The great General of the Kaiser

TitleThe great General of the Kaiser
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsJ.B. Gewald
Secondary TitleBotswana notes and records
Pagination67 - 76
Date Published1994///
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, colonialism, Germany, Herero, Herero revolt, Namibia

On the 12th of January 1904 a full-scale war broke out in what was then German South West Africa (present-day Namibia) between the Herero-speaking people of Namibia and imperial Germany. The war culminated in the issuing of the 'Vernichtungsbefehl', or extermination order, by the supreme commander of the German troops in German South West Africa, General Lothar von Trotha, in October 1904. The order stated that all Herero men in German territory were to be shot or expelled. Recently, a number of authors have sought to deny the existence, or at least downplay the implications, of the 'Vernichtungsbefehl'. However, research conducted in the Botswana National Archives, where the authentic text of the order is held, as well as in other places, has brought to light evidence which conclusively proves the existence of the 'Vernichtungsbefehl' and a conscious commitment on the part of the German colonial authorities to ensure the implementation of the order. The paper presents a copy of the original document by Trotha, written in Otjiherero, as well as a literal transcription and an English translation. App., bibliogr., notes

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