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date: 20 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Contrasting the ‘early’ decolonization imposed on defeated Germany after World War I with the subsequent creation of a Nazi Empire, dismantled after years of war and occupation, this chapter examines what made Germany’s twentieth century colonialism and its aftermath so different. It briefly points out why historians and politicians have ignored or downplayed Germany’s colonial past. It then looks at the variety of ways in which colonialism shaped interwar Germany and also discusses to what extent the Nazi Empire needs to be placed within the history of German colonialism, broadly defined. It also analyses how Germany shaped and was shaped by the end of the other European empires and the emergence of the ‘Third World’. In addition to the obvious consideration of ideological motivation, it also investigates the depth of popular support for imperial expansion and the ways in which Germany’s loss of empire has been articulated and understood.

Keywords: Germany, German Empire, decolonization, Reich, popular imperialism, violence, war

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