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

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,735
SoCal
#11
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.
Yeah, Germany did have a large navy after 1897 or so. That's what the Anglo-German naval arms race was about.

@Rodger was probably thinking of pre-Wilhelmine Germany when he wrote that part of his post.
 
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Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,997
US
#12
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.
I was thinking of the size of their navy, relative to Britain. I also thought that they did not have a large maritime or merchant navy? Maybe I am wrong. This would be as necessary as military ships for overseas colonies, if not more so.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
18,735
SoCal
#14
I was thinking of the size of their navy, relative to Britain. I also thought that they did not have a large maritime or merchant navy? Maybe I am wrong. This would be as necessary as military ships for overseas colonies, if not more so.
Relative to Britain, they were small, but AFAIK probably not relative to everyone else.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,735
SoCal
#17
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.
To be honest, I don't think that colonialism would have particularly appealed to early 20th century Germans unless this colonizing would have taken the form of moving into the cities. During the 19th century and beyond, Germany experienced both an Ostflucht and a Landflucht (east-flight and land-flight, respectively). Germans were moving out of the east and out of the land into the cities. In order to get Germans to move to Eastern Europe en masse, you'd probably need to have really nice, prosperous cities there.
 
May 2015
1,045
The Netherlands
#19
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?
There's not really a definite answer to this question. Germany entered the war without territorial ambitions in Europe and it had a civilian leadership that opposed large-scale annexation. As a result of the war on two fronts against its powerful enemies, this would soon give way to a desire to have at least some degree of indirect control over Belgium, Lithuania and parts of Poland for strategic purposes, but the pre-war doctrine of expansion outside of Europe remained dominant. Germany specificially sought colonial expansion in the heart of the Africa continent to connect its colonial possession and as a source for natural resources. I would say this only changed after Hindenburg and Ludendorff took over and expansion in Europe became a real priority and probably the bigger priority.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,735
SoCal
#20
There's not really a definite answer to this question. Germany entered the war without territorial ambitions in Europe and it had a civilian leadership that opposed large-scale annexation. As a result of the war on two fronts against its powerful enemies, this would soon give way to a desire to have at least some degree of indirect control over Belgium, Lithuania and parts of Poland for strategic purposes, but the pre-war doctrine of expansion outside of Europe remained dominant. Germany specificially sought colonial expansion in the heart of the Africa continent to connect its colonial possession and as a source for natural resources. I would say this only changed after Hindenburg and Ludendorff took over and expansion in Europe became a real priority and probably the bigger priority.
What made H & L so interested in European expansion?