The development and objectives of German South African policy, 1893-1899.
This dissertation traces the development of German attitudes
towards Southern Africa in the period 1893-1899 with a view to
clarifying certain aspects of German imperialism, particularly
the changing nature of the Reich government's policy objectives.
The topic is approached with regard to two historical
controversies. The first of these concerns the nature of the
forces motivating German imperialism. Examining separately the
popular, economic and governmental stimuli to the Reich's
participation in the area, it assesses the relative importance
of these factors to the nature of the country's diplomatic stance
and thereby determines from which source or sources governmental
action ultimately derived. The material uncovered leads to one
certain conclusion. Though almost every imaginable interest
group campaigned vigorously to influence the government's outlook
on this issue, it was in fact shaped almost exclusively by the
results of an internecine struggle between different factions in
The second controversy concerns the issue of whether or not
German imperialism had specific territorial objectives. The
study of South Africa demonstrates that, during the period 1893-
1896, the German government abandoned its eurocentric stance and
devoted considerable attention to the Transvaal in the hope of
developing a position of preponderant political influence there.
Thereafter, following changes in the administrative elite, they
abandoned this in favour of the global aspirations of
Weltpolitik. The evidence reveals that in the shift between a
European concentration and a world outlook, the South African
experience was crucial.
Consequently, the conclusion of this study is that South
Africa should occupy an important place in the historiography
of German imperialism. Policy towards this region was developed
at a time when Germany's attitude to the world was in a state of
flux and, thus, perceptions developed by their diplomatic activities there were to play a major role in shaping their
future world behaviour.