The First World War at colonial scenes

in the First World War it came also on non-European scenes to fighting, contests was thereby the German colonies. These fights were usually characterized of few Gegenwehr, since the German Reich assumed the fate of the colonies would decide by the war exit in Europe. Until February 1916 all German possessions with exception of German East Africa of the Entente fell into the hands. The last units in German East Africa capitulated only after the official armistice in Europe.

Table of contents

the starting position

the fighting in the German colonies played only a subordinated role, since the empire had hardly the possibility of defending these so-called protected areas. In Berlin one meant in addition that the fate of the colonies on the European battlegrounds would decide. Besides one hoped for the Congo document of 1890, in which itself European powers had obligated not to expand a war on the colonies.

To the German protected areas belonged: Kiautschou (north China), several South Seas islands (German new Guinea, Neupommern, Mikronesien, Samoa, Marianen - and. Marshall Islands, Karolinen), Togo, Cameroon, German southwest Africa and German East Africa. The total area of these areas amounted to 2.953.000 km ² (approx. 8 x today's Germany), the total number of inhabitants over 12 million. The colonial forces in the colonies counted altogether only 15000 men, which were actually not stationed for martial conflicts, but the rule to secure and rebellions more native prevent should. The anyway already high administratives expense should not rise still by a large armed force in the immeasurable. The surrender of the German colonies was thus from the outset only one question of the time.

the case of Kiautschou

Kiautschou, which only 1897 had been leased by China for 99 years, represented an exceptional case, since not like all other protected areas the office for colonial separate it the realm board of admiralty was subordinate. 1914 were there stationed the third sea-battalion, whose 1,500 men was strengthened to beginning of war around 3.400 men. (A Chinese offer of the reinforcement by several ten thousand man rejected). To 10. August 1914 addressed Japan an ultimatum to Germany and required therein the immediate delivery of the protected area, which remained unanswered however by the governor, captain to sea Alfred Meyer Waldeck. Thereupon it came 13 days to the ultimatum to the Japanese declaration of war. Together with English troops the Japanese included the entire lease area from the land (over neutral China) and sea side. After meet-long artillery bombardment and a futile all-out attack of the allied ones at the birthday of the Japanese emperor Yoshihito had itself May-he-forest-hit a corner to 7. November 1914 of the crushing supremacy bend and accepted the surrender of the fortress. From the 4,900 defenders 199, from 53.000 aggressors 1,800 men fell.

the South Seas islands

neither by troops nor by naval forces protected German South Seas islands were defenselessly delivered each invasion attempt. To at the beginning of Octobers 1914 occupied English, French, Australian, units of New Zealand and Japanese all German Pacific areas without serious Gegenwehr. Before completed facts posed, did not remain for the German governor Eduard Haber choice, as to 17. To sign September 1914 the surrender document.

the defeat in Togo

Togo country, in-GEC-hurried between English and French colonial territory, without natural borders and with a well developed road system offered an enticing attack target. In Togo no colonial forces were stationed, the country had only a colored, 550 men strong police troop, which was led by five white officers. The Germans pulled themselves, to the hopelessness of the situation consciously, in the interior back and were limited to it, railway bridges to blow up, in order to brake the hostile advance. The Englishmen occupied combatless the south part of the country, from the east broke in the Frenchmen. To 27. August 1914, after breakup of all radio towers, took place the delivery of the colony Togo. Two thirds were surrendered to mandate to French west Africa, a third became English.

the fights in Cameroon

the German colonial force in Cameroon 1914 ago by rebellions one had already weakened, in addition the geographical location of Cameroon made it for the allied one possible to attack from all four sides at the same time. 30,000 superior armed stood for 8.000 German and/or native defenders opposite opponent. Despite this allied supremacy the Germans could book some partial successes until September 1914 and back-drive the English and French federations again and again. To 27. Septembers 1914 however had to give the Germans up the port Duala and withdraw themselves into the interior, where they began a zermürbenden guerrilla war between jungles and savannah. In the following year the war luck constantly changed. The defenders could strike back the aggressors again and again bloodily, yet a victory of the Entente appeared , since the allied ones could reach their first aim of operation in September 1915: They stood for Eseka at the line Wumbiaga - and kept occupied with it the key places of the country. In January 1916, after the evacuation withdrew itself the capital Yaoundé, the majority of the German federations into neutral Spanish Guinea . With this escape 900 Germans arrived and to 14,000 soldiers of the native auxiliary troops at neutral soil, 50,000 natives followed them. The remaining units fought until the last Germans from Cameroon could be evacuated. This Nachhut finally stretched to 18. February 1916 the weapons.

the Germans their entire forces at the border stationed German southwest Africa with beginning of war to the South African union. The fighting broke out with a South African attack on the police station of RAM to drift, until September 1914 came it to some engagements against South African and English units, with which von Heydebreck arrive to the colonial forces under the instruction of lieutenant colonel again and again smaller successes. In October it came then for adjustment the fighting, because in South Africa a Burenaufstand broke out against the English rule, to whose suppression the British commander in chief general Botha all troops to take off had. By this revolt the British advance retarded around some months. Some these burischen partisans continued to fight after striking down this rebellion on German side.

This Verschnaufpause used of Heydebreck, in order to lead a punitive expedition against Portuguese Angola. Portugal was officially neutral, seized however on British pressure German supplying transportation. After striking down the Burenaufstandes in South Africa the situation for the Germans became offering no prospects zunehmends, and so became to 9. July 1915 an armistice negotiated. Until in the middle of occupied August the South African union the entire country, which became German settlers permitted to return on their farms and even still the 1,300 men strong colonial force one did not disarm but concentrates only in a certain region.

the struggle for German East Africa

German East Africa was the largest and most densely populated of all German colonies. Differently than in other colonies the native population behaved extremely loyal to the German rule, in addition the country had a good infrastructure, which fast troop transportation made possible, and also the geographical location favoured the defense. From this creating it came into German East Africa to the lengthiest fights of the First World War on colonial scenes.

The forces of the opponent counted altogether 130,000 English, South African, Indian, African, Belgian and Portuguese soldiers, as well as several hundredthousand carriers. The defenders reached 3,000 German officers, NCOs and crews, as well as 12,100 battle-tested Askaris after general mobilization to beginning of war. About 300,000 African performed carrier and emergency services. The fighting took place on five from each other theaters removed very far. The Germans relieved its road and railway system the supply removed very well thereby. Also a sea-blockade made by the British did not show effect, since it could be broken through again and again. In the battle with Tanga the German troops could repel 1914 a landing of British and Indian troops.

After the Indian colonial army had shown itself as unsuitable, the British created above all South African troops under the former Burengeneral January Christiaan Smuts to Kenya. It succeeded to them to take at a large expenditure to personnel and material, the important cities and the railway lines. The German commander Paul von Lettow Vorbeck went thereupon to the guerrilla war guidance in the hard-to-travel southern part of the colony over, in which the opposing supremacy had not grown him. In the third phase of their campaign the British used then African troops from Kenya, to which it succeeded to force the German units to avoiding to Portuguese East Africa. Lettow Vorbeck succeeded it however to capture in Mozambique new supplies so that it returned 1918 again to the southern German East Africa and on hostile area in British Rhodesien continued to pull. Here English parliament acres brought it the message of the armistice in Europe. Thereupon the German colonial forces resulted to 25. November 1918 the allied one.

More for details over the fighting in German East Africa see the First World War in German East Africa

the further fate of the former German colonies

the peace treaty of Versailles determined that Germany had to give all former colonies up, it came first under the administration of the Völkerbundes, which determined the further administration. Over Kiautschou China received 1922 a people federation mandate. Most South Seas islands (in particular Marianen, Marshall Islands and the Karolinen) became Japanese and finally, after the Second World War unfaithful hand areas under US - administration explains. While the Marianen northern Marianen became to stand for 1986 Föderierte states of Mikronesien , 1986 Marshall Islands and 1994 Palau still under American administration into independence to dismiss. Samoa became mandate of New Zealand Western Samoa and 1962 independently. Nauru became people federation Commonwealth of Australia and 1968 independently. Over German new Guinea Australia received a mandate, 1945 the area with former British new Guinea was combined, 1975 into independence to dismiss. Togo became French trust territory, independence received the country 1960. Cameroon was divided 1922. The British part came to the crowning colony Nigeria, the French stood up to independence 1960 under own administration. 1975 came it to the reunification with the former British part. German southwest Africa became as Namibia as last colony of Africa 1990 of South Africa into independence to dismiss. The largest part of German East Africa became British. 1961 took place the independence of the state under the name Tanzania. The remaining part came under Belgian administration, which Burundi and Rwanda dismissed 1962 into independence.


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