Mittelafrika

From Kaiserreich

Freistaat Mittelafrika
Free State of Central Africa
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Flag of the Freistaat Mittelafrika

Motto
Gott mit Uns (God with us)
Anthem
Südwesterlied
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Official Language German
Capital Dar-es-Salaam
Head of State Hermann Göring
Head of Government Erich Schultz-Ewerth
Establishment
  - Proclaimation of the Freistaat Mittelafrika

 November, 2 1925
Government Autonomous colonial free state under authority of the German Empire
Currency German Central African rupie
Area More than 5 million km²
Population Around 52 million

Mittelafrika, or officially Freistaat Mittelafrika (German for Free State of Central Africa)is a country in Africa. It is bordered to the north by the territory controlled by the French government in exile, Egypt-Sudan and Abyssinia; to the east by the Indian Ocean and the Portuguese colony of Mozambique; to the south by South Africa; and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean, the Portuguese colony of Angola and the Spanish colony of Equatorial Guinea.

Freistaat Mittelafrika is an autonomous colonial free state, reuniting colonies that belonged prior to the Weltkrieg to the colonial empires of Germany, Britain, France and Belgium, which were granted a status of autonomy by the Kaiser Wilhelm II and Reichskanzler Alfred von Tirpitz on November, 2 1925. The dominant state in Africa is still bound to the German Empire by a military and economic subordination.

Contents

History

German entry in the Scramble for Africa

Even if the unification of Germany arrived just before the Scramble for Africa reached its peak, then German Reichskanzler Otto von Bismarck didn't engage his country in a colonialist perspective. Many reasons can explain such a choice: the need to concentrate on the completion of German unity; a tradition of German expansion and trade in Eastern Europe and North Sea; and Realpolitik statements: Bismarck indeed believed that letting the French continue their colonial expansion would divert them from the Alsace-Lorraine question and European matters, even if he managed to obtain some reserved areas to Germany during the 1885 Berlin Conference. Such considerations came to an end with the accession of Kaiser Wilhelm II, whose Weltpolitik policy supposed the entertaining of a High Seas Fleet along with prestigious Pacific and African territories. But by 1890, most of the available lands in Africa had been already overtaken by British, the French, the Belgian and the Italian settlers, and German colonization was advanced in rather inhospitable areas such as German South West Africa, German East Africa, Kamerun, and Togoland, which were regularly strained by tribal revolts, such as the Hereros in South West Africa or the Hehes and Maji Majis in East Africa.

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A group of colonial officers posing in a village, c. 1928

The concept of Mittelafrika appeared in the beginning of German Weltpolitik in the 1890s, when German imperialists wanted to expand their territory and to link the colonies already owned by Germany by annexing the region between them. This was impeached by the British colonization of Rhodesia, as the British feared that the Germans could break their Cairo-Cape line of communication. In addition, Portugal, Britain's ally, repeatedly refused to secede their colonies of Angola and Mozambique to Germany. Thus, the geostrategic concept of Mittelafrika was created, proposing a German domination on Central and Eastern Africa, stretching from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, and ensuring German economic self-sufficiency through the exploitation of natural resources, which were already abundant in the Belgian Congo alone.

The Mittelafrikaprojekt

German historians revealed that on September, 9 1914, when Reichskanzler Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg secretly defined the war aims of the German Empire in the Weltkrieg, that then Secretary of the German Colonial Office Wilhelm Solf considered to materialize Mittelafrika through annexing the Belgian Congo after Belgium was annexed or puppeted by the German Empire, which would force the British Empire to withdraw from its holdings in Central Africa. During the Weltkrieg, the German colonies were quickly overwhelmed: fighting in Togoland was over by the end of August 1914; South-West Africa surrendered in July 1915; and Kamerun was fully occupied by February 1916. The only exception was in German East Afrika,where Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck held out against the British throughout the whole Weltkrieg.

However, in 1921, the Peace with Honour acknowledged the colonial gains of Germany: the Belgian Congo was given to Germany; the Caprivi Strip was extended at the expense of Rhodesia; and most of French Equatorial Africa and Dahomey, which were granted by the French government in exile as an effective recognition of their defeat during the war. As a reward, von Lettow-Vorbeck was named governor of the new colony of Kongo. Having been put in charge of the the pacification of its huge demesne, von Lettow-Vorbeck began to act as an almighty warlord, unofficially enabling the autonomous status of Mittelafrika. In 1925, taking advantage of the dismemberment of the British Empire, he ordered the invasion of British Uganda, Nigeria, and the Gold Coast. As most of British personnel in Africa was moving to Canada or to National France, they couldn't react. In exchange for the recongition of the German borders in Rhodesia, the German Empire officially recognized the newly independant South African Union. Along with the occupied territories in China, Africa was the richest and biggest part of the German colonial empire.

Official establishment

Reichskanzler Alfred von Tirpitz ordered a report about Mittelafrika's situations, and it confirmed what he has feared: it was a financial black hole for the German economy. Too overstretched, strained with native revolts, needing too many infrastructure and economic improvements, German Africa would soon become a dead weight as spending for military and administrative purposes would far exceed the income from mining and economic exploitation. Under Lettow-Vorbeck's administration, Mittelafrika had set up its own government and army. The Reichskanzler decided to recognize this fact on November, 2 1925, when, by decree, the Kaiser Wilhelm II established the Freistaat Mittelafrika, a semi-autonomous colonial territory under his nominal authority.

The first Statthalter was the war hero von Lettow-Vorbeck, who had been promoted to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall. He was to be assisted by Wilhelm Solf, the mastermind behind the establishment of Mittelafrika. However, it was realised that if the military and managing expenses were left to the control of the present administration, it would not be solved at all. Due to corruption and other difficulties, Mittelafrika couldn't afford the monthly tribute it had to give to Germany, while various industrual projects literally sucked up German money and manpower. In addition, military personnel and colonial administrators had to be sent from the home country, due to the lack of a true elite in Mittelafrika. The country was also continually plagued by sporadic Native revolts, which hade taken new strngth in light of the spread of socialism.. After Wilhelm Solf decided to retire to German Samoa and Lettow-Vorbeck's return to Germany to pursue a political career, the German government named national-populist politician Hermann Göring as the new Statthalter, as his father was one of the first governors of German South-West Africa, in 1934. Even after putting an end to the revolts by granting the position of Secretary for Security Issues to Nduala Prince Alexander Duala Manga Bell, a first in German colonial history, Göring expressed his vows to further expand the Mittelafrikan territory, claims which soured relations between him and his neighbors (such as Portugal, National France, and even the German-sponsored Abyssinia. If Mittelafrika is by now the hegemonic power in Africa, will it have the economic and strategic strength to finish the conquest of the Dark Continent?

Politics

The Freistaat Mittelafrika is officially dubbed as an "autonomous colonial free state under authority of the German Empire", meaning that if it's officially still part of the German colonial empire, under the Kaiser Wilhelm II's nominal authority, but it is considered as a semi-autonomous entity. If Germany undertakes every diplomatic and military issues, Mittelafrika has full control over its own economic, internal and budgetary issues. The few obligations that the Freistaat has towards Germany are delivery of a monthly tribute (in money and valuable resources), handling of military control if the German interests need it, and faithfulness to the Kaiser. Mittelafrika takes in charge the maintenance of its own army, infrastructure and exploitations. The governor of the Freistaat Mittelafrika is the Statthalter (Steward), designated by the Kaiser whose choice is ratified by the Reichstag, effectively appointed for life but in fact until he resigns or is removed by the German government in Berlin. The members of his government all came from the German colonial administration, civilian or military: except for special ones (such as Secretary for Relations with Germany), Germany doesn't discuss the nominations made by the Statthalter. As a federal state, Mittelafrika is divided into eight district, each one ruled by a military governor appointed by the Statthalter: Südwestafrika, Njassaland, Ostafrika, Kongo, Äquatorialafrika, Niger-Kamerun and Westafrika.

Statthalter Göring
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The Mittelafrikan government

Statthalter: Hermann Göring (born 12 January 1893)

Vice-Staathalter: Erich Schultz-Ewerth (born 8 March 1870)

Secretary for Relations with Germany: Joachim von Ribbentrop (born 30 April 1893)

Secretary for Economic Exploitation: August Stauch (born 15 January 1878)

Secretary for Security Issues: Prince Alexander Duala Manga Bell (born 3 December 1893)

Head of the local branch of the Abwehr: Colonel Theodore von Hippel

Chief of General Staff of the Colonial Army: Colonel Ernst Jünger (born 29 March 1895)

Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Schutztruppe: Hermann Detzner (born 16 October 1882)

Commander-in-Chief of the Colonial Navy: Max von Looff

Commander-in-Chief of the Colonial Air Force: Paul Graetz (born 25 July 1885)

Military

The little Colonial Army of Mittelafrika permits it to assert their own hegemony on the Dark Continent and their relative independance from Germany. Even if they consist only in a few regiments or brigades of mixed white and coloured personnel (most of them being Native brigades taken in charge by officers of German origin, or from the former Belgian army), the Mittelafrikan Schutztruppen have a reputation of efficiency and courage, due to the harsh resistance of Lettow-Vorbeck during the Weltkrieg: many of his Askaris elite soldiers remained in the Mittelafrikan army after the establishment of the latter. The Freistaat Mittelafrika ensures the budget of its own army, which was mostly used for internal security and repressive measures during the Lettow-Vorbeck administration. Statthalter Göring has instead revived the rearmament and seriously considers using it for expansion or offensive goals.

Army

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Native Mittelafrikan regulars in colonial uniform

The Mittelafrikan Colonial Army is a mix of regular units and local tribal militias. The regular units are mostly made from white colonialists, though there are exceptions like the famed "Askari Rifles" who fought with von Lettow-Vorbeck in the Weltkrieg. The regular units are well trained and armed with modern German-made weapons, while the training and armament of the tribal militias tends to vary.


Air Force

The Mittelafrikan Colonial Air Force consists of three tactical bomber divisions, organized into three commands: the East-African Command, the Southwest African Command and the Gold Coast Command. The Air Force will probably be expanded in the near future.

Navy

The Mittelafrikan Colonial Navy is divided into two squadrons: the Western Squadron, tasked with protecting the Mittelafrikan Atlantic Coast, and the Eastern Squadron, tasked with protecting the Mitteafrikan Indian Ocean coast. The squadrons both consist of two battleships and their screens. The Eastern Squadron also has a torpedo boat squadron. Ships of the Mittelafrikan Colonial Navy are designated DAS, for Deutscher Afrikaner Schiff

Foreign relations

Under the political, economic and military authority of Germany; likely to join the German-led Mitteleuropa alliance along with Flanders-Wallonia, Finland United Baltic Duchy, Lithuania, White Ruthenia, Ukraine in case of conflict.

Friendly relations with Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire and Spain

Declared hostility against Commune of France, Socialist Republic of Italy, Union of Britain, Canada and National France

Vows of territorial expansion and declared hostility towards African countries (see below)

Goals of Mittelafrikan expansion

Portugal

Member of the Entente during the Weltkrieg, Portugal was not concerned by the territorial concessions that Belgium and France were forced to, as Portuguese mainland territory remained preserved from German armies during the whole war and was protected by the British Empire during the Peace with Honour negotiations. However, with the fall of its traditional English protector, the question of the future of the Portuguese African colonies revived. Angola and Mozambique seem to be geopolitical anomalies, neutral enclaves in a mighty and huge German colonial holding. For Portugal, it's more a question of honour and prestige than a true strategic interest: by three times, the Portuguese government refused to sell its colonies to the Freistaat Mittelafrika, during negotiations led by Germany. The Statthalter Göring announced that Angola and Mozambique were constituent parts of Mittelafrika and that new talks would be organized during the year 1936, and declared that he was ready for war: even if Portugal could resist with difficulty to the Mitteleruopa armies, troops in Angola could easily cut Südwestafrika from the rest of Mittelafrika. For Germany, it's a diplomatic deadlock: if it strongly supports expansion of its colonial demesne, Portugal is one of the few stable and anti-Syndicalist countries in Europe, next to the boiling Spain, and could be a true ally in the war against the Internationale.

National France

The French government in exile, still well implemented in Northern Africa, has left little from its territory in the Peace with Honour in 1921: fifteen years later, the military junta in Algiers still claims Equatorial Africa and Dahomey, which are now constituent parts of the Freistaat Mittelafrika, and are officially hostile to the latter in the conflict that opposes the Entente to Mitteleuropa. The French government in exile could easily pretend to be the leading nation in Africa, both economically and militarly. By now, Göring and Field Marshal Philippe Pétain still share a common hatred against Syndicalism but if troubles or a war between the Entente and Mitteleuropa break out, Sahara desert and Northwestern Africa will become bloody battlefields.

South Africa, Abyssinia and Egypt-Sudan

The other independant states in nowadays Africa have cordial or non-existent relations with Mittelafrika. South Africa negotiated its quietness in the early times of her independance, offering Northern Rhodesia (now Njassaland) to Mittelafrika: in fact, many South African politicians, in particular the rightist Afrikaners, consider Mittelafrika as their best ally to protect them from the irredentist Entente. For Abyssinia, Mittelafrika succeeded Germany in the role of economic caretaker, financing most of the projects undertaken by Negus Haile Selassie I, politically backing him against the conservative elements in his country. As associate of the Ottoman Empire, Egypt-Sudan has cordial relations with Mittelafrika, associate of the German Empire, as Göring's projects of dams and hydroelectric plants on the Nile don't threaten Egyptian interests.

Culture

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Richard Knötel's Unsere Schutztruppen in Afrika (1905)

Mittelafrika spans over a vast region of Africa, being one of the largest countries in the world. Thus, one single recognizably Mittelafrikan culture does not present itself. German culture is dominant in the areas that made up the pre-Weltkrieg German colonies and the former areas held by Britain, Belgium and France all have their distinct cultural and social setups. The paintings of Richard Knötel proposed, even before the Weltkrieg, an epic and exotic depiction of the German colonial action in Africa. Anyone who decides to travel in the former Belgian Congo, the Jewel of the Freistaat Mittelafrika, will of course bring in his luggage Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness; famous German writer Ernst Jünger, colonel in the Colonial Army, also announced that his experience in Mittelafrika would certainly inspire him a new book. Some Syndicalist or leftist writers have also travelled to Mittelafrika to see the effects of colonialism by their own eyes and eventually denounce them, such as French writer André Gide whose 1927 Voyage au Kongo (Travels to the Kongo) are still forbidden in all German colonial holdings.

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