German colonial failure

Ross encounters a group of new German colonists, and their optimistic energy seems to promise success. Their failure suggests that not all Germans are predestined for the task of colonization.

Ross encounters a group of young Germans thrown off course by the war: officers of the army and navy, but also craftsmen and farmers. They have acquired a piece of undeveloped land and are working together to build housing and clear land for fields. They are living simply, but “one could hardly have been happier, or more optimistic about the future”, and the youth claim that “there’s something special about working on your own land. It’s ten times easier than working for someone else’s benefit”. It’s an idyllic scene: the sun sets upon the group enjoying a good meal after a hard day’s work.

But when Ross returns to the same spot a year later, the settlers have all left—they fought amongst themselves and lacked sufficient capital. Since this is the only image of new German colonization (vs. the German settlements launched in the mid-nineteenth century), and since this group seemed to have had everything going for it—the necessary skills, youth, and hopeful energy—their failure can be taken as a warning to any German who contemplates emigration.

Throughout his career, Ross will champion the European colonial project; this early eye detecting overwhelming challenges and failures in this venture will give way to programmatic support.

Kristin Kopp

Colin Ross. Deutsche Siedler in argentinischer Wildnis. In: Südamerika, die aufsteigende Welt. 1. Aufl.  Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus; 1922; 121-125.

Topic: Colonialism
Case: Geopolitics

Scroll to page top