posts 16 - 28 of 28
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 24

The Herero and Nama Genocide

Before this class, I had never heard of the Herero and Nama genocides. It is shocking that so many people were murdered, and yet many students do not ever learn about this history. Germany has only recently acknowledged this genocide, and justice has never been served. At the Berlin Conference, Africa was divided up among European countries. Germany received the area of land that is now Namibia, and their rule over the country led to the death of tens of thousands of people. At the time, the ownership of colonies was thought a necessity to be considered one of Europe's successful nations, but the entire concept of colonization is extremely problematic. When settlers enter a new country with weapons, power, and preformed ideas about their own superiority, the effects can be disastrous. Colonialism and genocide are closely intertwined; colonialism can easily morph into genocide.

The ideology of the Germans entering Namibia was that the Indigenous people, who had occupied the land far before the arrival of German settlers, were inferior and “undeserving of the same human rights as the white populations” (Clara Ng). The idea that the indigenous people of Africa were “uncivilized” was echoed all across European nations. Europeans came to “barbaric” countries to “civilize” people, often forcing their religion and ideas onto the people of Africa. As Reinhart Kössler and Henning Melber say, “the negation of the full human worth of the persons of the colonized is predicated in the structurally racist set-up of colonialism.” Colonialism itself was built on racist ideas, ones that can lead to the mass killings of entire groups of people. Whether it morphed into genocide or not, colonization was always harmful. It stripped many Indigenous Africans of their cultures and traditions, and caused only pain, suffering, and dehumanization.

The Herero and Nama genocide set a precedent in Germany that was followed by the Holocaust. It established “a specific routine among the German military and also amongst civilians and the way they looked at war and specific acts of war” (Kössler and Melber). The alienation of the Herero and Nama that the Germans used during the genocide, the way they viewed them as an ‘inferior race,’ fed into Nazi propaganda and ideology. Furthermore, the work done on eugenics during the Herero and Nama genocide led to many of the ideas used by Nazi’s to prove their superiority; Eugene Fischers studies led to the Nuremberg laws. The ideas behind the Herero-Nama genocide about a “pure Aryan race” and the “expansion of the German people” were also much of the foundation in Nazi ideology. Concentration camps were also used by the Germans for the first time in Namibia. The use of concentration camps for imprisoning an entire group of people was a new concept, and one that the Germans used in the Holocaust as well.

Learning about this genocide, I wonder why it is not well known. Why had I never heard about it before? It is important for Germany, and the rest of the world, to acknowledge that this happened, and face the effects of colonialism as a whole on Africa and the world. The Herero-Nama genocide should not continue to be covered up and swept under the rug, but talked about and dealt with head on, for that is the only way to move forward and make sure that it never happens again.

Boston, Massachussetts
Posts: 27

A Horrible Genocide that's been overlooked

Throughout the history of the world, violence and annihilation of others has been accepted as a way to assert power. Despite different nations having their own personal reasons for resorting to violence, it has nevertheless been normalized. Many lives have been lost as a result of one group of people asserting their dominance over others with baseless claims. the genocide of the Herero and the Nama people in Namibia in 1905-1907 is the first documented genocide in the 20th century, yet it gets overshadowed by greater known genocides such as the holocaust. Despite the ideas for the extermination of the unwanted people in Germany stemming from the Herero and Nama genocide, it has truly been neglected n history.

This genocide has greatly demonstrated that colonialism can lead to genocide. Colonialism has been based on white people’s believed superiority over the rest of the world. Because they had the resources to overpower many people who weren’t industrialized to the same extent, they easily overpowered them. Therefore, seeing that others were less ‘civilized’ their believed superiority grew, and culminated into a hatred towards people of color. This makes it so easy for colonialism to lead to genocide because their superiority led to their dehumanization of people of color. Believing that someone is less than human makes treating them with violence or disrespect, an easier task. For instance, the Germans settled in Namibia because they wanted to revoke the African’s land and claim it as their own; however, once they began overtaking it, they wanted to “annihilate the African tribes… by floods of blood… German settlement of the country, thus devoid of competitors” because they believed them to be savages(Clara Ng.). According to“The 20th Century’s First Genocide: Not the Holocaust, but the Herero,” “Herero numbered around 85,000 men and women. After the conflict, only about 15,000 Herero remained as forced laborers.” They destroyed 80% of their population and justified it because of the deep hatred they held against black people. They even used some flawed experiments to justify their actions by sending 300 skulls back to Berlin for experiments to show the inferiority of people of color. Overall, this demonstrates that just that feeling of superiority that is embedded in the concept of colonialism makes it possible for it to lead to genocide.

Additionally, the horrors in this genocide led to the holocaust. The Germans used concentration camps where they starved the Africans, beat them, and killed them, were a precedent for the holocaust death camps. Despite the fact that camps for the Africans were not specifically death camps, but rather labor camps, the Germans were printing countless death certificates because they knew their intended goal was to work these people to death. They spared no one, not even women or children. In nazi Germany, the dynamic was the same. It was a reign of terror and no one in the oppressed group was safe at that moment. I completely agree with ilikekiwis’ point that the Germans also used propaganda as a ploy to foster negative public opinion against their oppressed group. This made it easier to commit such horrendous crimes against them. The horrors in the Herero and Nama genocide was a blueprint for the Third reich to cause the Holocaust.

The genocide of the Herero and Nama showed me how history favors white people insanely. Black people’s experiences are always discounted, and never fully acknowledged. There is always a lack of accountability, and a distancing that occurs on the part of white people regarding these clear issues. According to the Pambazuka News article, today in Namibia, “despite its fertile land, prospects seem dismal for many, and even amongst the gainfully employed, alarming disparities prevail. White Namibians often earn three times as much as their black counterparts.” Despite the fact that Germans no longer are colonizing Namibia, the impacts of the genocide and discrimination live on. It is clear that this genocide left significant impacts not only in Namibia, but the rest of the world too. It influenced the holocaust, and eugenics, both horrendous parts of history -- however, it’s so important to have a well rounded view of history rather than one that is twisted and one sided.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18


Genocide is a word that came into my vocabulary around 2 years ago in my AP world history class. I had heard of horrific event that were classified as genocides, such as the holocaust, however, there was never a title to put over these such events until somwhat recently. From the time after learning about this word, I began reading history a lot differently and seeing things that were classified as genocide, and some things that were genocide, but were not classfied as that. We learned about many horrific moments in history that year, but this week was the first I have heard of the Herero and Nama genocide.

This genocide is directly linked to the abuse of power that stems from colonialism. When colonialism takes place, the ones who come in feel as though they have some sort of custody over everything and everyone living in the place that they are colonizing. This makes them develop a power conflict as they try to implement their ideologies to people who do not want to follow them, resulting in anger from the colonists and physical force. This is an incredibly immoral and wrong process that often ends with the loss of many innocent lives.

This genocide is also directly linked to the holocaust because it was almost a “practice genocide” for the Germans before the Holocaust. “The remaining 15,000 survivors, mostly women and children, were interned in the official Konzentrationslage, or concentration camps, located in the present-day Namibian cities of Swakopmund, Karibib, Windhoek, Okahandja, and Lüderitz.[14] [15] Fenced in by thorn bushes and barbed wire, many Herero and Nama died from illness, abuse, and exhaustion. Later, the Third Reich would follow this model, establishing thousands of such camps where Jews and other “undesirables” were systematically killed.”
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 21

The First Genocide

Like many of my peers have stated already, I also was not aware of this genocide and let alone know that this genocide actually preceded the Holocaust. Information about the Holocaust is taught at many schools around the world and knowledge about it is wide-spread, unlike the Herero/Nama genocide, which is a part of history that no one likes to touch upon. The Herero/Nama genocide occurred from 1904 to 1907 yet it was only classified as a genocide in 1985 by the United Nation’s Whitaker report and even later, acknowledged as a genocide by Germany’s Minister of Economic Cooperation in 2004.

The Herero and Nama genocide didn’t pop out of nowhere. The events that lead to it was known as the Berlin Conference, which was a series of negotiations where European powers gathered together to divide up Africa--with all of the European nations trying to claim a piece of the giant cake for themselves. These negotiations completely negated the fact that the lands all over Africa were already claimed and denied the existence of the living people who had already inhabited the lands. There’s no denying that the conference stemmed from the thinking that most White people back then had--they were the most superior race and any other race is automatically seen as less than them, especially Black people. This sort of thinking was what enabled White people in the history of the world to commit many horrendous things, including the Herero and Nama genocide.

Germany was attracted to the diamond and copper mines of Namibia, just like how King Leopold II of Belgium seized the lucrative Congo for its precious minerals and plentiful source of wild rubber. As evidenced from the readings, what began as an effort for colonization slowly morphed into a genocide, because once the Germans recognized that they had successfully claimed the land and its resources for themselves, they began to reach for more. It’s easy to hunger for more once you get a taste of something, especially if that something is power. The colonization completed shifted in the direction of a genocide when the Germans decided that not only do they want to steal the land from the Herero peoples, but they need to take advantage of the fact that these poor people now lack the power and resources to stand up for themselves. The Herero tribe “endured slavery, forced labor and repeated attempts to extinguish their culture” which in terms decimated more than 80% of their population then.

A theme common throughout history is the search for power and the need to exert superiority. If nations stopped hungering for power and felt less need to physically impose their superiority on other races, so many world events and tragedies could have been prevented. One thing I’ve also noticed is that no one apologizes for anything unless they are called out for it or facing massive backlash from it. Although Germany has acknowledged the genocide--much later than they should have-- not much reparations have been done for the Herero and Namaqua tribes whose populations had been deeply scarred because of it.

These problems needed to be acknowledged early on so the offender will learn from their past mistakes and stop committing them but obviously Germany recognized their faults far too late as the Holocaust repeated what happened in the Herero/Nama genocide, only onto a different group of people. Not only is it important for the offender, Germany, to acknowledge what they’ve done but the rest of the world as well to face the genocide head on, instead of keeping it as a part of history unheard of and unmentioned.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 25

The Importance of Covering Genocide

The genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia was no mistake, born from European colonialism, ultimately leading to the Holocaust. It all began with the Berlin Conference, the meeting between the European countries to divide up the continent of Africa with the goal of expanding their power by exploiting its people for resources. They all wanted a piece of the pie, and by excluding any of the African nations from knowledge of what they were doing, they drew their own lines, ignoring the pre-established borders of ethnic groups and nations. The basis of their motivation for this, or even just the idea that they would be able to pull this off, most definitely stems from notions of white superiority and fear.

Germany had their sights set on plentiful minerals of Namibia and after planting their colony there, it was only a matter of time before they took advantage of the people there as well. Once a country or large power can just encroach on a large area in that way, what is stopping them from extending their hold on the people too? Colonialism is the assumption of political power over another with the intent of economic gain. Assuming power leads to assuming dominance and the idea that one can be unstoppable. That is how the Germans were able to brutally exploit the Herero and Nama, forcing them to harvest rubber with extreme means of coercement, such as the cutting off of worker hands. The task of harvesting rubber was no easy feat either, oftentimes the rubber sap would stick to the skin of the people, resulting in extraordinary pain when removing it.

When the people of what was then South West Africa began to revolt and rebel (under leaders Samuel Maharero of the Herero and Hendrik Witbooi) against the stealing of their cattle, land, labor, and humanity, Germany saw it as a threat. This prompted General Von Trotha to claim self defense and declare a race war. He was already an established man, responsible for much of the events that happened in China during its Boxer Rebellion (Reinhart Kössler and Henning Melber, The genocide in Namibia (1904-08) and its consequences) and a heavy proponent for Social Darwinism. (Clara Ng, The 20th Century’s First Genocide: Not the Holocaust, but the Herero). Depicting the people of Namibia as “subhuman and diseased” it was not hard for the “annihilation order” to see success. Trade cards with false portrayals of the Herero people only furthered the ideas of a superior race. Ultimately after the war was declared over, concentration camps were used to imprison any survivors, women and children left to die in the deserts.

These events prefigured the Holocaust in that they set the stage for the capabilities that Germany had. It steeped ideas like white superiority, Social Darwinism, and anti-miscegenation. Figures like Eugen Fischer, “the father of German and Nazi eugenics” played a crucial role as well. He was one of the professors who experimented on the hundreds of skulls from the concentration camp, Shark Island, sent back to Berlin laboratories (Clara Ng). His publication The Bastards of Rehoboth and the Problem of Miscegenation in Man provided the basis for the Nuremberg Laws, thus pointing to how philosophies of that time gave life to later Nazism. The establishment, even standardization of such practices and systems for mass killings, is what the Holocaust was able to be founded on.

We tend to focus our attention on the awful abomination that was Nazi Germany and the systematic murders of millions the most in school. It is not to say that the Holocaust is not to be learned about, but it should not be the only genocide to be taught. If I had not taken this class, I would have never known that the Herero and Nama Genocide had happened. It is crucial that these “not so attractive” parts of history be taught because what we are taught, ultimately influences what we think and how we perceive the world. We live in an era of abundant information, it only makes sense to learn about these events and push for justice. The people of Namibia still have not received any reparations from Germany, even after what was done to them and even done by Germany. The Germans have taken steps to address the Holocaust, but not the Namibian Genocide? The false depictions of African people on trade cards carry on into our own education till this day. Ask any student in the American school system what Africa is like and they will tell you that it is nothing but deserts and barren jungles. We still have outdated views of what Africa is like, we never see the beautiful cities and tall buildings, we only see “uncivilized” land. This goes to show that what happens in history, systems of oppression, systems to maintain power, they are very durable and don’t just disappear.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 25

Take 2.... Colonial Genocide Blueprint?

Oops, I added my post to the facing lynching discussion. Here it is in its proper place:

Learning about this topic made me connect the dots between colonialism and the Holocaust, which I had never done before. I think the whole concept of colonialism is what gives it the potential to morph into genocide: it sets up the idea that one group of people is more important than another, and “needs” to infringe on the other group’s sovereignty and impose its own discriminatory rules. In this case, Germany decided that it “needed” lebensraum, and decided to seize that space at the expense of a “lesser” people. A quote that jumped out at me was from the article “The 20th Century’s First Genocide: Not the Holocaust, but the Herero:” “There, colonial rule quickly dissolved into widespread exploitation and resource theft.” Isn’t that kind of the whole point of colonialism, and what it always descends into? “Toward a culture of memory for a memory culture today – a German perspective” touched on this too, adding that the goal of settlement contributed to the severity of people being driven from their home. I also think @alberic25 summarized this process of othering within colonialism very well.

I found it interesting and disturbing to examine the similarities between the Herero and Nama genocide and the Holocaust. While watching the video, the most obvious similarities I noticed were the number assignments (necklaces in Namibia, tattoos in the Holocaust) and the concentration camps. I also noticed how, like in the Holocaust, people’s rights were stripped away and race relations got worse and worse until people were being murdered in large numbers. It struck me that in Otjimbingwe, the Herero people who were attacked had had close ties with the German community in the area. This reminded me of how Jewish citizens who had been members of communities in Germany had their rights stripped away and were demonized, leading to ostracization in their communities and eventually genocide.

I also noticed similarities in how people were designated as subhuman and below the Aryan race. The Herero and Nama genocide clearly laid some foundations for the race “science” employed during the Holocaust, as @sanadomun pointed out. It is disturbing to learn about what was done to people and human remains in the name of pseudoscientifically trying to prove racial supremacy. The detail about the Herero skulls being cleaned and sent away was especially shocking to learn. Also, in both genocides, propaganda, especially imagery, was used to paint the scapegoated people as foreign and threatening.

After reading the article about reconciliation, I thought about the meaning of reconciliation and how it was delivered (or not) in the Herero and Nama genocide and the Holocaust. Why did this happen/ why is this happening differently after the two genocides we are comparing? What is true reconciliation, and can it ever be fully achieved? I wonder how reconciliation would have been different if the Herero and Nama genocide had happened later in the twentieth century. Would the genocide be common knowledge?

One big takeaway from learning about this genocide is that there is so much missing in history curriculums. I know it’s impossible to teach the entirety of world history, as there’s just so much of it, but I never even learned about this genocide as an afterthought. I think that not learning about this and leaving colonialism and genocide unconnected does not do either topic justice, as it is important to understand their connections, even in the 21st century when there is less “traditional” colonialism happening but ideals and impacts of colonialism and imperialism are very much alive. @Bumblebee brings up a great point when they say, “colonialism, genocide, and how we discuss both topics while studying history all stem from racism. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that everyone knows the Holocaust, yet most people have never heard of the Herero. When deciding what topics in history are studied, a more inclusive lens needs to be used to ensure that students are learning about diverse narratives.” I definitely do not think it’s a coincidence that this genocide that we generally do not learn about occurred in Africa, not Europe.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 24

Effects of the Herero and Nama Genocide

After reflecting on the lesson from this past week as well as the video and articles about the topic, I am shocked that I have never heard about this genocide or was taught about it. Given that it resulted in the death of wighty percent of the Herero population, it seems like a topic that would require intense study and thought. Though I only just learned about it, it is clear that the genocide against the Herero and Nama people of Namibia was a “practice” for the Holocaust.

In the beginning, the Second Reich disguised this act as colonialism, which, according to Clara Ng, “quickly dissolved into widespread exploitation and resource theft” where the Herero were determined to be undeserving of the same rights as white people and were viewed solely as a supply of cheap labor. The Germans in Namibia took advantage of the copper and diamond resources in the country. Furthermore, the forces began to take large sums of the land in the area, resulting in the Herero fighting back.

However, the real turning point in this feud between the Germans and Nama and Herero people was Lieutenant-General Lotha Von Trotha’s arrival. Shortly after, Von Trotha stated that the conflict was a “race war” and that the Africans were deceased and mere pests. He advocated for the eradication of the Africans in a way of Darwinism, declaring that the “inferiors” must be destroyed to save the greater “Aryan” race.

Many of the measures taken to oppress the Herero and Nama people were adapted to fit the Holocaust’s norms. For example, the Nuremberg Laws from the Holocaust were derived from studies done by Eugen Fischer, a founder of German eugenics as well as a professor of medicine and anthropology. The Nuremberg Laws allowed for discrimination against Jews during the Holocaust. Fischer’s studies also introduced racist ideology in science.

Not only were the studies from this time adopted, but also the methods of torture. Cities in Namibia held the first-ever concentration camp, or Konzentrationslage. Ng wrote of the camps, where the people were “[f]enced in by thorn bushes and barbed wire,” resulting in many deaths from illness, starvation, and dehydration. The famous concentration camps throughout Nazi Germany were heavily influenced by this model from Namibian camps.

According to Ng, “It wasn’t until 1948, however, that the United Nations recognized genocide as a punishable crime.” It is imperative that we all acknowledge the atrocities that occurred in Namibia as well as the history of genocide throughout the world. However, simply noticing that it is wrong is not enough. I believe that the different instances of genocide should be incorporated into all history classes. Although it is a terribly harsh topic, we must learn about it to prevent history from repeating itself.
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

The Past of Colonization

I personally have not heard about this genocide until we learned about it, even though it is such a monumental event in history and changed many peoples lives. It has been kept quiet and not many know of it even 100 years later, even though almost everyone is aware of the Holocaust, the Herero Genocide was the first of the 20th centurey. “How far back can the roots of the Holocaust be traced? The events that took place from 1941 – 1945 bore a striking resemblance to atrocities carried out years before in German South West Africa. Many of the ideologies that fueled the Holocaust, as well as the means of systematic confinement and extermination of a people, began at the turn of the 20th century with the Herero and Nama. We must, thus, delve deeper into history in our effort to address consequences both costly and complex.” (Clara Ng, “The 20th Century’s First Genocide: Not the Holocaust, but the Herero”).

Colonialism has the potential to morph into genocide over time. Colonial America took place from 1492 to 1763 when European nations came to the Americas in order to increase their influence in the world and their wealth, while some also came to escape religious persecution. The Europeans didn't just come to America, they went elsewhere, including to Africa. This was at a time when eugenics became popular and the belief that a lighter skin color is more desirable than those of a darker skin color. In German Southwest Africa, the Herero had begun to fight back against the German persecution and creation of the railroad cutting through their land, this led to the Herero genocide where multiple thousands were killed, proving that colonialism has the potential to morph into genocide over time.

The events that occured at the Herero genocide prefigure what happened during the Holocaust, the Herero genocide occured between 1903 to 1907, forty years prior to the events of the Holocaust during WW2. The same beliefs of eugenics and prefrences is what had caused the Holocaust, Hitler stated the preference of those with blonde hair and blue eyes and how those were superior, and those of Jewish descent were an issue. The Germans who agreed understood how effecient genocide had previously been, and they decided to use it at this time too, creating concentration camps and murdering millions of innocents.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

A horrific, yet often forgotten event in history

The Herero and Nama genocide was a horrific event that took place in Namibia back in the early 20th century when it was under the control of Germany. This event sparked due to the German’s colonial ambitions in Africa, as well as the rise of nationalism in Germany at the time. Colonialism has been around since the 16th century when Europeans began the process of colonizing and it had continued well into the 20th century. To catch up with empires such as the British and the French, the Germans were looking to colonize land of their own. In the Berlin Conference, Germany ended up taking control of what is known as Namibia today as well as modern day Cameroon, Togoland, and Tanganyika. In an article by Clara Ng called “The 20th century’s First genocide: Not the Holocaust, but the Herero”, the treatment of the Herero under German colonization is revealed. The Herero were treated poorly by the Germans with much of their land stripped away, and they were put in horrible working conditions. The treatment towards the Herero reveals one of the many evils of colonialism that isn’t talked about as much. The practice of colonialism has the potential to bring about genocide against a group of people. Colonialism involves taking the land of another group of people and claiming it as your own. It can bring out the worst in people as the colonizers will do whatever it takes to free up the land they just conquered. Genocide, by definition, is the act of trying to systematically eliminate a certain group of people. If an empire is looking to colonize the land of another, they likely view the people living on that land as inferior. As a result, they will do whatever it takes to get rid of them.

The most infamous example of genocide known in the history of the world is the Holocaust. From 1941-1945, the Nazis tried to exterminate many groups of people such as Jewish people and the Communists. In bringing about the Holocaust, their goal was to bring about a “Third Reich” where those of the Aryan race were at the top. Many of the methods that the Nazis used, as well as their ideology, can have its origins traced back to the Herero and Nama genocide. The reason for the Nazis trying to invade many countries in Europe, including Poland and France, was so the Germans could have more “living space”. The Nazis sought to exterminate minority groups that lived in those regions so that Germans could live where they once lived. Earlier on in the 20th century, the German empire viewed the colony of Namibia as a perfect opportunity to settle Germans there. The “Second Reich” sought to form a “New Germany” where Germany had control over many colonies, and its citizens had all the living space they could want. Much like the Jewish population in the first half of the 1940s, as well as anyone else who defied German rule during that time, those who lived in Namibia would be sent off to concentration camps. The Namibian genocide fed into this idea that enemies of the German people were connsidered to be inferior, and they must be eliminated.

Learning about the Herero and Nama genocide has made me realize how little other countries actually respond when genocide is taking place. It has also made me realize how colonization has led to other events in history which would be considered a genocide. For example, the way in which Native Americans were treated in the Americas by the Europeans mirrors the way the Germans treated the Herero in Namibia. In nearly every single case of genocide, other countries who had an opportunity to respond chose not to do so. The Rwandan, Armenian, and Namibian genocide are examples of this. In many cases, nations refuse to refer to these acts as genocide for fear of economic ties being cut off with that nation. Even in today’s world, we see something like this take place. For a while, the Chinese government has been working towards systematically eliminating the Uighur Muslims in the region of Xinjiang. Most of the world has ignored what has happened due to China’s immense power and influence over many countries. In fact, many countries in Africa, despite it being the location of the Namibian and Rwandan genocide, have praised China for what they have done in the region of Xinjiang. To this day, only the United States, The Netherlands, and Canada have officially declared the situation in Xinjiang to be a genocide, but not much has been done to stop it. We are failing to learn from our history, and this has resulted in many nations believing that they can get away with something like this.

Posts: 23


Genocide is a term that was put into my vocabulary last year in my AP World History class. I have heard of horrifying events that were documented as genocides, such as the Holocaust and I learned about many other horrific events last year and this year. This week was the first time that I learned about/heard of the Herero and Nama genocide.

Colonialism can morph into Genocide because of the abuse of power that comes from Colonialism. When colonialism takes place, the people coming in feel like they have more power over everyone else in that place or area. When they face people who don't want to follow and listen to them, the colonists get angry and lash out. They physically attack people, even if they're innocent, often resulting in the loss of many innocent lives.

The Herero and Nama genocide are also directly linked to the holocaust, as it is often seen almost as a "Practice Genocide" for the Germans before the Holocaust. The rhetoric and racist ideas seen during the Holocaust were first established in German South Africa in the Heroero and Nama genocide years earlier from 1904 to 1908.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 24

The First Genocide of the 20th Century

When most people hear the word genocide, they think about the Holocaust that took place during World War II and took millions of Jewish lives. What's important to realize though, is that this genoicde was nothing new in our world’s history at the time. From 1904-1906, German West Africa experienced a genocide that resulted in the “near annihilation,” of the Herero people.

Beginning in 1884, Germany, like the rest of the world, began colonizing areas of Africa. They colonized four sections; Togoland, the Cameroons, Tanganyika, and Namibia. The colonization of these areas began with Germany basically stealing the resources from these African settlements and making the people of these areas retrieve the resources for them. These indigenous people, the Nama and the Herero, were exploited for their labor. The treatment of these people became worse and worse. The Herero people had so much of their land and cattle taken away from them to the point where Germany was considering creating reserves for these people. The Nama people experienced the same kind of treatment and joined the Hereros in their revolt against the Germans. The revolt of the indigenous people resulted in a brutal attack on them, leading to their mass “extermination.” More than 80% of the Herero tribe was completely wiped out. Germans were in control of South West Africa for 35 years thus the brutal colonization lasted for many years.

The colonialism of Africa by the Germans was a direct cause of the annihilation of African indigenous tribes. If the Germans never came to Africa, there would have been no reason for the Herero people to fight back and ultimately become slaughtered.

The racist ideology that acted as rational for the Germans to slaughter the indigenous peoples of South West Africa was one that ultimately contributed to the Nazi beliefs that wiped out millions of Jews. The Herero people were treated by the Germans similarly to captive Jewish people during World War II. They were put to work, tortured, and brutally murdered.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian genocide is one of the most horrific events in human history yet this isn’t something that is taught much in school. Despite hundreds of thousands of Armenians losing their lives, Turkey still denies that the event ever occurred. At the time, there wasn’t much the United States could have done as it still was developing into a major power, and it did not have the influence it has today. The nations of the world should have come together to stop Turkey from committing genocide. Attempting to systematically eliminate a group of people is one the most malicious things any nation can do, and the nations of the world should have done whatever they could to stop it. As MLK once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. We can’t allow people to commit evil acts and have it go unpunished. By doing so, we are just as complicit in the evil act as the perpetrator. This can encourage potential copy cats as people start to believe that if they commit genocide, no one is going to do anything. In fact, Hitler himself referenced the fact that the world did nothing while this genocide was taking place. He used that as an excuse to try and get away with genocide.

The United States, as well as the rest of the world, need to be upstanders when genocide is taking place. The nation that is committing genocide needs to have it be known to them that no one is going to turn a blind eye, no matter how powerful they are. The world’s inability to properly respond to genocide has led to many other horrific events such as the Rwandan genocide and, more recently, the genocide of Uigher muslims. The United Nations was created to bring an end to events such as the Holocaust and WWII, but not much has been done. Nations that are powerful believe they have enough influence to get away with anything. Injustices can only come to an end if we come together to end this. As of today, very few nations have recognized the situation in Xinjiang as a genocide, but no nation has done anything significant to stop this. No longer should we stand by when evil acts are occurring right in front of our eyes.

The world behaved in a similar manner to when the Armenian genocide took place, and when the Herero and Nama genocide took place. Much of the world ignored what took place in Turkey much like what took place in Namibia. Although help was sent to the Armenians during WWI, the genocide was still largely ignored. Turkey wasn’t punished for what happened, and they still continue to deny that it ever took place. With the exception of the Holocaust, the world has chosen to ignore genocide whenever it occurs. In fact, genocide seems to be the kind of word that world leaders tend to avoid when questions are being brought up. They’d rather try to maintain relations with the nation that is committing genocide than to stand up to them. For example, the Trump administration waited until the very last minute to denounce China for what they’re doing in Xinjiang. According to Mike Pompeo, the only reason they waited so long was because they didn’t want the denouncement to affect trade deals the US had with them. Our ignorance will lead to many more horrific events to follow.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

The Herero and the Nama

Colonialism has the potential to morph into genocide because of power and greed. Power is a very dangerous thing because it fosters not only a sense of entitlement but also an insatiable desire for more. Greedy people will never be satisfied with what they have; no amount of land or people will ever be enough since there is no cap on the amount of power a person can have.

These events prefigure what happened during the Holocaust. I feel as if the Germans were smarter about how they handled the Holocaust than they were with the Nama and the Herero people because they had already been through it once before. Hitler never issued a direct order to kill all the Jews, Roma/Sinto, homosexuals, etc. whereas Von Trotha did. If there is no direct order, the person at the top can weasel their way out of getting caught. It reminds me of the mafia in a way because mob bosses never directly order their subordinates to do anything.

I don’t understand how Germany can just completely disregard this genocide. They have turned these mass burial grounds into beaches and tourist attractions and the fact that little children are blissfully unaware that underneath their feet where they are playing are thousands of graves. The difference between how Germany has handled their history with the Jews versus their history with the Africans is astounding. This leads me to believe that if the rest of the world wasn’t aware of the Holocaust while it was happening, none of the reperations that they have tried to make would’ve happened.

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