The Kaiser’s Holocaust, by David Olosuga and Casper W Erichsen

A really well written and well paced book. It deals with the genocides perpetrated by German colonial authorities in South West Africa (today’s Namibia). It explains how Nazi racial exterminations were the legacy of the ideas and policies then put into practice.

It also provides a crisp summary of the thinking that lay behind Nazi theories and policies on race. Ideas like the ‘untermenschen’ and ‘racial purity’. Fascinatingly, German plans in 1918 for a huge colony extending from the east coast of Africa to the west, to provide ‘liebensraum’ for the German people, were resurrected by the Nazis. But the foundation of the whole thing on the idea that some races are naturally superior to others, and that extermination of the latter is a dirty but necessary job, endured with the support of eugenics theorists.

Interesting too to see that Theodore Roosevelt was such a racist.

And when one reads today of the tensions between indigenous peoples in Central America and those seeking to exploit oil and other commodities, you have to fear that the imposition of the industrialised economic perspective will always harm those outside it.

So, I recommend this book highly. It joins up events across time in a way that is genuinely enlightening, at least for me.


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