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MITTELAFRIKA (German: , "Central Africa") is the name created for a geostrategic region in central and east Africa
Africa
. Much like Mitteleuropa
Mitteleuropa
, it articulated Germany\'s foreign policy aim, prior to World War I
World War I
, of bringing the region under German domination. The difference being that Mittelafrika
Mittelafrika
would presumably be an agglomeration of German colonies in Africa, while Mitteleuropa
Mitteleuropa
was conceptualised as a geostrategic buffer zone between Germany and Russia to be filled with puppet states .

German strategic thinking was that if the region between the colonies of German East Africa
Africa
( Rwanda
Rwanda
, Burundi
Burundi
, and Tanzania
Tanzania
minus the island of Zanzibar
Zanzibar
), German South-West Africa
Africa
( Namibia
Namibia
minus Walvis Bay ), and Cameroon could be annexed, a contiguous entity could be created covering the breadth of the African continent from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
. Given the richness in natural resources of the Belgian Congo
Belgian Congo
alone, this region would accrue considerable wealth to the colonising power through the exploitation of natural resources, as well as contributing to another German aim of economic self-sufficiency.

The concept dates back to the 1890s, when then Chancellor of Germany , Leo von Caprivi , gained the Caprivi Strip in the Heligoland– Zanzibar
Zanzibar
Treaty . This addition to German South-West Africa
Africa
attached the colony to the Zambezi River . British and German imperialists competed over the region which now comprises Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
, Zambia
Zambia
, and Malawi
Malawi
. Cecil Rhodes , on behalf of the British, successfully colonised the latter region (named Rhodesia , after Rhodes). Germany also discussed with Britain for them to press their ally, Portugal
Portugal
, to cede the colonies of Angola
Angola
and Mozambique
Mozambique
to them. The British however, had preferential trade agreements with Portugal, who was a trusted ally, and though plans for an eventual partition of the Portuguese colonies were drawn, Britain would thus see its colonial position in Africa
Africa
severely weakened in case they were applied, since the Germans could then effectivelly threaten their Cairo to Cape lines of communication. These plans were arguably made only to be used only as a last resort to appease Germany in case she threatened to disrupt the balance of power in Europe. However, since German foreign policy interests were in subsequent years mainly directed at gaining mastery in Europe itself, and not in Africa, they were eventually shelved. Indeed, as it is likely that German concepts of a "Mittelafrika" were designed to put pressure on Britain to tolerate growing German dominance in the European continent, and not the other way around, colonial concessions would never placate the German Empire, as surely British politicians came to realise at the time.

Germany's aspirations in Mittelafrika
Mittelafrika
were incorporated into Germany's aims in World War I
World War I
insofar as Germany expected to be able to gain the Belgian Congo
Belgian Congo
if it were to defeat Belgium
Belgium
in Europe. The full realisation of Mittelafrika
Mittelafrika
depended on a German victory in World War I in the European theatre , where Britain would be forced to negotiate and cede its colonies in Rhodesia to Germany when faced with a German-dominated Europe across the English Channel . In the course of the actual war, German aspirations in Mittelafrika
Mittelafrika
were never matched by events in the African theatre . The German colonies were at very different levels of defence and troop strength when the war began in Europe, and were not in a position to fight a war due to a lack of material.

SEE ALSO

* Mitteleuropa
Mitteleuropa
* German colonial empire * The African Queen

REFERENCES

Fischer, Fritz , Germany\'s Aims in the First World War, Scranton, PA, W W Norton ;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v

* t * e

States of the German Empire
German Empire
(1871–1918)

KINGDOMS

* Bavaria * Prussia * Saxony * Württemberg

GRAND DUCHIES

* Baden * Hesse-Darmstadt * Mecklenburg-Schwerin * Mecklenburg-Strelitz * Oldenburg * Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach

DUCHIES

* Anhalt * Brunswick * Saxe-Altenburg * Saxe-Coburg and Gotha * Saxe-Lauenburg (until 1876) * Saxe-Meiningen

PRINCIPALITIES

* Lippe * Reuss-Gera (Junior Line) * Reuss-Greiz (Elder Line) * Schaumburg-Lippe * Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt * Schwarzburg-Sondershausen * Waldeck and Pyrmont

CITY-STATES

* Bremen * Hamburg
Hamburg
* Lübeck

IMPERIAL TERRITORIES

* Alsace-Lorraine

OTHER

* German colonial empire * Mittelafrika * Mitteleuropa
Mitteleuropa

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Mittelafrika
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