in Afrika, an der Westküste (Togo, Kame (...)

5How did the German empire imagine itself overseas at the apogee of its colonial power ? By the 1890s Germany’s colonial possessions in Africa, the Pacific Ocean and China (the Kiautschou Bay concession8) had entered history textbooks as well as geography textbooks and school atlases.9 Germany ranked among the minor colonial powers and its overseas empire existed only for about three decades from 1884 when Germany established colonial rule in German South-West Africa, what is today Namibia, to 1919 when Germany lost all colonies or « Schutzgebiete » at the end of World War I in the Treaty of Versailles. The textbooks, however, devoted much space to the colonies. They turned the description of German overseas territories into a vigorous demonstration of national strength and progress and they were concerned to present Germany as equal-ranking with Great Britain and France. « [...] Colonies have been founded and wide ranges of land in Africa [...] have become German (since 1884). Other seafaring nations in particular the English could barely suppress their envy at the broadening of the German range of power but in vain were their hindrances ».10

  • 11 „Im Jahre 1904 brach der Eingeborenenaufstand in Südwestafrika aus, der Deutschland zum ersten Mal (...)
  • 12 Michels 2009.
  • 13 « Die treue Anhänglichkeit der Askaris wie auch der Kameruner, beruhend auf einer gerechten und so (...)
  • 14 Askaris were often portrayed along the frieze of a monument in a subaltern position. For German co (...)

6This concern and the ways of presenting the overseas possessions as an overseas empire did not falter after 1919. Instead, the colonies figured quite prominently in history textbooks of the inter-war period as if the colonial period were still open to continuation. Together with a strong revisionist movement in the Weimar Republic textbooks worked towards the diffusion of an imperial imagination that kept alive the idea of Germany as a colonial power. To this end textbooks lauded military leaders like Lothar von Trotha for his warfare in the « first colonial war » in German South-West Africa which he turned into « a felicitous training and probation ».11 Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck counted as a defender of German East Africa against British troops during World War I and indigenous soldiers were presented as devoted supporters of German colonial rule. The « faithful Askari » became a strong revisionist myth.12 « The faithful devotedness of the Askaris and the Cameroonians depending on a just and careful government which fought malaria with hygiene precautions and the blossoming state of the colonies were the best proof of the German ability to colonize ».13 The black soldier figured prominently in the imperial imagination, both visually through photographs, postcards, advertising, even on monuments14 and in adventure literature, youth magazines or in school textbooks. He became the crown witness of German benevolent and beneficial rule in Africa.

  • 15 The title alludes to article no. 231 of the Versailles Treaty which declares Germany’s responsibil (...)
  • 16 Müller 1919, p. 575.
  • 17 Maurer 1929, p. 114.

7Representatives of the revisionist movement like Heinrich Schnee, the former governor of German East Africa, used the Askari-Myth to defend Germany’s reputation as a colonial power since Germany had been attacked for « colonial cruelties », and her « complete inability to colonize » in the British press. In his book « Die koloniale Schuldlüge »,15 translated into English in 1926 as « German Colonization. Past and Future », Schnee maintained that Germany had treated the indigenous population in the colonies no worse than the British had done. Textbooks popularized this view denouncing British colonialism as « offene Raubpolitik », a « blatant policy of land-grabbing ».16 Considering the pervasive imperial imagery and the preoccupation with « regaining the colonies » in the first decades of the 20th century it is not surprising then that the German empire held a prominent place in history textbooks long after Germany had ceased to be a colonial power.17

  • 18 Kumsteller - Haake - Schneider1941, p. 207-237. Disch - Gruenberg - Edelmann 1941, p. 74-75.
  • 19 Meier - Mühlstädt - Ziegler 1961, p. 184.
  • 20 Meyer 1958, p. 84.
  • 21 With a focus on the memorialization of colonialism and its relevance to contemporary Germany cf. B (...)
  • 22 Mackenzie - Finaldi 2011. Bancel 2010.

8National Socialist textbooks disseminated a racial view of German predominance putting forward ideas of innate superiority. They were, however, more concerned with eastbound expansion18 than with the old colonies so that the space devoted to empire did not increase. After World War II the two German states developed different views on their shared colonial history. While East Germany distanced herself altogether from the colonial heritage and discarded it as part of imperialist, capitalist and fascist ideology,19 West Germany tended to almost forget its colonial history.20 Post-war textbooks in the West showed a decidedly European perspective perceiving German imperialism as part of a European balance of power-politics. In both cases, however, textbooks dealt no more extensively with colonial history than before. It was rather decolonization that prompted a change. With a growing number of states gaining independence and new approaches to historiography colonial history was subjected to critical debate. Textbooks reflected this growing interest and gave the topic more space and attention. From the 1990s on, history textbooks took a more global stance towards colonialism. Freed from the ideological confrontations of the Cold War and inspired by scholarly input from postcolonial and global studies, colonial history received more attention in German history curricula and textbooks. Textbooks began to rework the traditional picture of colonialism as a short period of German history with little or no relevance to contemporary society.21 Also, the recent debates on colonial continuities and colonial heritage in the former European metropoles have increased awareness for the relevance of colonial history.22

What motivations of colonial expansion ?

  • 23 Boelitz 1926, p. 247.
  • 24 « […] mit segensreichen Folgen für Deutschland und die ganze Welt […] », ibid.

9When it comes to the causes and motives of German expansion in Africa textbooks combine scholarly, economic, political and civilizing aims. Collecting knowledge about hitherto unknown and seemingly uninhabited lands, searching for markets and commodities for Germany’s thriving commerce, acquiring land to absorb surplus population from the metropole or liberating the indigenous population from slavery and bringing modern civilization – these motives are common ground in textbooks published well into the years of decolonization. They present colonialism as an enterprise driven by scholarly curiosity, economic interest and a mission to modernize or enlighten. It is undertaken by men of courage who overcome the most adverse conditions and who conquer the uncivilized. This narrative links German colonial expansion to the overall project of modernization by colonization. It maintains that Germany made an important contribution to colonial knowledge as far as tropical medicine, geography, ethnography, agriculture and other colonial sciences are concerned – all of which are part of a scientific, economic and cultural development policy. The term « Aufschließungspolitik »23 which the textbooks use in the 1920s carries the notion of opening up new territories for exploitation. And this development policy, they claim, would not only benefit the German colonies but the entire world.24

  • 25 „Indem die farbigen Völker an den Errungenschaften der Weißen teilnehmen konnten, wuchs ihr eigene (...)
  • 26 Bahr - Banzhaf - Rumpf 2006, p. 286. The concluding chapter on imperialism presents a balance of p (...)
  • 27 See the aforementioned textbook ibid. p. 286. Cf. also photographs in : Tenbrock - Goerlitz - Grüt (...)

10Although the process of decolonization is gaining momentum after World War II and the language gradually changes to a more critical phrasing as far as European expansion is concerned and to appreciating indigenous cultures the ideas that initially prompted imperial colonialism do not. School textbooks continue to present colonial expansion as essentially beneficial to both colonizers and colonized. Even recent textbook editions implicitly present a balance of negative and positive consequences of colonialism and they continue to distinguish between civilized and uncivilized, modern and traditional societies or between developed and underdeveloped countries. Two textbooks published in 1951 and in 2006 provide a striking example for this continuity. The 1951 textbook argues that colonialism « opened up ways for the coloured peoples to partake in the white achievements, to gain self-confidence and to strengthen their resistance »25. The textbook published in 2006 clearly avoids racial expressions but it also juxtaposes indigenous backwardness with European progress. Asking whether present underdevelopment in former colonies is « an inevitable consequence of colonialism ? »26 the answers provided stress the modernizing effects of colonial transformation and they point to current problems of bad governance that do not originate from colonialism. Textbooks often expand on these dichotomies not only discoursively but with ample imagery.27

  • 28 « In der Behandlung der Eingeborenen kamen anfänglich Mißgriffe vor, doch lernte die deutsche Kolo (...)
  • 29 A recent example in : Mickel 2003, p. 150-156.

11In detailing the motivations of colonial expansion many textbooks do acknowledge that it was accompanied by violence. Until decolonisation the majority of them justify the use of military force by blaming the indigenous population for resistance, uprising and insurgency. At times they present force and violence euphemistically as in a textbook from 1952 which is also reminiscent of the revisionist argument of benevolent German colonial rule : « In the treatment of indigenous people there occurred blunders in the beginning but German colonial administration soon learned to handle them and this earned the Germans an attachment […] ».28 In other cases, textbooks describe violence as accidental or as in conformity with the rules of international politics and they do not question the legitimacy of violent colonial expansion.29

  • 30 « […] da war die Erde fast verteilt, und nur wenig war übrig geblieben. Das deutsche Volk unter Ka (...)
  • 31 Deutschland beteiligte sich « auch mit den anderen großen Nationen an der Kolonisation und – durch (...)
  • 32 For a decidedly transnational and global approach see Barth 2007.
  • 33 See Barth 2007 ; Sauer 2009 ; Lanzinner 2010.

12On the whole, history textbooks from 1900 onwards present German expansion overseas as prompted by national competition. They stress the European framework of colonialism and emphasize the competition between European powers. Since the globe had been divided almost fully and only few territories were left Germany was « called upon to enter the competition with other European peoples for trade, science and colonial endeavours »30 or in a more reconciliatory tone : « Together with other great nations Germany took part in colonization and – in suppressing slave trade – it participated in a cultural mission for mankind ».31 Textbooks advocating the reclaiming of the colonies after 1919 argue this was mandatory for Germany because it would set right the supposed errors of the Versailles Treaty but on a more general level they uphold the necessity for Germany to take part in the European mission to expand and to colonize. And even contemporary textbooks trying not to overlook Germany’s share in colonial expansion highlight its European framework.32 Thus textbooks are cautious not to present colonial ambition as an exclusively national feature but as something shared by other European nations. And they inscribe Germany into a shared European project of colonial competition, progress and modernisation albeit in a more critical and reflective manner when we look a recent textbooks informed by postcolonial approaches.33

What forms of colonial rule ?

  • 34 Bahr - Banzhaf - Rumpf 2006, p. 274. Hirschfelder - Nutzinger 2004, p. 150. Altrichter - Glaser 19 (...)

13Within the overall European project of colonial expansion textbooks assign German colonial rule a distinctly national character. Its first and foremost quality is its alleged efficiency. Textbooks frame German colonial rule as realizing the economic value of the new territories and as seeking acceptance of German territories under international law by concluding contracts with local authorities or chiefs. The observation that land in Southwest Africa was purchased by contract and later had to be put under official protection (« Schutzherrschaft ») of the German state has become a standard phrase in textbooks since the beginning of the 20th century and it still figures as the introduction to German colonial history in a 2006 textbook.34 It asserts a lawful and non-violent appropriation of land which appears more efficient than military conquest.

  • 35 Here I follow Françoise Lantheaume’s periodization for French history textbooks of « promise, with (...)
  • 36 Zimmerer 2011. A critical survey of colonial violence but not using the term genocide in : Lendzia (...)

14Until the 1960s35 textbooks portray German colonial representatives as brave militaries subduing indigenous uprisings and as capable administrators turning overseas possessions into thriving model colonies or « Musterkolonien ». While the military myths have gradually been deconstructed, colonial rule has been exposed as a relentless policy of exploitation and the colonial war in South-West Africa has been discussed in terms of genocide36 other myths still persist.

  • 37 Photograph showing black students in a German school in Togo. Bahr - Banzhaf - Rumpf 2006, p. 280.
  • 38 Bahr - Banzhaf - Rumpf 2006, p. 280.
  • 39 When comparing European colonial powers East German textbooks employed a different categorization. (...)

15A prominent one is the idea of Togo as a model colony.37 Based on attempts to set up infrastructure, schooling and medical care but even more so on the fact that Togo did not face severe indigenous resistance and that it was the only colony to become economically self-sufficient and not a burden to German tax payers textbooks used to present Togo as a prime example of German colonial rule. They propagated this view not only in descriptions but also in photographs such as the schooling of black pupils in Togo. This idea persistently reoccurs in older textbooks and it is not yet eliminated from contemporary history textbooks.38 German textbooks’ insistence on efficiency as a particular national characteristic was backed by portrayals of other colonial powers as being less efficient and less interested in taking comprehensive control of their overseas territories.39

  • 40 Conrad 2009. Naranch 2005. Walter 2002.
  • 41 Kumsteller 1941, p. 206-237.

16As another characteristic of German colonial rule textbooks from the early 20th century expanded on the concept of « Auslandsdeutschtum ».40 The term carried with it a racist and expansionist notion of national identity which lent itself to the political aims of National Socialism. It is thus not surprising that both republican and dictatorial textbooks of the 1920s and 1940s referred to it when they treated colonial history. The idea of Germanness abroad justified the revisionist claims for regaining the old overseas territories and also the National Socialist claims for occupying new territories in the east.41

  • 42 « um so schwere Verluste wertvollsten Menschentums zu verhindern », Boelitz 1926, p. 247. Cf. Disc (...)
  • 43 Conrad 2009, p. 412.

17Using the term « Auslandsdeutsche » instead of « Auswanderer » i. e. « Germans abroad » instead of « emigrants » indicated a shift in meaning. National identity was no longer understood as a spatial but as a cultural category. It referred to Germans abroad but it also carried a racial notion of Germanness : In that sense ethnic Germans would safeguard German blood and culture and therefore should not integrate into other societies. German emigrants, the textbooks explained, should not « fertilize » other societies by settling in foreign countries. Instead they should emigrate to German colonies and cultivate their Germanness so that they were not lost to the nation.42 Moreover these German settlers would help to strengthen and invigorate the nation because they preserved German culture in the rural setting of the colonies and beyond industrial modernity and urbanization. Thus, the colonies became an idealized space, a new « Heimat », where German identity could thrive beyond the constraints of modern society. The idea of « Auslandsdeutschtum » has been interpreted as a response to the effects of globalization and like other reformist movements at the turn of the 20th century it was driven by a critique of the modern-industrial society. The textbooks translated the utopian ideas and the « völkisch » or racist implications of the concept into an ideal description of the colonies. They figured as an overseas utopia where Germans could cultivate their Germanness even better than at home.43 And this in turn justified colonial revisionism : Germany needed colonies of her own to eventually rejuvenate the nation with those settlers who had preserved German culture and identity.

  • 44 The rendering of German colonial activities in South-West Africa as agreed upon in contracts and a (...)

18Thus, history textbooks have tried to identify elements of colonial rule as specifically German. Their rendering of German colonialism as especially effective and of settler colonialism as a specific form of « Auslandsdeutschtum » served as ways of appropriating colonial history and of nationalizing it especially in the decades following the end of German colonial rule. And although decolonisation in the 1960s changed the mode of presentation some elements survived almost inadvertently and continued stereotypes of national colonial rule.44

Conclusion

19German history textbooks published since 1900 have established and perpetuated a twofold narrative of colonialism which separates the causes of colonial expansion from the form of colonial rule. While they address expansion as part of the shared European colonial project they relate colonial rule in characteristically national terms. This may not be surprising when we look at textbooks published up to decolonisation since the empire has always been an integral part of national self esteem. But the twofold narrative survived the end of empires and it still influences contemporary textbooks.

20The reason for this may be found more generally in the textbooks’ binary code of representation which opposes modernity and traditionalism, cultural or racial superiority and inferiority or agency and passivity. These dichotomies postulate differences between Europeans and Non-Europeans or between colonial administrators and colonial subjects. They essentially relate to Europe and its other and difference is the key category on which colonialism rests. Once difference is established epistemologically it in turn justifies hierarchy and asymmetrical power relations. In this context the German nation could be seen as the incarnation of Europeanness and Germany could favourably be distinguished from other European nations.

  • 45 Jacobmeyer 2011.

21Binary assumptions are pervasive and history textbooks have been influential in translating them into common knowledge since they occupy a privileged role in the educational system.45 As long as the colonial order remained uncontested textbooks could shape a worldview based on difference (of race, colour and culture) and a binary epistemological order. However, the colonial epistemology has become so ingrained in the Western European order of knowledge that even after the empires crumbled it is still operating. So much that even contemporary history textbooks informed by postcolonial approaches are inadvertently caught in underlying long-term oppositions. Textbooks following a distinctly postcolonial agenda disclose inconsistencies when they try to overcome the modernization bias inherent in the narrative of colonialism.

  • 46 Balandier 1951.
  • 47 Ulrike Lindner and others have pointed out intense cooperation between Britain and Germany in Afri (...)
  • 48 Frederick Lugard propagated indirect rule and pushed for native rule in African colonies based on (...)

22Thus history textbooks tend to overlook the complexities of the colonial situation46 with its entanglements of metropolitan and colonial societies. They also tend to not fully acknowledge the transnational framework of European colonialism that existed at the time and that made colonial powers collaborate especially overseas and despite national competition.47 While textbooks present colonial rule as part of a European phenomenon they still frame it in national terms as it is part of a national narrative. Colonial history served to point out Germany’s equal status among the European colonial powers and carving out distinctive ways of colonizing was geared towards fostering national pride. Early attempts to project characteristically national colonial regimes or methods drew on the writings of colonial administrators and militaries48 and they fuelled patriotic master narratives but they disregarded the extent of international cooperation in matters of scientific exchange, security, administration and missionary work. For that matter textbook education on colonialism is not only rooted in a binary epistemology but also in a national framework and this limits the possibilities of introducing postcolonial approaches.

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Speitkamp 2000 = W. Speitkamp, Kolonialherrschaft und Denkmal. Afrikanische und deutsche Erinnerungskultur im Konflikt, in W. Martini (ed.), Architektur und Erinnerung, Göttingen, 2000, p. 165-190.

Tenbrock - Goerlitz - Grütter 1970 = R. H. Tenbrock, E. Goerlitz, W. Grütter, Zeiten und Menschen. Die geschichtlichen Grundlagen der Gegenwart. 1776 bis heute, Paderborn, 1970.

Traber 1951 = T. Traber, Weltgeschichte der neuesten Zeit 1848 bis 1950. Meyer-Schirmeyer Lehrbuch der Geschichte für die Oberstufe höherer Schulen, Bonn, 1951.

Walter 2002 = D. J. Walter, Creating Germans abroad. Cultural policies and national identity in Namibia, Athens, 2002.

Yeandle 2014 = P. Yeandle, « Heroes into Zeroes » ? The Politics of (Not) Teaching England’s Imperial Past, in Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 42, 2014, 5, p. 882-911.

Zeller 2000 = J. Zeller, Kolonialdenkmäler und Geschichtsbewusstsein. Eine Untersuchung der kolonialdeutschen Erinnerungskultur, Frankfurt/M., 2000.

Zimmerer 2011 = J. Zimmerer, Von Windhuk nach Auschwitz ? Beiträge zum Verhältnis von Kolonialismus und Holocaust, Münster, 2011.

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Notes

1 Gérard Noriel in his editorial to a special issue of Genèses advocating an approach to school history education and history textbooks which places both in the wider context of research in social sciences and history thus opening the field beyond the history of education. Noiriel, 2001.

2 Berger - Lorenz 2010. Porciani - Tollebeek 2012.

3 Citron 2008.

4 Carrier 2013.

5 Yeandle 2014. Grindel 2013. Osler 2009.

6 Cock - Picard 2009. Legris 2010.

7 Honold - Scherpe 2004.

8 English transcriptions vary from Kiaochow, Kiauchau to Kiao-Chau.

9 The Prussian curriculum for Geography at secondary schools from 1892 was the first to introduce German colonies into teaching. See also Lehn 2008 and Renz 2014.

10 « […] es wurden Kolonien gegründet, und große Landstrecken in Afrika, an der Westküste (Togo, Kamerun), an der Südwest- und an der Ostküste, viele Inseln im Stillen Ozean, Gebiete auf Neuguinea (Kaiser-Wilhelms-Land) wurden deutsch (seit 1884). Mit schlecht verhehltem Neid sahen die anderen seefahrenden Nationen, namentlich die Engländer, diese Ausbreitung des deutschen Machtkreises, aber vergebens suchten sie hemmend einzugreifen ». Müller 1919, p. 533. (All translations S.G.)

11 „Im Jahre 1904 brach der Eingeborenenaufstand in Südwestafrika aus, der Deutschland zum ersten Male die Schwierigkeiten eines Kolonialkrieges kennen lehrte, aber auch für das Heer unter Führung des Generals von Trotha eine treffliche Schulung und Bewährung brachte“. Müller 1919, p. 546-547.

12 Michels 2009.

13 « Die treue Anhänglichkeit der Askaris wie auch der Kameruner, beruhend auf einer gerechten und sorgsamen Regierung, welche im Gegensatz zu denen der Nachbarkolonien mit hygienischen Maßnahmen die Schlafkrankheit und Malaria bekämpfte, und der blühende Zustand der Kolonien waren der beste Beweis für die deutsche Kolonisationsgabe […]. » Müller 1919, p. 575.

14 Askaris were often portrayed along the frieze of a monument in a subaltern position. For German colonial monuments in general cf. Zeller 2000 and Speitkamp 2000.

15 The title alludes to article no. 231 of the Versailles Treaty which declares Germany’s responsibility for the beginning of the war. Revisionists charged it morally and dismissed it as « Kriegsschuldlüge ». Schnee 1924. Further : Patin 2010.

16 Müller 1919, p. 575.

17 Maurer 1929, p. 114.

18 Kumsteller - Haake - Schneider1941, p. 207-237. Disch - Gruenberg - Edelmann 1941, p. 74-75.

19 Meier - Mühlstädt - Ziegler 1961, p. 184.

20 Meyer 1958, p. 84.

21 With a focus on the memorialization of colonialism and its relevance to contemporary Germany cf. Bender 2006, p. 152-183.

22 Mackenzie - Finaldi 2011. Bancel 2010.

23 Boelitz 1926, p. 247.

24 « […] mit segensreichen Folgen für Deutschland und die ganze Welt […] », ibid.

25 „Indem die farbigen Völker an den Errungenschaften der Weißen teilnehmen konnten, wuchs ihr eigenes Selbstvertrauen, und ihr Widerstandwille wurde gestärkt“. Traber 1951, p. 107.

26 Bahr - Banzhaf - Rumpf 2006, p. 286. The concluding chapter on imperialism presents a balance of positive and negative repercussions of European expansion. Ibid. p. 280-287.

27 See the aforementioned textbook ibid. p. 286. Cf. also photographs in : Tenbrock - Goerlitz - Grütter 1970, p. 72. Boelitz 1926. Appendix with photographs documenting extensively the civilizing and modernizing role of German colonizers.

28 « In der Behandlung der Eingeborenen kamen anfänglich Mißgriffe vor, doch lernte die deutsche Kolonialverwaltung bald, mit ihnen umzugehen und erwarb sich eine Anhänglichkeit, die sich während des Weltkrieges wenigstens in Ostafrika bewährte, wo bei Kriegsausbruch eine die Eingeborenen sehr weit berücksichtigende politische Neuordnung in der Einführung begriffen war. » Mangelsdorf 1952, p. 101.

29 A recent example in : Mickel 2003, p. 150-156.

30 « […] da war die Erde fast verteilt, und nur wenig war übrig geblieben. Das deutsche Volk unter Kaiser Wilhelm sollte zeigen, daß es die Kraft und den Willen habe, mit den anderen Völkern Europas in den kolonialen Bestrebungen, in Handel und Gewerbe in den Wettkampf einzutreten ». Müller 1919, p. 533.

31 Deutschland beteiligte sich « auch mit den anderen großen Nationen an der Kolonisation und – durch die Unterdrückung des Sklavenhandels – an der Lösung einer Kulturaufgabe der Menschheit ». Maurer 1929, p. 115.

32 For a decidedly transnational and global approach see Barth 2007.

33 See Barth 2007 ; Sauer 2009 ; Lanzinner 2010.

34 Bahr - Banzhaf - Rumpf 2006, p. 274. Hirschfelder - Nutzinger 2004, p. 150. Altrichter - Glaser 1971, p. 15. Müller 1949, p. 200.

35 Here I follow Françoise Lantheaume’s periodization for French history textbooks of « promise, withdrawal and burden ». The burdensome phase of coming to terms with empire divides into decoloniziation, reorientation between the 1960s and 1980s and a new stage of discussion since the 1990s which proves to be valid for the narration of colonial history in German textbooks, too. Lantheaume 2013.

36 Zimmerer 2011. A critical survey of colonial violence but not using the term genocide in : Lendzian 2007, p. 538. Lanzinner 2010, p. 252. Textbooks use the term « Kolonialkrieg » as early as 1919, albeit not in a critical vein : Müller 1919, p. 547. A critical discussion of the events starts in the 1980s in GDR textbooks, e.g. Borschke 1984, p. 243-244.

37 Photograph showing black students in a German school in Togo. Bahr - Banzhaf - Rumpf 2006, p. 280.

38 Bahr - Banzhaf - Rumpf 2006, p. 280.

39 When comparing European colonial powers East German textbooks employed a different categorization. They characterized German colonialism as highly aggressive in contrast to British expansion which they considered as being « colonialist » because British capital went into the setting up of communication and transportation infrastructure and French as being « usurious » since French capital was invested solely to yield return. Mühlstädt - Ziegler 1961, p. 187 ; 192.

40 Conrad 2009. Naranch 2005. Walter 2002.

41 Kumsteller 1941, p. 206-237.

42 « um so schwere Verluste wertvollsten Menschentums zu verhindern », Boelitz 1926, p. 247. Cf. Disch - Gruenberg - Edelmann 1941, p. 42.

43 Conrad 2009, p. 412.

44 The rendering of German colonial activities in South-West Africa as agreed upon in contracts and as a means to develop the local infrastructure effectively as referred to above may serve as an example. The textbook also visually perpetuates the idea of German effectiveness : A map showing raw materials found in German South-West Africa seems to prove the far-sightedness of German colonial endeavors and an isolated caricature from 1904 intended to criticize German “thoroughness” loses its scathing edge. Bahr - Banzhaf - Rumpf 2006, p. 274f.

45 Jacobmeyer 2011.

46 Balandier 1951.

47 Ulrike Lindner and others have pointed out intense cooperation between Britain and Germany in Africa only recently. Lindner 2011.

48 Frederick Lugard propagated indirect rule and pushed for native rule in African colonies based on his experiences in Nigeria. Lugard 1922. Hubert Lyautey drew on his experiences in Morokko where he tried to combine military force with social and economic development.

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Référence électronique

Susanne Grindel, « Educating the nation. German history textbooks since 1900 : representations of colonialism », Mélanges de l’École française de Rome - Italie et Méditerranée modernes et contemporaines [En ligne], 127-2 | 2015, mis en ligne le 23 octobre 2015, consulté le 23 novembre 2017. URL : http://mefrim.revues.org/2250 ; DOI : 10.4000/mefrim.2250

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Susanne Grindel

Georg Eckert Institute - Leibniz Institute for international Textbook Research, Germany - grindel@leibniz-gei.de

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