Due to the economic growth that took place, Germany increasingly developed into a major power. Especially the German emperor Wilhelm II.Wilhelm II. was the German Emperor from 1888 to 1918 expressed imperialistic intentions at his inauguration and strived for a “place by the sun” for Germany. His aim was to turn Germany into an imperial power and for it to acquire colonies in Africa. This strategy led to increased suspicion in Great Britain, France and Russia, who were in constant interaction1.
The origin of colonialism lies in the technological and military supremacy of Europe over Africa. Colonialism’s main aim was to ensure the supply of commodities and foreign workforce for the growing population. Furthermore the possession of colonies ensured the prestige of a major power within Europe, this being an important factor for the First World War 1914. Especially Great Britain held the major part of Africa and justified this approach with the “Pax BritannicaPax Britannica was the period of relative peace in Europe and the world (1815–1914) during which the British Empire became the global hegemon” that aimed to ensure safety, peace and justice in the world. Around 1900 the British Empire comprised a quarter of the world population2.
First World War
The wish to turn Germany into a major power expressed by Emperor Wilhelm II. subsequently lead to the outbreak of the First World War. After dismissing Reich Chancellor Bismarck in 1890 Wilhelm II. did not prolong the reinsurance contract with Russia. During his tenure Bismarck did not want to trigger any conflicts as he saw Germany endangered from two fronts in case of a war. Germany increasingly isolated itself from its allies due to colonial wars. In addition to that possessing colonies brought little or no economic benefits but rather profound conflicts. The first and second Moroccan crisis (1905 and 1911) illustrated the conflict between Germany and other European powers, which finally lead to global war3.