"First Postcolonial?!" Intercontinental debut (audio)


Aidelaide, 🇦🇺 "Best of Enemies" conference. January 1919: Considering the Paris peace conference's opening stage and the first themes of its shuffled agenda, which delegates took centre stage?

The British, err, their Australian colonists in a ready-made delegation, termed the British Imperial Delegation – virtually surpassing the ranking of severely damaged states such a Belgium – acted on a par with the delegations of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers. This second British delegation left many others, including Woodrow Wilson and the obviously excluded Germans, stunned.

Unlike at previous conferences, this programme contained an abundance of speakers with expertise in our main area of research. Listen to De Bourgraaf's lecture by the button below.

🇦🇺  abstract  🦘

Decolonisation duel Britain - Germany 1-2 

"There could be nothing irregular about a native working for a European," Nobel Prize 2021 winner Abdulrazak Gurnah has his main character Hamza think about a British colonial officer patronising him, roughly a decade after displacing the Germans. From the perspective of the native Asian or African under European rule, the coloniser's nationality apparently made no difference.At the 1919 Paris peace conference, categorical differentiation was proclaimed by the British delegations (!).

Not a lot of primary sources on the colonised peoples' perspective have been secured since Britain's August 1918 Bluebook, an obvious product of propagandists, which the twin delegations availed themselves of half a year later in Paris to support their argument on qualified colonialism. Apart from the German colonists, their nationality was ostracised.

The first thesis is that British and Imperial Delegation leaders David Lloyd George and Jan Christiaan Smuts utilized the humanitarian argument as a pretext to conceal their sub-imperialist designs. Thus, as a consequence of sub-imperialism and the Versailles colonial diktat, "Weimar" and the Germans would be barred from the original experience of decolonisation. During the prolonged 1918 Armistice, a kind of decolonisation avant la lettre hit the newest among the colonial empires. Thus, Germany could be regarded as the first postcolonial state. A hundred years later on now, other countries do not seem to approach the postcolonial debate with as much as passion as their former junior partner. The second thesis is that Germany took the lead in decolonisation and this debate (D.A. Moses, 21 October 2022). The definition of colonialism's demise did not allow for a defenceless country's colonial dispossession in the fifth and final year of the Great War. Though it can beargued that this one and only "white decolonisation" sped up and spearheaded this painful process. What can we learn from Germany's unique two-way decolonisation? What does Australian professor Clinton Fernandes' 2022 monograph on sub-imperialism add to the scarce sources on imperialism's uniquely British expansion?