Opinion: German colonialists used genocide for racial cleansing while the US favored advertising of soap

Karen Madej

German colonialists’ genocide of two African tribes started in 1904, but North America started racial cleansing much earlier. The biologically based racial cleansing of Nazi policy started before WW1 in Germany’s African colonies. Two populations of the colonies rose against their oppressors. The Hereros and the Nama.

The Holocaust Explained author states that by the end of the conflict in 1907, German colonialists had killed 50,000 to 65,000 Herero, and 10,000 Nama lives were lost. Those who didn’t die fighting lost their lives in concentration camps. A prototype of the Nazi medical experiments and exterminations of millions during WW2.

In the 1930s, the Germans were fascinated by the global leader in codified racism — the United States. What America Taught the Nazis By Ira Katznelson

The September 1935 “Party Rally of Freedom” in Nuremberg took away Jewish rights of Reich citizenship. The Jewish people lost their political rights, marriage to or sex with a member of the German race was banned, and waving a German swastika flag was forbidden.

America’s first anti-miscegenation laws date back to colonial times. In 1691, Maryland General Assembly passed the statute that made it illegal for a white American to marry someone of another race. It’s interesting to learn that England did not have such a law. A century after Maryland, a total of 38 colonies had passed similar but not all the same laws.

Not until 1967 did 15 states overturn anti-miscegenation after the Supreme Court ruled Virginia’s law unconstitutional.

The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry may not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the state. Chief Justice Earl Warren

As a reward to the 45 lawyers who systemized the German laws, Hitler sent them to the US under the banner of the Association of National Socialist German Jurists. Ludwig Fischer led the group to acquire “special insight into the workings of American legal and economic life through study and lectures.” Five years later, Fischer controlled the Warsaw Ghetto.

German science and black racism — roots of the Nazi Holocaust, German physicians and scientists developed their version of ‘racial cleansing’ in the late 19th century. Their policy is rooted in the period’s Social Darwinism that placed blacks at the bottom of the racial ladder.

Even after WW2, German commoners were terrified that “occupying African troops and their Afro-German children would lead to ‘bastardization’ of the German people. This fear formed a unifying racial principle that the Nazis exploited.”

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. The Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson claimed that all men are created equal in the Declaration of Independence. Yet he owned about 225 enslaved people at one point. In a letter to France, he claimed that blacks are inferior to whites in endowments of both body and mind.

In Race: The Power of an Illusion (The Story We Tell), historian Paul Finkelman believes Jefferson was the first person in the United States to truly articulate a theory of race and that he had to justify his slave-holding.

James Q. Whitman, the author of Hitler’s American Model, published in 2017, writes about the Jim Crow segregation laws in the American South. Separate but equal laws didn’t benefit Blacks and were often of poor quality if they existed. The unspoken effect of separate but unequal showed blacks as inferior and less human than whites.

“What the history presented in this book demands that we confront are questions not about the genesis of Nazism, but about the character of America.” James Q. Whitman

The Nazis considered segregation too harsh, but they liked America’s white supremacy law banning mixed-race marriage. Hitler’s lawyers focussed on America’s anti-miscegenation and citizenship laws that matched their Nuremberg Blood Law and the Citizenship Law.

The segregation and disenfranchisement laws known as “Jim Crow” represented a formal, codified system of racial apartheid that dominated the American South for three quarters of a century beginning in the 1890s. PBS.org

In 1899, William Lever bought Benjamin Brooke & Co’s Philadelphia top-selling US soap manufacturing business and moved production to his Port Sunlight headquarters in Liverpool. The two companies sold Brooke’s Monkey Brand soap in America and the UK in the 1880s.

Monkey Brand during Victorian and Edwardian times advertised colonial dominance on everything from matchboxes to an abrasive powder used to polish frying pans and pretty much anything but clothes in the home. The significance of the apelike butler character is rooted deep into the subconscious of white minds.

German colonialists used genocide for racial cleansing while the US and the UK favored the primate advertising of Brooke’s Monkey Brand to brainwash citizens. Anne McClintock, the author of Soft-Soaping Empire, discusses commodity racism and imperial advertising.

The once humble bar of soap rose to giddy heights through imperial jingoism. Advertising brought the inside of middle-class Victorian homes to the common folks. Private to public.

Imperial kitsch images of women in laced corsets, men shaving, and children bathing in magazines and newspapers and stamped on other commodities; whiskey bottles, tea tins, and chocolate bars delivered the message of racial hygiene and imperial progress.

In 1884, the first brand name soap appeared on a wrapped bar. A small event, but the brand name “signified a major transition in capitalism, as imperial competition gave way to monopolies.” All the different types of soap, such as Pears, Lifebuoy, Monkey Brand, etc., were distinguished by their corporate signature.

Yet consumers and consumerism started around the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851. The capitalist system created a dominant exchange form and the spectacle of surplus. One could say more is more.

The mass consumption of the commodity spectacle was born. Anne McClintock

What started as hundreds of small companies in the 1870s had turned into ten major players thirty years later. Aggressive advertising executives credited soap with “bringing not only moral and economic salvation to Britain’s ‘great unwashed’ but also with magically embodying the spiritual ingredient of the imperial mission itself.”

The original Pears soap advert based on the fable Washing the Blackamoor white.See page for author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

And there you have it, in my opinion, marketing and advertising images from the 1800s were responsible for the brainwashing of the UK and the US to buy into the idea of clean white skin being dominant.

The unwashed poor and other races didn’t stand a chance against the white desire to be superior because they could afford soap and the mass consumption of other colonial commodities.

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Passionate about climate change and living a debt-free, sustainable life. Determined to learn how to and build an adobe house or Earthship. The goal is to live off-grid and off the land. Energy for heat and to power electrical devices and appliances will use solar, wind, and hydro-powered electricity. No trees will die to make my home.


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