Historical Social Research

Klaus J. Bade: Der Traum vom ‚Export der sozialen Frage‘ durch imperiale Expansion und koloniale Auswanderung: der Fall Friedrich Fabri [1975/2005] [Abstract]

In German nationalistic historiography, the director of the largest German evangelical mission society, the Rhenish Mission in Wuppertal-Barmen, was called ‘father of the German colonial movement’. Starting point of his colonial propaganda was, on the one hand, his interest in securing political stability through colonial control in the south-west-African mission areas. On the other hand, he feared that the widening gap between rapid population growth and lacking employment opportunities might cause a social revolution in Germany. Against the background of the severe economic crisis since the early 1870s, this anxiety was widespread in imperial Germany. As a solution, Fabri suggested state ‚emigration politics’ steering emigration into a ‚new Germany overseas’ to be shaped by informal expansion in South America and colonial expansion in Afri-ca. His expansionistic propaganda followed British examples (Wakefield, Torrens). He understood emigration as a ‚social safety valve’ against the danger of a social revolution and ‘emigration politics’ as a part of social policy. His expansionist theorems had no chance in German colonial expansion, although they were  leading ideas within the German colonial movement in the early 1880s.

This article is in German / Dieser Artikel ist auf Deutsch.

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