During WWI, did Imperial Germany prefer expansion in Europe or acquiring colonies outside of Europe?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,943
SoCal
#1
During WWI, did Imperial Germany prefer expansion in Europe (either direct expansion or the creation of German puppet states) or acquiring colonies outside of Europe? I would presume that it would want both if possible, but if Germany had to choose, but would it have preferred?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,943
SoCal
#2
I suppose that one way of framing this question would be this: If Britain and France would have offered to return Germany's colonies to it in exchange for German territorial concessions in Eastern Europe, would Germany have taken them up on this offer?
 
Apr 2018
979
Upland, Sweden
#3
Germany would definitely have wanted territorial expansion in Eastern Europe, no contest. While I'm sure some Germans liked being colonial overlords I don't think it was as integral to their idea of national security, or for that matter self-identity (a number of conservatives at the beginning of WW1 looked to the Ostsiedlung for inspiration, and there were voices in the general staff who felt that "they must expand towards Russia now or be expanded towards - this kind of thinking was one of the reasons behind Germany's decision to spark the Great War). And it makes geopolitical sense in a way, I suppose. I mean just look at Germany - it's right in the middle... Deutsche Nordwestafrika does very little to remedy that.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,943
SoCal
#4
Germany would definitely have wanted territorial expansion in Eastern Europe, no contest. While I'm sure some Germans liked being colonial overlords I don't think it was as integral to their idea of national security, or for that matter self-identity (a number of conservatives at the beginning of WW1 looked to the Ostsiedlung for inspiration, and there were voices in the general staff who felt that "they must expand towards Russia now or be expanded towards - this kind of thinking was one of the reasons behind Germany's decision to spark the Great War). And it makes geopolitical sense in a way, I suppose. I mean just look at Germany - it's right in the middle... Deutsche Nordwestafrika does very little to remedy that.
Oh, certainly! As long as Germany doesn't have naval supremacy, a German colonial empire in Africa would be a ripe target for attack by other Great Powers with more powerful navies (such as Britain). In contrast, the army appears to be where Germany excelled at and as long as Germany retains the most powerful army in Europe, it should be able to defend Eastern Europe from renewed Russian aggression just as long as the railroads and logistics in Eastern Europe are able to support a large German military presence there.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,943
SoCal
#5
Interestingly enough, without German control over Belarus, a German puppet Ukraine would probably be much harder to defend due to the longer front lines:

 
Feb 2019
688
Serbia
#6
They wanted both, and if they won they probably would take both. However if the question is either-or then Eastern Europe was their priority without a doubt. They also had plans to colonise about half of Africa and had a goal of acquiring the Middle-Eastern oil, but Eastern Europe was their priority.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,943
SoCal
#7
They wanted both, and if they won they probably would take both. However if the question is either-or then Eastern Europe was their priority without a doubt. They also had plans to colonise about half of Africa and had a goal of acquiring the Middle-Eastern oil, but Eastern Europe was their priority.
They didn't have to worry about the Middle Eastern oil as long as the Turks would have remained allies with them. Of course, if the Brits take the oil-rich parts of the Ottoman Empire and the Turks want these territories back, what is Britain going to demand in exchange for this?

Also, one thing that I don't get is why Germany tried to cooperate with the Bolsheviks in an attempt to prevent the Ottoman Turks from conquering Baku in late 1918.
 
Jun 2017
2,891
Connecticut
#8
Europe. Clearly.

This is most demonstrated by the fact a European continental war meant that German colonies could be isolated and picked off rather easily. The German continental empire was an aftethought and mostly existed for the sake of prestige, Bismarck and the Kaiser did not heavily prioritize it at all. By the end of 1914 I believe there was only one German colony that had not been conquered and that was due to an unusual guerrilla campaign. Germany had no way of reinforcing their colonies and by entering a war they were consenting to the very good chance they'd lose their empire even if they WON(UK and Japan could not have been compelled to give those colonies back). There was a chance the UK and thus Japan wouldn't join the war(UK is one thing but no reason the Japanese wouldn't join) but they were still risking their colonial empire for a continental conflict. Even without them the French would have likely been able to gobble up the German colonies in Africa because geographically they'd have a much easier time reaching them even if Germany had the larger navy.
 
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Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,106
US
#9
During WWI, did Imperial Germany prefer expansion in Europe (either direct expansion or the creation of German puppet states) or acquiring colonies outside of Europe? I would presume that it would want both if possible, but if Germany had to choose, but would it have preferred?
Which one would they prefer? i would say territories within Europe, particularly to the east. In reality, there were few productive places overseas, having been colonized over the nearly 400 years prior to Germany's formation. Moreover, Germany did not have a huge navy. Colonizing adjacent lands was much easier from a logistical perspective. Good farmland timber and other natural resources where just a few days travel away by land.
 
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Feb 2019
688
Serbia
#10
Moreover, Germany did not have a huge navy. Colonizing adjacent lands was much easier from a logistical perspective.
While it is true that colonising Europe would be easier and strategically more important due to the resources and the buffer with Russia, saying that Germany didn't have a huge navy is a bit odd to me. Correct me if I'm wrong but The High Seas Fleet was arguably the 2nd strongest in Europe and possibly the world after the Royal Navy and if Germany won WWI it would be safe to assume that they would likely build up more and weaken the British naval influence, the navy would probably not be a problem for them that much in this scenario.
 
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