Accounts of an Imperial German Marine Volunteer - Text in German ([ 1892 - 1899 ])

1892 - Manuscript Journal Royal Escort Voyage - China & Russia

The Kiautschou Bay Concession - Colonial German Qingdao

Date: [ 1892 - 1899 ]

Kiel [Northern Germany], 1896-1899. Fair copy manuscript account written by Johann Heinrich Hermann Neubauer (born 1874) who was a volunteer in the German Imperial Navy, recounting his numerous voyages and service in vast corners of the globe including China, Japan, Russia, the Phillipines, Brazil and Patagonia, over a period of seven years, looking back to his naval training in April 1892 and leading up to December 1899. Especially captivating are the descriptions of China and South America. With frontis portrait photograph of the writer in navy attire, taken in Nagasaki, and manuscript dedication to adjacent leaf dated 18 December 1896 when he began the work. Text is in German. With tipped-in manuscript message by a Navy Captain on the stationery of the SMS Gefion pertaining to 13 July 1896, and a tipped-in German newspaper printed in Tsingtao 29 March 1899. 8vo. 271 in manuscript. Brown cloth boards, original endpapers. A pleasing naval memoire in a fine hand, centered largely on China. German imperialism is the distinct theme in this manuscript volume, which features naval service during the occupation of Kiautschou Bay, and foremost German colonial influence over Tsingtao as its primary East Asia trading and naval post, while offering detailed observations of the Tsingtao in particular. Up and coming German colonies in Brazil also appear in the journal as the writer served on a vessel sent to quell the Brazilian Naval Revolts (Revoltas da Armada) in Rio de Janeiro in 1893. A voyage was further made to Manila in an effort to secure German colonial possessions in the Philippines. Neubauer had just come of age when he joined the volunteer navy reserve in 1892, and through the service, his early adult years would be replete with adventure as he sailed around the world observing and participating in colonial Germany's foreign expansion and commerce, particularly in China. The present journal begins with a partial summary of his assignments with the Kaiserliche Marine (German Imperial Navy) from his training onboard the artillery ship SMS Mars, subsequent posts on the SMS Seeadler, the SMS Condor, the SMS Alexandrine, and finally being assigned to SMS Gefion in May of 1895. The volume's dedication suggests that he intended to write the full account of his voyages and overseas experiences upon his return in 1896, however, the contents continue beyond the dedication date and introductory resumé of sorts, reveal that he was quickly offered another post - to return to the East Asia Squadron in China with SMS Gefion. Following a briefing of his earliest voyages, some twenty-five pages describe his adventures with SMS Alexandrine in South America. In 1893 this vessel was sent to Brazil where the Revolta da Armada (Revolt of the Fleet), though not a direct attack, did threaten German interests. Here we find mention of Montevideo in Uruguay, Rio de Janeiro and surrounding settlements, Santa Cruz del Sol, Joinville and Santa Catarina in Brazil, Lima in Peru, as well as Patagonia. Fascinating observations are made, from the typical nineteenth century mindset, for instance, an encounter with "true savage Indians" in Patagonia. [After the Ragamuffin War of 1845, German immigration to Brazil resulted in the formation of new colonies, most significantly Blumenau in 1850 and Joinville in 1851, both in Santa Catarina state. Today these are among the wealthiest parts of Brazil and still retain a strong influence of German culture. By the end of the 19th century, 122 German communities had been created in Rio Grande do Sul, and many others in Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro. Germans helped to establish a middle-class population in Brazil, a country that was formerly divided between slaves and their masters.] Continuing with SMS Alexandrine, the writer would find himself in Japan, the ship and her captain being commissioned to monitor the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895. Some ten or so pages are devoted to this mission, with frequent mention of Nagasaki where Chinese sailors had started a riot in 1886, and also Yokohama, a principal port town. In March 1895, Alexandrine was recalled to Germany and while en route, she stopped in Morocco to pressure local authorities into paying reparations for the murder of two German citizens. This part of the voyage is also described. The ship returned to Wilhelmshaven on 25 May 1895 and it seems that five days later Neubauer was paid off and home in Kiel. herlands, which he mentions, before returning to Kiel on 1 December.

Significant wear to tipped-in newspaper, volume lacks spine, otherwise very good condition, internally crisp and bright.


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