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Imperialism | Colonial Policy

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Deutscher Kolonial-Atlas mit Jahrbuch (Atlas German Colonies, with Yearbook), edited by the German Colonial Society, 1918, General Matters

The War in Togo

(p.13) When the war broke out, Togo found itself in a situation that unfavourable, that only that of the Pacific possessions was worse. Its size of 87,000 square km, relatively small in African terms, made it an object easily squeezed. The short seashore did not improve the situation for the defense. In addition, France disposed over considerable forces in Dahomey and Britain had over 2,000 coloured troops on the Gold Coast. This Franco-British force was enforced by landing battallions of gunboats. On the German side 2 officers, 5 police officers and a police force of 560 coloureds was opposing them. A company of Europeans was formed from the white settlers.
Immediately after the outbreak of the war the administrations of Dahomey and the Gold Coast signed an agreement to attack Togo. While the Feench invaded along the coast and occupied Porto Seguro on August 8th, the British transported a strong column of Gold Coast troops on warships to Lome, Togo's capital. The vice governor, with the police force and all Germans capable of military service had withdrawn to the interior, so that the British occupied Lome on August 8th, promising "to keep up law and order and to protect property". As representatives of the government only the district official with two secretaries had stayed behind.
The plan of the combined Anglo-French forces now was to march in separate columns on Sansane-Mangu in the north, to where the Germans were believed to have withdrawn. A column penetrating there from the north noted on August 15th, that this assumption was unfounded. Sansane-Mangu was occupied that day without resistance. In reality the German forces had taken position near Kamina and Atakpame. Kamina, located c. 6 km east of Atakpame, was the location of the large radio telepraph station, opened in the spring by the Gesellschaft für drahtlose Telegraphie (Corporation for Wireless Telegraohy) for the Reichspost, the range of which reached until Nauen. A combined Anglo-French detachment was sent against this position. On August 22nd skirmishes were fought on the Chra at the Togo hinterland railway, c. 35 km to the south of Kamina. Kamina could not be held against the superior Anglo-French force, as the German native soldiers, in other skirmishes, had proved to be not totally reliable. After the radio telegraph station had been destroyed, the defense forces at Kamina surrenders, after it had been agreed that the merchant houses would be permitted to leave one representative each in the country.
The German prisoners, for the larger part, were transported to French Dahomey, where they were, without exception, subject to a treatment (p.14) which resembles the acts of medieval tormentors. Only after long negotiations and countermeasures, their transport to Europe was achieved. Britain and France did not honour the agreements made when the force surrendered. Not only were all merchant house representatives expelled from Togo, but also almost all missionaries, who partly had been permitted to stay in Togo until the end of 1917.
At present Togo is placed under British and French administration, the western part under British, the eastern part under French administration.


Source: 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, pp.13f

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