The affects of colonialism are omnipresent in todays society it seems, looking at the development of many countries deemed "3rd World" you can see that all of those countries have been colonized in the past, which made it significantly difficult to develop into a stronger nation like the United States for example. In many cases, the horrors committed in places like many countries of Africa go untaught in many schools, and many people do not know what happened to them. This is the case for the recognized first genocide of the 20th century- the genocide of the Herero, Nama, and other indigenous groups in modern day Namibia, I just learned that this happened this year, had no idea this ever happened. What other genocides do we not learn about in school? And what is the connection between colonialism and genocide?
In the United States, it is usual to be taught about colonialism and imperialism, especially into Africa, labelled "The Scramble for Africa." In which, many European countries dissected and allocated lands that each country would colonize, so that the European countries would not fight each other while taking advantage of the African people. Almost all of the countries in Africa has it's boundaries because of these divisions, and entirely too many countries were affected by this colonization. The only two countries to avoid this colonization and decision to become land value to Europeans was Ethiopia and Liberia, who were able to fight off their European invaders. The Europeans came into Africa seeking natural resources and base materials, and most devastatingly of all free labor.
The effects of slave labor used in many countries such as Namibia were devastating, horrific treatment of natives and punishments used by Germans on Namibians was devastating. So how did this colonization quickly turn into a full blown genocide? It is quite simple really, the Europeans were bullies, wanting to take whatever they want without any resistance, and beat up anyone who stood in their way. In this case, the Germans wanted the resources of the mines, such as diamonds and other rare materials, and they wanted the Native people to do so. The Germans also decided that this area was fit for German settlers, and so quickly a racist caste system developed, in which Germans saw themselves as higher and more pure than the African natives, and decided that intermarrying and having children with the natives would ruin the Aryan bloodline of the individual. Basically they wanted to maintain an purely Aryan society, sound familiar? (We'll get to that in a bit) The native people however, the Herero, Nama, and other groups, did not want to be used as slave labor and attacked by the white German, and revolted and killed almost 200 German colonizers. The Germans then decided that the best course of action for them would be to destroy the native population as a whole, as mentioned in The 20th Century's First Genocide: Not the Holocaust, but the Herero. In this article it mentions an important quote by Lieutenant-General Lotha Von Trotha, where he writes in 1904, "I think it is better that the Herero nation perish rather than infect our troops," which really resonates how little the German government and military viewed these African natives, and promptly launched a full-blown genocide against them, calling it a race war, when in reality it was very one sided. Lotha Von Trotha saw these natives as bugs to be stepped on, an infection needing to be ended. The way that colonization dissolves into a genocide is when the population of people being colonized begin to (rightfully) rise up against the colonizers, who decide that the lives of these individuals no longer have worth. It is disgusting, and awful.
These events prefigure the Holocaust because of the use of the similar German tactics, the desire to keep a purely Aryan society, the use of concentration camps and treatment of people as subhuman. The genocide of the native Herero, Nama and other native groups follows a similar trajectory of the same genocide of the German Jewish population, except there was a lack of outside attention to this matter. This genocide was seemingly a blueprint, this one conducted by the Second Reich, to be used similarly by the Third Reich. The African people were perceived to be lesser than the Germans because they were distinctly non-Aryan, which was perceived to be the superior race by these awful colonizers. Racism played a large role in both genocides, distinctly causing and being the excuse for both attacks, calling each group subhuman and diseases to society, and also wanting to create "a purer human race" without these people who were non-Aryan. The Germans entered a "war" against the native people, for three years until 1907. In the time of these conflicts, 65,000 native people were killed, and the remaining 15,000 were put into concentration camps, or the official Konzentrationslage. Many natives died from abuse, illness, and exhaustion, and this exact model (except on a much larger scale), would be used against the Jewish and other "Undesirable" population of German people.