When Imperialism wasn’t a Video Game

It's not just a video game

The most significant ideology causing a long lasting effect on European history and society was imperialism.  Western Civilizations desire to expand its borders led to the conquest of other countries.  The acts of atrocities by the West to other countries during these conquests proved the west was superior and affective in its goal of expansion.  The West’s sheer militant power and economic dominance over weaker civilizations, including other European countries, has permanently scarred its history.

In the mid-1800’s British Imperialism ruled over Ireland.  Ireland had fallen victim to a potato famine and sought assistance from Britain. Parliament showed little interest in the well-being of Ireland and continued exporting grains that could have been a food source for the starving country.  This act of greed allowed 4 million people to die during the potato blight.  Isaac Butt proclaimed his disappointment with Britain in A Voice for Ireland.  “Britain is now branded as the only civilized nation which would permit her subjects to perish of famine, without making a national effort to supply them with food.”  (Brophy, 577)

Britain sent a Scottish missionary to Africa under the guise of spreading the word of Christianity.  The missionary, David Livingstone, reported to Britain the fertility of Africa and his “desire to open a path to this district that civilization, commerce and Christianity might find their way there.”  He viewed the power of British imperialism as a blessing to the unenlightened countries of Africa. (Brophy, 579)   England was in direct competition with Germany in the race to seize Africa.  Germany was over-crowded and as a nation they declared it their cultural mission to expand into Africa and “successfully hew a new path on the road of imperialism.” (Brophy, 594)

Western Civilization’s imperial rule seemed unstoppable.  In the 1890’s, the German’s began spreading a racial theory concerning their superiority over non German races.  H.S. Chamberlain published literature that proposed the ability of the German race to capture weaker countries and expand its rule into non-European areas.  Chamberlain stated the importance of extending the superior German race worldwide by “mercilessly overthrowing and excluding those who are alien to us.”  This radical idea was the breeding ground for racial ideology for the future ruler of Germany, Adolf Hitler.  (Brophy, 595)

During the Spanish-American War in 1899, Britain continued its imperial drive into India.  The West’s desire to govern the uncivilized black races by force was clear.  Britain even raised the issue to the United States in hopes of
assistance with educating the natives and “cleaning” them physically and
spiritually.  Kipling’s poem titled “The White Man’s Burden” justified “the savage wars of peace” to humanize the “half devil and half child” creatures of India.
(Brophy, 597)  The United States was not interested in assisting another countries imperial war.

By the 1920’s Britain was successful in its imperial drive into Africa.  The technology of the British made African resistance futile against their advanced military strength.    Africans were forced to surrender their land for the benefit of the hostile Europeans.  The British then enslaved the African people to work the land agriculturally for the financial gain of England.  Morel, a British journalist, documented in “The Black Man’s Burden” the devastation Africa suffered during this imperial rise by Britain.  He asked in his document “Why cannot the white imperial peoples, acknowledging in some measure the injuries they have inflicted upon the African, turn a new leaf in their treatment of him?”  He viewed Britain’s
Christian missionary trip as “vulgar and soulless materialism” that caused
“incalculable harm” to the African race. (Brophy, 601-03)

The final example of imperialism I am putting forth in this essay is Adolf Hitler’s attempt of annihilating an entire culture of people.  Written in his political memoir, he declares the Jews as enemies to the Aryans.  He
wrote “If the Jews were alone in this world, they would suffocate as much in
dirt and filth, as they would carry on a detestable struggle to cheat and ruin
each other…”  (Brophy, 730) Hitler used the Jewish citizens as the reason for Germany’s defeat in World War I.  Instilling racial prejudice within Germany’s
empire, he systematically began removing the Jews and other citizens he deemed
unworthy of life.  This internal act of imperialism has left the deepest, ugliest scar of all on Western Civilization’s history.

European imperialism over the past 400 years has caused permanent, never-ending pain to Western Civilization and the countries conquered.  Their domination of weaker civilizations by force, whether within Europe or in Third World countries carries a long history of abuse, starvation, and murder.  The
West may have felt victorious in its ability to sweep in and conquer with their
advanced technological resources.  The reality is taking land and life from people who are helpless to defend themselves is truly not an accomplishment to have pride in.

Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

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