An East African native Askari holding the German Empire’s colonial flag.
In essence, Bismarck’s colonial motives were obscure as he had said repeatedly “… I am no man for colonies” and “remained as contemptuous of all colonial dreams as ever.” However, in 1884 he consented to the acquisition of colonies by the German Empire, in order to protect trade, to safeguard raw materials and export markets and to take opportunities for capital investment, among other reasons. In the very next year Bismarck shed personal involvement when “he abandoned his colonial drive as suddenly and casually as he had started it” as if he had committed an error in judgment that could confuse the substance of his more significant policies. "Indeed, in 1889, [Bismarck] tried to give German South West Africa away to the British. It was, he said, a burden and an expense, and he would like to saddle someone else with it."