• Hi Guest!

    The costs of running this forum are covered by Sea Lion Press. If you'd like to help support the company and the forum, visit patreon.com/sealionpress

Germany doesn't get colonies


Well-known member
Bismarck was famously opposed to Germany getting colonies, as he believed them to be more cost than profit. He was right. Germany didn't profit much from its colonies. So, what if Germany never acquired colonies? To what countries would each of its colonies in our timeline go? I'm pretty Namibia would be partitioned between Portuguese Angola and the British Cape Colony, with the border at Cape Fria.

Gary Oswald

Old and Foolish now
Sea Lion Press staff
Published by SLP
Bismarck was opposed but well he gave in anyway. So in terms of no German colonies, you have to look at why Germany gained colonies in the first place and that was because there was huge pressure by the german public and merchant interests to do so.

And that was because a lot of Germans were already in Africa. German traders made up the majority of Europeans active in ports such as Dakar and Lagos and this African trade flowed back to German ports like Hamburg and Bremen.

The Scramble however left these traders vulnerable. When acting in independent countries, such as Haiti, the traders could rely on German imperial might to bully their host countries into capitulating during conflicts. But the number of independent countries in Africa was rapidly falling and if the British or French were to act against the traders, such as when the British bought in an export tax for non-British traders in her Nigerian ports, Germany had less power to act. The obvious answer was for Germany to obtain her own African lands.

The German government under Bismark was very much very reluctant to take any step to do so but the pressure on it to do so was intense, not just from the merchants and their sponsors, but from the German Public in general who were obsessed with stories from Africa. The German population was expanding at a huge rate and hordes of urban workers were emigrating to other countries, the desire increasingly was for new German lands to populate. Africa was where riches could be found for the merchants, but it was also where land could be found for farmers. Germans working in Africa privately were heroes back home, and as Wild West fiction became increasingly popular, the Germans began to imagine having their own frontiers to tame.

There is a social pressure here that meant even as someone as influential as Bismarck ultimately gave in. With France and the UK rapidly expanding, Germany feared being locked out of the continent entirely.

I think if the Government doesn't give in, you are likely to see private german operations anyway. Like if we're talking about Namibia, you have to remember that German traders were buying land there prior to the German government claiming any of it. I think german filibusters is a real possibility here.