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Sebastian Brodmann

  • Dissertation

    “Restoring the German Colonial Rule in Southwest Africa? The Role of the Foreign Lodges in Colonial Revisionism (1919-1935)" (working title)

    The Freemasons are an elite association of free – mostly Protestant – men whose stated goal is the promotion of the human good. However, the involvement of Freemasons in historical events is mostly unknown. The aim of this work is, therefore, the investigation of the involvement of German Freemasons in colonial revisionism through their foreign lodges from 1919 to 1935.

    A connection between Freemasonry and colonialism might be surprising at first glance, yet this association rejected the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and tried to mitigate its consequences. They also supported colonial revisionism within the German Reich, but also in the former German colony of German Southwest Africa. They used their foreign lodges, supporting the German nationality of the “Südwester” to maintain influence over what used to be the only German settler colony in Africa.

    By bundling the fields of activity, they created a network of imperial actors of which the Freemasons formed the center. Thus, they also represent a cross section of the German-speaking society of the former German colony. The aim of this work is to historically contextualize the activities of the three German colonial lodges in Southwest Africa. The analysis of leading personalities will contribute to the understanding of the overall structure of these organizations and will offer the placement of the German-speaking society in Southwest Africa. In this way, a transfer of knowledge and ideas can be traced among the brotherhoods and in their fields of activity.

    By applying the network theory to the Masonic lodges in Southwest Africa, we can trace an extensive involvement in various areas of the revisionist movement in Southwest Africa. In this way, a gap in colonial revisionism is to be filled and the work of the Freemasons is to be placed in the German colonial history of the interwar period.