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The Pre-History of the Holocaust? The Sonderweg and Historikerstreit Debates and the Abject Colonial Past

  • Matthew P. Fitzpatrick (a1)


In chapter eleven of Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler, having constructed aneal type “culture-bearing” Aryan race,1 came to elucidate his views on the history of Jews within Germany. Until the time of Frederick the Great, he argued, “it still entered no one's head to regard the Jews as anything else but a ‘foreign’ people.”2 Thereafter, he asserted, came a period of transition wherein Jews had “the effrontery to turn Germanic.”3 The rest of the chapter, for Hitler, was an attempt to reverse this putative historical mistake, and presents the reader with a vitriolic casting out of Jews, described as “parasites” and a “noxious bacillus,” from the German body politic.4 The aim of this textual expulsion, Hitler explained, was to ensure that the Germans would not be destroyed from within, as had “all great cultures of the past.”5 To Hitler, Jews were what Julia Kristeva has called “the abject”6—that which is simultaneously part of the self but radically rejected by the self. In seeking to expel the “Germanic Jews” from the Volkskörper, Hitler sought to expel that part of the German self that, in his view, was a source of weakness and taint.7



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1 Hitler, Adolf, Mein Kampf, trans. Manheim, Ralf (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1999), 290296.

2 Ibid., 311–312.

3 Ibid., 312.

4 Ibid., 304–305.

5 Ibid., 289.

6 Kristeva, Julia, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, trans. Roudiez, Leon S. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), 18. Kristeva's concept of abjection has also been used powerfully (but differently) by McClintock, Anne in Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Imperial Contest (New York: Routledge, 1995). See, for example, 71ff.

7 Ibid., 3. “‘I ’ want none of that element …‘I’ expel it … I expel myself, I spit myself out, I abject myself within the same motion through which ‘I’ claim to establish myself … I give birth to myself amid the violence of sobs, of vomit.” (Italics in original).

8 Critically the imago is a projection of the self, seen through an (often distorted) external lens, rather than an “actual” self. In Hitler's rendition of Germanentity, the Aryan German figured as the imago—the self as the flawed apprehension of a projection.

9 Jacques Lacan, “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience,” in Lacan, Jacques, Écrits: A Selection, trans. Sheridan, Alan (New York: W. W. Norton, 1977), 4.

10 Brennan, Teresa, History After Lacan (New York: Routledge, 1993), 89. Brennan's discussion of the applications of Lacan's work for historians is particularly acute for historians of Germany. Think, for example, of the resonances of the following: “Lacan points both to some social ramifications of the master-slave dialectic and, more crucially, to a dialectic working between space in the environment and in the psyche. The aggressive imperative involved in making the other into a slave, or object, will lead to spatial expansion (territorial imperialism). This is because the objectification of the other depends on establishing a spatial boundary by which the other and the self are fixed. But this fixing of the other leads to the fear that the other will retaliate, which in turn leads to a feeling of spatial constriction. Moreover, the feeling of spatial constriction is related to the physical environment. These changes have physical effects on the psyche, which in turn alter the psychical perception of the environment and of one's own boundaries. With spatial constriction, one's boundaries are threatened, and the resultant fear increases the need to control the object.”

11 Becker-Leckrone, Megan, Julia Kristeva and Literary Theory (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 151.

12 Ibid., 32–33.

13 The term “abject response” is borrowed from Karen Tatum's usage to explain depictions of violence against women. See Tatum, Karen E., Explaining the Depiction of Violence against Women in Victorian Literature: Applying Julia Kristeva's Theory of Abjection to Dickens, Bronte, and Braddon (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2005).

14 As per, for example, Cornelia Essner's notion of the Jews as an “inländisches Objekt,” which preserves the subject/object dichotomy. See Cornelia Essner, “Borderline im Menschenblut und Struktur rassistischer Rechtsspaltung. Kaiserreich, Koloniales und Reich, Drittes,” in Gesetzliches Unrecht. Rassistisches Recht im 20. Jahrhundert, ed. Brumlik, Micha, Meinl, Susanne, and Renz, Werner (Frankfurt: Campus, 2005), 60.

15 Dominick LaCapra has used the concept of mourning to describe the character of German historiographical debate. Abjection, however, captures the visceral, at times vitriolic complexion of the work generated within the context of the two debates under consideration. See LaCapra, Dominick, “Revisiting the Historians Debate: Mourning and Genocide,” History and Memory 9, no. 1/2 (1997): 80 ff.

16 Witness, for example, the work of Ernst Nolte. Ernst Nolte, “The Past that Will Not Pass: A Speech that Could be Written but not Delivered,” and “Between Historical Legend and Revisionism? The Third Reich in the Perspective of 1980,” both in Forever in the Shadow of Hitler? Original Documents of the Historikerstreit, the Controversy Concerning the Singularity of the Holocaust, trans. James Knowlton and Truett Cates (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1994).

17 Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1999).

18 This existential dread is perhaps best articulated in Habermasian calls for a dissolution of the national.

19 On the historians' self-conscious contribution to post-1945 nation building, see Wolfgang J. Mommsen, “The Return to the Western Tradition: German Historiography since 1945,” German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C., Occasional Paper 4, quoted in Minnerup, Günter, “Review Article: Postmodernism and German History,” Debatte 11, no. 2 (2003): 209.

20 The type of history that Hayden White evocatively described as having been written in the comic mode. White, Hayden, Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1975), 9.

21 Wehler, Hans-Ulrich, Bismarck und der Imperialismus (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1969), 115.

22 Mommsen, Wolfgang J., “Wandlungen der Liberalenee im Zeitalter des Imperialismus,” in Liberalismus und imperialistischer Staat. Der Imperialismus als Problem liberaler Parteien in Deutschland 1890–1914, ed. Holl, Karl and List, Gunter (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1975), 117.

23 A. J. P. Taylor, The Course of German History, quoted in Hamerow, Theodore S., “History and the German Revolution of 1848,” American Historical Review 60, no. 1 (1954): 37.

24 Dahrendorf, Ralf, Gesellschaft und Demokratie in Deutschland (Munich: Deutsche Taschenbuch Verlag, 1974), 70. Worth noting is the strange way in which Dahrendorf posited National Socialism as a corrective vehicle for progress in this passage. This foible of Sonderweg historiography is reproduced by Habermas, Jürgen in “A Kind of Settlement of Damages (Apologetic Tendencies),” trans. Leaman, John, New German Critique 44 (1988): 2539, also reprinted in Knowlton and Cates, trans., Forever in the Shadow of Hitler?, in the final paragraph, where Auschwitz is positioned as the forge of democracy.

25 Blackbourn, David and Eley, Geoff, The Peculiarities of German History: Bourgeois Society and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984).

26 It is beyond the purview of this article to deliver a blow-by-blow account of this debate. For a concise rendering of the issues, see, amidst an ocean of literature, Knowlton and Cates, trans., Forever in the Shadow of Hitler? and Berghahn, Volker, “The Unmastered and Unmasterable Past,” Journal of Modern History 63, no. 3 (1991): 546554.

27 Nolte, “The Past that Will Not Pass,” 22.

28 Nolte, “Between Historical Legend and Revisionism?,” 13–14. See also Nolte, “The Past that Will Not Pass,” 22.

29 See, for example, Habermas, “A Kind of Settlement of Damages,” 25–39, also reprinted in Forever in the Shadow of Hitler?, trans. Knowlton and Cates. For a post-reunification view of the stakes of the Historikerstreit, see Habermas, Jürgen, A Berlin Republic: Writings on Germany, trans. Rendell, Steven (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1998), 23 ff.

30 Jürgen Habermas, “On the Public Use of History: The Official Self-Understanding of the Federal Republic is Breaking Up,” in Forever in the Shadow of Hitler?, trans. Knowlton and Cates, 168.

31 Katz, Steven T., The Holocaust in Historical Context: Volume 1: The Holocaust and Mass Death before the Modern Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 2728. See also Katz, Steven T., “The Uniqueness of the Holocaust: The Historical Dimension,” in Is the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives on Comparative Genocide, ed. Rosenbaum, Alan S. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2001), 4968; and Katz, Steven T., “Ideology, State Power, and Mass Murder/Genocide,” in Lessons and Legacies: The Meaning of the Holocaust in a Changing World, ed. Hayes, Peter (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1991), 4789.

32 See, for example, Yehuda Bauer, “Holocaust and Genocide: Some Comparisons,” in Lessons and Legacies, ed., Hayes, 36–46; and Bauer, Yehuda, Rethinking the Holocaust (New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 2002), 3967.

33 Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (London: Little Brown Company, 1996), 419.

34 In a forum in German History 24, no. 4 (2006), entitled “The Historikerstreit Twenty Years On,” Michael Geyer ruefully recalls arguments during the controversy about “Kampuchea just not being on the same level.” The Eurocentric foundations of this line of argumentation are perhaps more visible today than then; 595.

35 Moses, A. Dirk, “Genocide and Settler Society in Australian History,” in Genocide in Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History, ed. Moses, A. Dirk (New York: Berghahn Books, 2004), 3 ff. See also Moses, A. Dirk, “Conceptual Blockages and Definitional Dilemmas in the ‘Racial Century’: Genocides of Indigenous Peoples and the Holocaust,” Patterns of Prejudice 36, no. 4 (2002): 736.

36 For huge strides in the direction of comparative approaches to genocide, see the research that has crystallized around the Journal of Genocide Research.

37 See, for example, Milchman, Alan and Rosenberg, Alan, “The Unlearned Lessons of the Holocaust,” Modern Judaism 13, no. 2 (1993): 177190; and Bauman, Zygmunt, Modernity and the Holocaust (New York: Cornell University Press, 1992).

38 The term “genocide” itself is problematic, inadvertently naturalizing as it does the perpetrators' claim to be eradicating a discernible social segment known as a “race.” Similarly, the moral power associated with the term means that bestowing or withholding the term is an intrinsically political act. Nevertheless, the following employs the term “genocide” as it has been employed within the literature under review here, as an attempt to destroy a population deemed undesirable solely by virtue of itsentification with or (often unwitting) membership of a particular “ethnic” or “national” community. On the issue of creating a conceptual space within which “genocide” might be studied, see Moses, “Conceptual Blockages.”

39 For the beginnings of such a “world history” approach to genocide studies, see, for example, Moses, A. Dirk, “Empire, Colony, Genocide: Keywords and the Philosophy of History,” in Empire, Colony, Genocide: Conquest, Occupation, and Subaltern Resistance in World History, ed. Moses, A. Dirk (New York: Berghahn Books, 2008). Thanks to Dirk Moses for permission to view an advance copy of this chapter.

40 Moses, “Conceptual Blockages,” 33–36. Moses's concept of the “racial century” is perhaps too strong (and possibly too restrictive in a temporal sense) to be viewed as a useful appellation, as race constituted only one, albeit strong, category used in the objectification of alterity, as the works of Ann Stoler, Lora Wildenthal, and Birthe Kundrus among others have shown. See Stoler, Ann L., Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault's History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995); Stoler, Ann, “Sexual Affronts and Racial Frontiers: Europeanentities and the Cultural Politics of Exclusion in Colonial Southeast Asia,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 34, no. 3 (1992); Wildenthal, Lora, German Women for Empire, 1884–1945 (London: Duke University Press, 2001); Ames, Eric, Klotz, Marcia, and Wildenthal, Lora, eds., Germany's Colonial Pasts (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2005); Kundrus, Birthe, ed., Phantasiereich. Zur Kulturgeschichte des deutschen Kolonialismus (Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag, 2003); Kundrus, Birthe, Moderne Imperialisten. Das Kaiserreich im Spiegel Seiner Kolonien (Cologne: Böhlau Verlag, 2003); Kundrus, Birthe, “Kontinuäten, Parallelen, Rezeptionen. Überlegungen zur ‘Kolonialisierung’ des Nationalsozialismus,” Werkstattgeschichte 43 (2006); and Birthe Kundrus, “Von Windhoek nach Nürnberg? Koloniale ‘Mischehenverbote’ und die nationalsozialistische Rassengesetzgebung,” in Phantasiereich, ed. Kundrus.

41 Again, in the Sonderweg narrations of Dahrendorf and Habermas, the Holocaust is viewed strangely as almost a necessary event to overturn once and for all the atavistic features of Germany. The perverse teleology of this progress narrative is not something worth salvaging.

42 Jarausch, Konrad H. and Geyer, Michael, Shattered Pasts: Reconstructing German Histories (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), 11.

43 On this see Stefan Berger's excellent summary in The Search for Normality: Nationalentity and Historical Consciousness in Germany since 1800 (New York: Berghahn, 2003), 149–167.

44 The literature in the field is expanding rapidly, but for a representative sample of the more influential works, see Zimmerer, Jürgen, Deutsche Herrschaft über Afrikaner. Staatlicher Machtanspruch und Wirklichkeit im kolonialen Namibia (Münster: Lit Verlag, 2002); Zimmerer, Jürgen and Zeller, Joachim, eds., Völkermord in Deutsch-Südwestafrika. Der Kolonialkrieg (1904–1908) und seine Folgen (Berlin: Ch. Links Verlag, 2003); Zimmerer, Jürgen, “The Birth of the Ostland out of the Spirit of Colonialism: A Postcolonial Perspective on the Nazi Policy of Conquest and Extermination,” Patterns of Prejudice 39, no. 2 (2005): 197219; Jürgen Zimmerer, “Colonialism and the Holocaust: Towards an Archaeology of Genocide,” in Genocide in Settler Society, ed. Moses, 48–76; Wildenthal, German Women for Empire; Ames, Klotz, and Wildenthal, eds., Germany's Colonial Pasts; Susanne Zantop, Colonial Fantasies: Conquest, Family, and Nation in Pre-Colonial Germany, 1770–1870 (London: Duke University Press, 1997); Friedrichsmeyer, Sara, Lennox, Sara, and Zantop, Susanne, eds., The Imperialist Imagination: German Colonialism and its Legacy (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998); van der Heyden, Ulrich and Zeller, Joachim, eds., Macht und Anteil an der Weltherrschaft. Berlin und der deutsche Kolonialismus (Münster: Unrast, 2005); Kundrus, ed., Phantasiereich; Kundrus, Moderne Imperialisten; Kundrus, “Kontinuäten, Parallelen, Rezeptionen,” 45–62; Grosse, Pascal, Kolonialismus, Eugenik und Bürgerliche Gesellschaft in Deutschland, 1850–1918 (Frankfurt am Main and New York: Campus, 2000); Zimmerman, Andrew, Anthropology and Antihumanism in Imperial Germany (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001); Madley, Benjamin, “From Africa to Auschwitz: How German South West Africa Incubatedeas and Methods Adopted and Developed by the Nazis in Eastern Europe,” European History Quarterly 35, no. 3 (2005): 429464; Hull, Isabel V., Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005); Conrad, Sebastian and Osterhammel, Jürgen, eds., Das Kaiserreich Transnational. Deutschland in der Welt 1871–1914 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004).

45 Drechsler, Horst, Südwestafrika unter deutscher Kolonialherrschaft. Der Kampf der Herero und Nama gegen den deutschen Imperialismus (Berlin: Akadamie-Verlag, 1966); Drechsler, Horst, Südwestafrika unter deutscher Kolonialherrschaft. Die großen Land- und Minengesellschaft (Stuttgart: Akadamie-Verlag, 1996); Bley, Helmut, Namibia under German Rule (Hamburg: Lit Verlag, 1996).

46 See, for example, Gründer, Horst, “Genozid oder Zwangsmodernisierung? Der moderne Kolonialismus in universalgeschichtliche Perspektive,” in Genozid und Moderne, ed. Dabag, Mihan and Platt, Kristin, vol. I (Opladen: Leske & Budrich, 1998), 135151. See also Fieldhouse, D. K., The Colonial Empires: A Comparative Survey from the Eighteenth Century (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1966), who pleads for viewing the Herero/Nama wars “in proportion” as one of Germany's “little wars” necessary for the pacification of the territory, after which German colonial administration entered a “mature phase.” It is precisely this “mature phase” that Zimmerer deals with so expertly in his Deutsche Herrschaft über Afrikaner.

47 This phrase is the evocative title of Jürgen Zimmerer's (at this time) still-to-be-released work on Germany's genocides. Zimmerer, Jürgen, Von Windhuk nach Auschwitz. Beiträge zum Verhältnis von Kolonialismus und Holocaust (Münster: Lit Verlag, 2007).

48 Moses, A. Dirk, “Disentangling Master Concepts of Extermination,” in Europe's Pasts and Presents, ed. Atzert, Stephan and Bonnell, Andrew (Adelaide: Australian Humanities Press, 2004), 401418. What follows should not be seen as an argument about the caliber of the works, rather the trajectory and implications of their arguments. That they appear here at all is to suggest that they are the most serious positions taken in a complex historiographical debate.

49 An early overview of this debate can be found in Schaller's, Dominik J.‘Ich glaube, dass die Nation als solche vernichtet werden muss.’ Kolonialkrieg und Völkermord in Deutsch-Südwestafrika, 1904–1907,” Journal of Genocide Research 6, no. 3 (2004): 395430. See especially 405–409.

50 Jürgen Zimmerer, “Krieg, KZ und Völkermord in Südwestafrika. Der erste deutsche Genozid,” in Völkermord in Deutsch-Südwestafrika, ed. Zimmerer and Zeller, 60.

51 Ibid., 62–63. This is repeated in Zimmerer, “Birth of the Ostland,” 211.

52 Zimmerer, “Birth of the Ostland,” 214.

53 Bundesarchiv Berlin. NS18/152, 1, 12. NS18/162, 31–6. NS18/624, 6. NS18/533, 3–4.

54 There had always been some suspicion on the part of Weimar Germany's colonial enthusiasts regarding Hitler's commitment to “their” (largely liberal) imperialism. In September 1933, the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft sent a letter to the party requesting that Hitler “clarify” his anti-colonial stance in Mein Kampf. Hitler, in building his pastiche party, duly obliged with a well-placed interview in the British Sunday Express that was subsequently relayed to the Colonial Society. As Wolfe Schmokel argued some time ago, the Hoßbach Minutes demonstrate that Hitler had little interest in what he saw as the “liberal capitalist” imperialists that took two generations to make their colonies useful. See letter from DKG to Dr. Jung (Kolonialreferat der NSDAP), Bundesarchiv Berlin, R8023/152, Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft, 185, 249, 282. See also Bundesarchiv Berlin, R8023/152, Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft, 185. See also Hoßbach, quoting Hitler, in International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, vol. 25, Nuremberg, 1947, 406 (Document 386-PS). See also Schmokel, Wolfe W., Dream of Empire: German Colonialism 1919–1945 (New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 1964), 105.

55 See, for example, Britain's Ambassador Neville Henderson, who reported that the NSDAP's sudden interest in Germany's colonial history was “merely being exploited for propaganda purposes.” Henderson, quoted in Schmokel, Dream of Empire, 120.

56 Zimmerer's work on the Journal of Genocide Research and at the Sheffield Centre for the Study of Genocide and Mass Violence clearly demonstrates his opposition to the notion of a genocidal Sonderweg.

57 Jürgen Zimmerer, “Colonialism and the Holocaust: Towards an Archaeology of the Holocaust,” trans. Andrew H. Beattie, in Genocide in Settler Society, ed. Moses, 60.

58 Ibid., 60. I would like to signal here that conflating genocide and massacres is problematic, unless a massacre is part of a broader genocidal process.

59 Ibid., 67–68.

60 Ibid., 67–68.

61 Again, a knowing retranslation of the German “Endlösungen” that seeks to recall and refuse simultaneously its Nazi connotations. Hull, Absolute Destruction, 1.

62 Ibid., 326.

63 Ibid., 104. Against the Sonderweg thesis, see, for example, Blackbourn and Eley, The Peculiarities of German History, 228 ff.

64 Hull, Absolute Destruction, 2, 182, 327.

65 Ibid., 191.

66 Ibid., 326.

67 Ibid., 280.

68 Ibid., 276.

69 Ibid., 290.

70 Ibid., 284. On the U.S. and its desire to preserve its neutrality even in the face of the Armenian genocide, see Payaslian, Simon, United States Policy toward the Armenian Question and the Armenian Genocide (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). See also Sarafian, Ara, United States Official Documents on the Armenian Genocide (Watertown, MA: Armenian Review, 1995).

71 Lepsius, Johannes, Bericht über die Lage des Armenischen Volkes in der Türkei (Potsdam: Tempelverlag, 1916).

72 On this, see Bloxham, Donald, The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), chapter 3.

73 Hull, Absolute Destruction, 160–161.

74 Hull, Isabel V., “Review: Colonial Genocide, Alison Palmer,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 16, no. 1 (2002), 119 ff.

75 Dahrendorf, Gesellschaft und Demokratie in Deutschland.

76 Hull, Absolute Destruction, 107–8, 188, 191. For a necessary correction to this characterization of Wilhelmine politics, see Kreuzer, Marcus, “Parliamentarization and the Question of German Exceptionalism: 1867–1918,” Central European History 36, no. 3 (2003): 327357.

77 Bley, Namibia under German Rule, 164–65.

78 Hull, Absolute Destruction, 188–189.

79 Drechsler, Horst, Let Us Die Fighting (London: Zed Press, 1980), 163164. Bley, Namibia under German Rule, 162–167. Zimmerer, Deutsche Herrschaft über Afrikaner, 42. Hull is fully aware of Bülow's role in bringing Trotha to heel, but it is inexplicably minimized in her account. See Hull, Absolute Destruction, 28. Her contention that Bülow was dismissed as chancellor for attempting to encourage “the growth of democracy against the monarchical principle” is similarly problematic. See Hull, Absolute Destruction, 188.

80 Hull, Isabel V., “Military Culture and the Production of ‘Final Solutions’ in the Colonies: The Example of Wilheminian Germany,” in The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective, ed. Gellately, Robert and Kiernan, Ben (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 141162.

81 Ibid., 142–3.

82 Ibid., 162.

83 Madley, “From Africa to Auschwitz.”

84 Ibid., 430.

85 Ibid., 431.

86 Ibid., 446–447.

87 See, for example, Hitler's Sportspalast speech of Jan. 30, 1941, where he stated “… Egyptian nationalists, Indian nationalists in their thousands are filling the prisons. Concentration camps were not invented in Germany; it is the English who were the ingenious inventors of thisea. By these means they contrived to break the backbone of other nations, to remove their resistance, to wear them down, and make them prepared at last to submit to this British yoke of democracy.” Source: (last viewed June 22, 2007).

88 Bley, Namibia under German Rule, 281–283.

89 Stoecker, Helmuth, ed., Drang nach Afrika. Die deutsche koloniale Expansionspolitik und Herrschaft in Afrika von den Anfängen bis zum Verlust der Kolonien (Berlin: Akadmie-Verlag, 1991), 184, cited in Kundrus, “Von Windhoek nach Nürnberg?,” in Phantasiereich, ed. Kundrus, 110.

90 A document, the veracity of which is still questioned, refers to Hitler discussing the coming campaign in the east in 1939 as necessitating merciless measures against the civilian population. This is alleged to have been justified in the rhetorical question, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” See Bardakjian, Kevok B., Hitler and the Armenian Genocide (Cambridge, MA: Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research and Documentation, 1985). That Hitler garnered some of his racial theory from Eugen Fischer, who had researched his eugenicist theories in Southwest Africa is not to impute that Hitler had per osmosis digested genocidal lessons from the Herero-Nama wars.

91 Hull, “Military Culture,” 143. Andreas Eckert, “Namibia—ein deutscher Sonderweg in Afrika? Anmerkungen zur internationalen Diskussion,” in Völkermord in Deutsch-Südwestafrika, ed. Zimmerer and Zeller, 232, 236.

92 Kundrus, “Von Windhoek nach Nürnberg?,” 110–134.

93 Ibid., 115.

94 Bley had made this clear earlier, along with the Social Democrats' and Center Party's insistence that this remain the case. Bley, Namibia under German Rule, 212–219.

95 Kundrus, Moderne Imperialisten, 277–278.

96 Essner, “Borderline im Menschenblut,” 39, 60.

97 Bley Namibia under German Rule, 216.

98 Grimmer-Solem, Erik, “The Professors' Africa: Economists, the Elections of 1907, and the Legitimation of German Imperialism,” German History 25, no. 3 (2007): 313347. See especially 324–326, 333–336.

99 Ibid., 336.

100 Dieter Gosewinkel, “Rückwirkungen des kolonialen Rasserechts? Deutsche Staatsangehörigkeit zwischen Rassestaat und Rechtsstaat,” in Das Kaiserreich transnational, ed. Conrad and Osterhammel, 254–255.

101 Kundrus, Moderne Imperialisten, 79, 81. The term “scientific” (wissenschaftlich) should not be conflated with biological science, but rather the social sciences of ethnography and anthropology. See Zimmerman, Anthropology and Antihumanism in Imperial Germany.

102 Kundrus, Moderne Imperialisten, 222. See also 239.

103 Ibid., 275. In Lacanian/Kristevan terms, colonial subjects were constructed as a subordinate, objectified alterity, not a polluting abject entity within the body politic.

104 Wildenthal, German Women for Empire, 113. See also 120.

105 Ibid., 125–7.

106 Hans Ziemann, quoted in ibid., 149.

107 Schaller, “Ich glaube,” 408.

108 Helmut Walser Smith, “The Talk of Genocide, the Rhetoric of Miscegenation: Notes on Debates in the German Reichstag Concerning Southwest Africa, 1904–1914,” in The Imperialist Imagination, ed. Friedrichsmeyer, Lennox, and Zantop, 116.

109 Essner and Gosewinkel's research demonstrates the extent to which biological racism was muted, for example, even within the Pan German League until the ascendancy of Heinrich Claß in 1908. Essner, “Borderline im Menschenblut,” 39. Gosewinkel, “Rückwirkungen des kolonialen Rasserechts?,” 247–248.

110 Stoler, Race and the Education of Desire, 52.

111 On Nazi views of the Russians, see Kershaw, Ian, Hitler 1936–1945: Nemesis (London: Allen Lane/Penguin, 2000), 400402. As Kershaw makes plain, Hitler's model for the east was British rule in India, where the British had been able to “rule millions with only a few men.”

112 For a discussion of how this operated in the southeast Asian colonies of the Dutch and the French, see Stoler, “Sexual Affronts and Racial Frontiers,” 514–551.

113 On the discourse of pollution and defilement, see Przyrembel, Alexandra, “Rassenschande.” Reinheitsmythos und Vernichtungslegitimation im Nationalsozialismus (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003).

114 Grosse, Pascal, “What Does German Colonialism Have to do with National Socialism?,” in Germany's Colonial Pasts, ed. Klotz, Ames, and Wildenthal, , 115134.

115 Ibid., 129.

116 On this, see Matthew Fitzpatrick, “Pining for the Periphery: German Decolonisation and the Negative Nostalgia of Hans Grimm,” in Europe's Pasts and Presents, ed. Atzert and Bonnell, 130.

117 This simple binary opposition is meant only to contrast the position of alterity and the abject in Nazi thought, rather than represent the full extent of Nazi eugenics. Occupying a liminal space between these two poles were, for example, the Romani, who, while seen as alien, were viewed as without redeeming economic value and therefore expendable in toto. Abjection might also be a constructive concept for furthering an understanding of the place of the T4 project in Nazi Germany.

118 Beddies, Thomas and Schmiedebach, Heinz-Peter, “‘Euthanasie’—Opfer und Versuchsobjekte. Kranke und behinderte Kinder in Berlin während des Zweiten Weltkriegs,” Medizinhistorisches Journal 39, no. 2/3 (2004): 165196.

119 Friedlander, Henry, The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution (Chapel Hill, NC: North Carolina University Press, 1995). See also Burleigh, Michael, Death and Deliverance: “Euthanasia” in Germany, c.1900–1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); and Browning, Christopher R., “Genocide and Public Health: German Doctors and Polish Jews, 1939–41,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 3, no. 1 (1988): 2136. On the place of miscegenation and maternal politics in the genesis of the Holocaust, see Bock, Gisela, “Antinatalism, Maternity, and Paternity in National Socialist Racism,” in Maternity and Gender Policies: Women and the Rise of the European Welfare States, 1880s-1950s, ed. Bock, Gisela and Thane, Pat (London: Routledge, 1990), 253269.

120 On the linkage of sickness and Jewishness, and ultimately the linkages between the discourse of public hygiene and the Holocaust, see Weindling, Paul J., Epidemics and Genocide in Eastern Europe, 1890–1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).

121 As such, Zimmerer's attention to the spatial dimension is a useful insight. Zimmerer, “The Birth of the Ostland,” 202 ff. Zimmerer, “Colonialism and the Holocaust,” 53 ff.

122 Lemkin's or otherwise.

123 Grosse, “What Does German Colonialism Have to do with National Socialism?,” 129.

124 Moses, “Genocide and Settler Society,” 30–36.

I would like to thank Sally Cove, Susie Protschky, Catherine Kevin, Peter Monteath, Dirk Moses, Bradley Naranch, the staff and students at the Flinders History Seminar Series, and the two anonymous reviewers from Central European History for their insightful comments and suggestions on this paper.

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