Colonial Policy|| |
Kolonial-Atlas mit Jahrbuch (Atlas German Colonies, with Yearbook),
edited by the German Colonial Society, 1918, The
War in the South Pacific
The War in
the South Pacific
(p.28) In Ney-Guinea in July 1914 the radio telegraphic station in Bitapaka was
taken in service.
Militarily defense was hardly possible, as the entire protectorate, consisting
of innumerable islands, merely had a police force of a few hundred men.
On August 6th the seat of the governor was moved from Herbertshöhe to Toma, c.
12 km inland, because Rabaul and Herbertshöhe lay open within the range of
enemy artillery. A defense force was organised from the police force and from
Germans living in the country, the low importance of which can be seen from the
fact, that the number of white soldiers never surpassed a few 50. Machine guns
and similar weapons were not abailable. The governor, under the given
circumstances, refrained from anything but ordering to defend enemy attacks on
the radio telegraphic station at Bitapaka.
During the absence of the governor, who was away on official business, on August
12th Australian warships appeared in the Blanche Bay and demanded information on
(p.29) the location of the radio telegraphic station. As they, of course, were
not given such information, they steamed off without taking the place under
fire, as they had threatened. Further the enemy limited himself both in Rabaul
and in Herbertshöhe to destroying the telephone installations. In the early
morning of September 11th torpedo boats entered the port of Rabaul, followed by
numerous cruisers and submarines and one troops transporter. British midshipmen
landed in Herbertshöhe, where they hoisted the British flag. The defense found
itself in a situation all the more difficult, opposed a clearly superior
opponent, as the students of the English mission everywhere provided treacherous
service to the Australians.
Still an emergetic attempt to defend was made, which resulted in a determined
bush war. As it was impossible to defend the radio telegraphic station on the
long run, it was destroyed on the evening of September 11th. On the next days
skirmishes were fought in the bush, with British patrols which searched for the
radio telegraphic station. Early in the morning of September 14th the entire
vicinity of Rabaul and Herbertshohe came under heavy artillery fire; after which
a column of c. 600 Britons moved along the main route to Toma. In addition
several companies, lead by indigenous followers of the Wesleyan mission, moved
on bush paths into the hinterland. In the afternoon of September 14th the
British commander in chief requested the German governor to enter negotiations,
a request he followed, considering the unfavourable circumstances.
In the occupation zone the white population was harrassed by the disembarked
troops in the worst way. Every building was plundered; the occupation force
disposed over thousands of men to take violent avtion. In addition renewed
artillery barrage was to be feared and it was not clear, if the small number of
police troops still available, poorly trained, would remain loyal under the
impression of a renewed barrage. As further resistance hardly offered any
prospect for success, the governor entered in negotiations with the
Anglo-Australian occupation on September 17th, which resulted in surrender
conditions favourable to the protectorate and her inhabitants. In consequence of
thexe negotiations the protectorate's armed force entered Herbertshöhe on
September 21st, where they surrendered under honourable conditions.
The occupation of the other parts of Neu-Guinea took place without any problems
for the British and Australians. Friedrich-Wilhelmshafen was occupied late in
September, Nauru on September 21st.
On August 12th two British gunboats appeared off Jap, which did nothing but
destroyed the radio telegraphic station. On October 7th the island was occupied
by the Japanese. Off Angaur, just as in the case of Jap, at the beginning of the
war a British gunboat had appeared and destroed the radio telegraphic station.
After leaving a note behind, according to which the entire protectorate of
Deutsch-Neu-Guinea was occupied in the name of the King of England, the gunboat
had left. This action did not prevent the Japanese from occupying Angaur later.
The Japanese took possession of Ponape on October 7th, of Truk on October 12th
and Jaluit on September 29th. All these occupations took place without a fight.
As far as the island territory occupied by Anglo-Australian authorities is
concerned, it has been reported that in accordance with the surrender
conditions, extraordinarily favourable for the German interests, works on the
plantations have been continued, so that it has to be expected that these did
not suffer a damage of the size which has been the case in Africa.
On Samoa a force capable of defense did not exist at all. The governor called
upon the resident Germans to form a police force which was supposed to uphold
law and order. The British government had given the task of proceeding against
Samoa to the government of New Zealand. An expedition corps of 53 officers and
1,351 men was equipped, which left New Zealand on two transport vessels on
August 19th. On August 29th the transport, escorted by 5 warships, arrived at
Samoa, which, after 1500 men were disembarked, was occupied without a fight.
On September 14th the German cruisers "Scharnhorst" and
"Gneisenau" appeared off Samoa, but did not take any action against
the British and left the same day. A consequence was that the new administration
quickly shipped the German officials off from Samoa and interned them in New
Zealand. The few reports which came in from Samoa during the war indicate, that
conditions under the New Zealand maladministration, have developed sadly for the
German interests. Because the New Zealand officials were completely unfamiliar
with the conditions of the land, in the plantations much has been destroyed
which was created with great effort.
Deutscher Kolonial-Atlas mit Jahrbuch, (Atlas German Colonies, with
Yearbook), edited by P. Sprigade und M. Moisel, Surveys and retrospects
by Dr. Karstedt. Berlin 1918, p.28f|
(digitalisation) and AG
posted on the web for psm-data;
many thanks to
zu Berlin / Preußischer Kulturbesitz
Dokument in deutscher