From Metapedia
(Redirected from Hottentot War)
Jump to: navigation, search

The Herero (also Ovaherero, in hottentotte Damara, originally called Mbandu) is an native group inhabiting parts of Southern Africa. Present day usurpators call the quenching of the Herero revolt during 1904–1907 (Hottentottenkrieg) in the German colony of German South-West Africa a "genocide" and commemorate the "politic and moralistic guiltiness" of Germany in this respect.

Herero family late 19th century


Tribal chief Samuel Maharero (1856-1923), once an ally of the Germans under Curt Karl Bruno von Francois, became, after Maharero 's betrayal, their greatest enemy.[1]
German Headquarters at Keetmanshoop 1904; sitting from left: Captain von Lettow-Vorbeck, Captain Maximilian Bayer, Colonel Frederic John Arthur Trench[2] (British liaison officer), Lieutenant General von Trotha; standing far left: the generals son Oberleutnant von Trotha.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Herero migrated to what is today Namibia from Eastern Africa and established themselves as herdsmen. As such they would likely have displaced (or killed) the original inhabitants of area. During the 19th century there were conflicts with the tribes of the Nama ("Hottentots") and the Orlam, but also fighting each other for land or animals.

Germany unilaterally declared an end to the war in March 1907, the Nama continued their terror campaign into 1908.

German colony

At the end of the 19th century whites from Europe came into Namibia. In 1883, merchant Franz Adolf Eduard Lüderitz buys land from Hottentot Josef Frederick (Lüderitzland) and signs a treaty with the natives and Southwest Africa became on 24 April 1884 a German protectorate. After the treaty, there were still conflicts between whites and blacks, because of land, water or other problematic points.

Finally, on 3 April 1885, Lüderitz had to sell his "Lüderitzland" for 300,000 marks in cash and 200,000 marks in share certificates to the newly founded German Colonial Company for Southwest Africa. In 1897, a contagious disease from South Africa, the Rinderpest, caused a loss of over 70 % of the animals in the area. The Herero moved towards the farms of the whites.

Revolt in 1904

In January 1904, the Ovaherero led by Samuel Maharero (1856–1923) and later Nama’s under Hendrik Witbooi (de) united in rebellion. They had thousands of rifles. The idea they were only armed with spears is a fairy tale. Hereros burnt farms of whites, and barbarously killed about 150 white farmers including women and children. On 14 January 1904, the German Foreign Office received a telegram that read:

“All farms in the vicinity of Windhuk [Windhoek, the capital of German South West Africa] plundered by the Herero. Whites living on isolated farms murdered. Situation very grave.”

The news reached shocked ears. Seemingly, few in the colony or in Germany itself predicted such a violent surge by the African natives. The man in charge of German South West Africa, Governor Colonel Theodor Gotthilf Leutwein and most of his seven hundred strong defense force, the Imperial Protection Force (Kaiserliche Schutztruppe), occupied himself in the southern part of the colony suppressing a minor revolt. His absence left approximately 4,500 German settlers unprotected and facing an between sixty and one hundred thousand Ovaherero, all apparently now committed to exterminating all German settlers.

According to their customary manner of waging war, the Ovaherero took no prisoners and ritually mutilated enemy corpses, which shocked the Germans. The Ovaherero troops used guerilla tactics and the local landscape well, fought with modern rifles, and confounded German attempts to disrupt their supply sources and other logistical resources. In contrast, the German reinforcements under Leutwein did not wage an inspired war. Ill equipped for the African environment, the colonial troops struggled in maintaining their own supply lines—especially access to clean water—and generally suffered from the lack of German infrastructure in the region. Though tactically, Leutwein won several victories—especially considering the challenges he overcame—the “cult of the offensive” so consumed German military ideology that anything short of an aggressive progression toward total victory seemed underwhelming.

Despite concerns about the worth of engaging in a large-scale conflict in outh West Africa due to the “minimal cultural interest” of the region, the German Reichstag approved the necessary financial and military support, thus committing to a war against the Ovaherero. Because of the wonton killing and the indiscriminate slaughter of all manner of the German folk in Africa, an army of 15,000 soldiers was transported to German South-West Africa led by Generalleutnant Lothar von Trotha. Against the will of the Reichskanzler, Bernhard Graf von Bülow, Kaiser Wilhelm II named him Commander-in-Chief and Governor of the colony on 3 May 1904 as Leutwein was recalled. Von Trotha was well versed in suppressing colonial insurrections, as he had participated in quashing the Wahehe Rebellion in German East Africa as well as the Boxer Rebellion (de) in China.

On 11 June 1904, von Trotha arrived, and the Germans in the colony openly boasted that the natives were to be disarmed. The effect of these boastings was to cause Hendrik Whitbooi' to withdraw his allegiance, throw in his lot with Marengo, and renew the Hottentot War. Concentrated at Windhuk, the forces of von Trotha were, in June, 1904, launched against the Hereros. The German army, lacking the long experience of colonial warfare possessed by the British, and for centuries trained in the tradition of European warfare only, did not adapt itself well to the guerilla tactics of the Hereros. Rather than the hesitantly offensive tactics employed by Leutwein, hindered by his reluctance to engage in outright carnage, von Trotha reveled in the opportunity to crush his enemy at any cost.

In August 1904, von Trotha’s force of 1,392 soldiers (his important officers were Berthold Deimling, Ludwig von Estorff and Hermann von der Heyde, but also Josef Bischoff) and black auxiliaries of the Witboois and Baster, backed up by 30 field howitzers and 14 machine guns, pulverized the 6,000 man strong Herero force in the Battle of Waterberg ([Gefecht am Waterberg]). The fighting itself wasn’t terribly hard or destructive, but the German General Staff-trained von Trotha managed to block in the Herero on three sides with only the open desert at their backs.

Captured Hereros are immediately taken into reception camps. However, many Hereros seek to escape, and as a result a number of them die in the waterless Omaheke steppe. About 1,000 Herero managed to escape to Bechuanaland with their chief Samuel Maharero. In spite of a defeat in one pitched battle, the natives were able to terrorize the countryside until in October 1904, a rising of Hottentots occurred to encourage them further, the atrocities against Germans were once again unspeakable.

On 2 October 1904, von Trotha, as an act of psychological warfare, proclaimed:

I, the great General of the German troops, send this letter to the Herero people. The Herero are no longer German subjects. They have murdered and stolen, they have cut off the ears, noses and other body-parts of wounded soldiers, now out of cowardice they no longer wish to fight. I say to the people: Anyone who delivers a captain will receive 1000 Mark; whoever delivers Samuel will receive 5000 Mark. The Herero people must however leave the land. If the populace does not do this I will force them with the Groot Rohr [Cannon]. Within the German borders every Herero, with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot. I will no longer accept women and children, I will drive them back to their people [...] These are my words to the Herero people. The great General of the mighty German Kaiser.

On 22 April 1905, von Trotha offered a plan for peace through pardon:

The great and mighty German Emperor is prepared to pardon the Hottentot people and has ordered that all those who surrender voluntarily shall be spared. Only those who killed whites at the outbreak of the rebellion or ordered whites to be killed have forfeited their lives under the law. I announce this to you and add that those few refusing to surrender will suffer the same fate as that suffered by the Herero people who, in their blindness, believed that they could successfully wage war against the mighty German Emperor and great German People. I ask you: Where are the Herero people today? Where are their chiefs today? Samuel Maharero, who once called thousands of head of cattle his own, is now harried like a wild beast and driven over the border into English territory. He has become as poor as the poorest field Herero and possesses nothing. It is the same with the other chiefs, the majority of whom have lost their lives, and the Herero people too have been annihilated - part of them dying of hunger and thirst on the desert and part murdered by the Ovambos. The Hottentots will suffer the same fate if they do not surrender and give up their weapons. You shall come with your entire clans, carrying a white piece of cloth on a stick and no ill shall befall you; you will find work and be given food until the great Emperor has announced new arrangements for the peace after the war. Whosoever believes after this that pardon cannot extend to him would do best to leave the country; for wherever he is seen on German soil, he will be shot at.

During the fights 1,749 Germans fell () or perished from disease, among them 93 officers and medical officers. The exact number of Hereros that died cannot be estimated.[3] However, some estimates vary from 10,000 to 30,000. A large number of Hereros fled to Botswana. The Witboi tribe, who fought against the Germans tried to flee, because they feared to be defeated by the Germans. Their weapons were taken away and they were sent to Tansania. The Nama also revolted and were also defeated. The Hereros were not allowed returning to Namibia even after the first world war, when Namibia became part of South Africa.

On 2 November 1905, von Trotha was awarded the Pour le Mérite for his services in Africa and recalled. 17 days later, Lothar von Trotha left for Germany, and was retired in the next year. Friedrich von Lindequist succeeded Trotha as governor, Colonel Berthold Karl Adolf von Deimling (1853–1944) as commander of the Schutztruppe. After the insurrection had been subdued, a considerable body of men (Germans and Reichsneger), provided with artillery and machine guns, was maintained. Estimates as to its strength vary greatly, some putting it as high as 10,000.

Over three thousand German troops fought in South West Africa until 1907. The costs of the war were extraordinary. Germany paid almost six hundred million marks—extravagant considering that the normal yearly cost of operating the colony was slightly above fourteen million marks.


According to politically correct propaganda after WWII, the Germans allegedly committed a deliberate genocide during the Hottentot War (German: Hottentottenkrieg) with similarities to the Holocaust. Less politically correct views include that the Hereo and Nama fought a guerrilla/partisan war that included indiscriminate attacks on civilians and that German measures such as concentration camps were responses to this. The term "concentration camps" originally referred to camps used to control the Boer civilian population and prevent them from helping the Boer forces during the Second Boer War which occurred during the 1899-1902 period. The genocide claim is "heavily debated" among scholars.[4]

Modern Herero

The majority reside in Namibia, with the remainder found in Botswana and Angola. There were an estimated 250,000 Herero people in Namibia in 2013. They speak the Herero language, which belongs to the Bantu languages. Unlike most Bantu, who are primarily subsistence farmers, the Herero are traditionally pastoralists. They make a living tending livestock. They drink the milk of the cow they keep, seldom they slaughter an animal for flesh. Land is owned by the tribe.

See also

Further reading

In German

External links


  1. Samuel fled to Makalamabedi, before fleeing in 1907 with some of his followers to Groenfontien in the Transvaal. Unable to return, even after the expulsion of the Germans as a result of the First World War, he finally settled in Mahalapye at the invitation of Kgosi Khama III.
  2. Frederic John Arthur Trench was born 2 February 1857 in in Ireland, son of the late Rev. from Dublin John Edmund Trench (1818-1860), M.A. He was educated at Geneva University, at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and at the Staff College. He entered the Royal Artillery, as Lieutenant, 2 February 1876. He served in the Zulu War of 1879, and was mentioned in Despatches [London Gazette, 21 August 1879], "for conduct especially deserving of commendation at the Battle of Ulundi", receiving also the Medal and clasp. He was promoted Captain 4 November 1884; was Adjutant, Royal Horse Artillery, 1883-84, and 1891-92; District Gunnery Instructor, 1889; became Major 19 January 1893; Deputy Assistant Adjutant General/D.A.A.G., Headquarters, Ireland, 18 October 1895 to 11 November 1898; Brigade Major, Royal Artillery, ' Vee tern District, 10 April 1899 to 27 January 1901. He qualified as an Interpreter in French in 1899 (and in 1905 in German). Major Trench again saw active service in the South African War, being employed on the Staff as District Commandant 28 Jan. 1901, to 2 April, 1901; specially employed 29 April to 22 July 1901; D.A.A.G. 23 July 1901 to 1 March 1902; Press Censor, Headquarters, South Africa, 2 March to 2 July 1902; He was present in operations in the Transvaal, July 1901 to 31 May 1902; in Orange River Colony, July 1901; in Cape Colony, January 1901 to July 1901; was mentioned in Despatches [London Gazette, 17 June 1902], and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order/D.S.O. [London Gazette, 26 June 1902]: "Frederic John Arthur Trench, Major, Royal Artillery. In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa." The Insignia, Warrant and Statutes sent to the G.O.C., Gibraltar; presented at Gibraltar, 24 November 1903. He became Lieutenant–Colonel 1 Octobr 1902; was given the Brevet of Colonel 1 October 1905; was attached to the German Forces (Schutztruppe) in South-West Africa 13 May 1905 to 21 March 1906, from which he had the German Medal and three clasps; was mentioned in Despatches, and was made Commander of the Royal Crown of Prussia and Commander of the Red Eagle with Swords and Diamonds, he was also made Commander of the Saxe-Ernestine House Order (Herzoglich Sachsen-Ernestinischer Hausorden). He was Military Attaché at Berlin 22 March 1906 to 22 March 1910. At the beginning of WWI, he was forced to return all his German decorations. He became a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order/C.V.O. in 1906; became Colonel 2 September 1908, and retired on 22 March 1910, to work for Boy Scouts and national service. Colonel Trench wrote a book called "Manoeuvre Orders", by 1915 it had gone through 11 editions. In 1915, it was being edited by an army officer who was just as noted for his military service as the book’s author, the later Brigadier General Bernard Montague Bateman (1865–1939). In 1916, the 12th revised edition was published by William Clowes. In 1900, he married Anne Somerville, daughter of John N. Craddock, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, U.S.A. At some point, he and his family moved to France and stayed there, even after the German victory of the Battle of France. Frederic John Arthur Trench died on 20 or 23 March 1942 at the Hotel de Colonies in Monte Carlo. Prince Louis II had tried to keep Monaco neutral during World War II but supported the Vichy French government of his old army colleague, Marshal Philippe Pétain.
  3. Der Hereroaufstand und die Schlacht am Waterberg
  4. The Genocide Debate: Characterising the Herero-Namaqua Genocide As Such