欧洲漫长而险恶的殖民历史仍然可以在很多地方体验到。在世界各地都有强迫的欧洲遗产，如语言或军事干预的不祥权利。大英帝国，西班牙海军或葡萄牙商人的不同殖民叙事是众所周知的，并且经常仍然被誉为一个伟大的国家过去。在德国之外，这个国家的殖民历史在德国境内并不常见，这是一个相当痛苦的话题。由于两次世界大战的黯然失色，最近的历史研究将其全部纳入其中。即使 – 在获得领土方面，与其竞争对手相比 – 德国的殖民主义努力并不完全成功，德国殖民势力犯下了对其殖民地土着人民的可怕罪行。正如17,18,19和20世纪的许多欧洲历史一样，德国的历史并不缺乏以建立全球帝国为名的可怕行为。尽管德国人从一开始就是欧洲殖民扩张的一部分，但德国作为正式殖民大国的参与开始了相当晚的努力。当然，其中一个原因是，在1871年成为德意志帝国的基础之前，没有“德国”可以作为一个国家殖民任何人。也许这是获得殖民地迫切需要的另一个原因，这似乎是德国官员所感受到的。从1884年起，德国迅速将非洲殖民地，如多哥，喀麦隆，纳米比亚和坦桑尼亚（有些名称不同）纳入帝国。一些太平洋岛屿和一个中国殖民地紧随其后。德国殖民军官的目标是成为非常有效的殖民者，导致对当地人的非常无情和残酷的行为。当然，这引发了叛乱和起义，反过来，压迫者也遭到残酷镇压。在德国西南非（纳米比亚），德国领导人试图将所有居民与德国上层阶级和非洲工人阶级隔离开来 – 遵循深刻的生物学家种族主义的意识形态。这种隔离不仅限于德国殖民地。所有欧洲殖民主义都表明了这一特征。但是，可以说德国军队在纳米比亚的例子中效率最高，而后一代人则对东欧的占领表明了这一点。德国殖民主义是由强烈的武装冲突驱动的，其中一些被称为种族灭绝（例如所谓的赫雷罗战争，持续时间从1904年到1907年），因为德国的袭击和随后的饥荒造成估计的死亡。所有赫雷罗的80％。 “南海”的德国殖民地也成为殖民暴力的受害者。德国营甚至是结束中国义和团运动的一部分。德国殖民主义的第一个时期在第一次世界大战结束后，其保护国被从帝国夺走，因为它不适合成为殖民国家。但是第三帝国带来了第二个时期。在整个20世纪20年代，30年代和40年代，一系列殖民纪念碑为公众迎接了一个崭露头角的新殖民时代。其中一个，很快就结束于1945年盟军的胜利。回忆和纪念 – 德国的殖民历史是冲浪的最近几年的公开辩论和话语已经清楚地表明：德国的殖民历史不能再被忽视，必须是适当地解决了。地方倡议成功地为承认殖民地罪行而奋斗（例如，通过改变街道的名称，以殖民领袖的名义），历史学家强调历史和集体记忆本身往往是一种建构而不是有机发展。社会或社区的自我定义一方面是通过划界创造的，另一方面是通过统一宏伟的概念建立共同的过去，例如军事胜利。后者的构成得到纪念品，纪念品以及历史文物的支持。就德国殖民历史而言，这些物品在第三帝国中大为黯然失色，而且往往只能在其背景下看待。最近的历史和现在表明，在处理德国殖民历史方面还有很长的路要走。许多街道仍然带有犯有战争罪的殖民指挥官的名字，许多纪念碑仍然以异国情调，相当浪漫的方式展示德国殖民主义。
Europe’s long and sinister colonial history can still be experienced in many places. Forced-upon European heritage, such as languages or the ominous right to militarily intervene, are found all over the globe. The different colonial narratives of the British Empire, the Spanish Navy or Portuguese traders are well known and often still glorified as a grand national past. Outside of Germany, the country’s colonial history is not referred to often within Germany it is a rather sore topic. Being overshadowed by the two World Wars, it is up to recent historical studies to fully bring it into the light. Even if – in terms of gaining territory, compared to its rivals – Germany’s colonial endeavors weren’t exactly successful, German colonial forces are guilty of terrible crimes against peoples indigenous to their colonies. As are so many European histories of the 17th,18th, 19th and 20th century, the German one is not short of gruesome acts committed in the name of forging a global empire. Even though Germans were part of the European Colonial Expansion right from the beginning, the engagement of Germany as a formal colonial power started its endeavors rather late. One reason, of course, being the foundation of the German Empire in 1871, before that there was no “Germany” that could, as a nation, colonize anyone. Maybe that is another reason for the pressing necessity to acquire colonies, which seems to have been felt by German officials. From 1884 on, Germany quickly incorporated African colonies such as Togo, Cameroon, Namibia and Tanzania (some under different names) into the Empire. A few Pacific Islands and a Chinese colony followed. The German colonial officers aimed at being very efficient colonizers, which resulted in very ruthless and brutal behavior towards the natives. This, of course, sparked rebellions and uprisings, which the oppressors, in turn, brutally put down. In German South-West Africa (Namibia), the German leaders attempted to segregate all inhabitants by a German upper class and an African working class – following an ideology of deep biologist racism. This kind of segregation was not limited to German colonies. All of European colonialism shows this attribute. But, one can say that German forces were the most efficient as the examples of Namibia and, a Generation later, the occupation of Eastern Europe show. German colonialism was driven by heavy armed conflicts, some of which are rightfully called genocide (e.g. the so-called Herero Wars, which lasted from ca. 1904 until 1907), as German attacks and the following famines were responsible for the death of an estimated 80% of all Herero. The German colonies in the “South Sea” also fell victim to colonial violence. German battalions were even part of ending the Boxer Rebellion in China. The first period of German colonialism ended after World War I, when its protectorates were taken from the Reich, as it was unfit to be a colonial power. But the Third Reich brought a second period of course. A surge of colonial memorials throughout the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s prepared the public for a dawning new colonial age. One, that quickly ended with the victory of the Allied Forces in 1945. Memories and Memorials – Germany’s Colonial Past is Surfacin The last few years of public debate and discourse have made it clear: Germany’s colonial past can no longer be ignored and has to be duly addressed. Local initiatives successfully fought for the recognition of colonial crimes (e.g. through having the designations of streets changed, that bore the name of colonial leaders) and historians emphasized how history and collective memory itself is often a construct rather than an organically grown development. The self-definition of a society or community is created through delimitation on the one hand and the construction of a common past through notions of unifying grandeur, such as military victories, on the other. The composition of the latter is supported by memorials, memorabilia, as well as historic artifacts. In the case of German colonial history, these items are vastly overshadowed the Third Reich and are often only viewed in its context. Recent history and the present show that there is still a long way to go when it comes to processing Germany’s colonial history. Many streets still carry the names of colonial commanders guilty of war crimes, and many memorials still show German colonialism in an exotic, rather romantic light.