VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > B. World War I, 1914–1918 > 13. The War in the Colonies, 1914–1918
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
13. The War in the Colonies, 1914–1918
Most of the German colonies were seized by the British and French during the first months of the war (See Overview).  1
1914, Aug. 8
The British opened hostilities in German East Africa by bombarding the coast towns of Bagamoyo and Dar-es-Salaam. Indian forces were then brought to East Africa for the campaign. But the German commander (Gen. Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck) defeated a greatly superior landing force in the Battle of Tanga (Nov. 2–5, 1914). The campaign remained desultory until in Nov. 1915 the British secured naval control of Lake Tanganyika, and landing forces took Tanga (July 7, 1916) and Bagamoyo (Aug. 15, 1916). Gen. Jan Smuts, with a force of Afrikaners and Portuguese, now began to push the operations. Dar-es-Salaam fell (Sept. 4), then Lindi (Sept. 16) and Tabora (Sept. 19). Lettow-Vorbeck and his troops were obliged to fall back to the southeast corner of the colony. The campaign was resumed in 1917, when the Germans defeated their enemies at Mahiwa Oct. 15–18, 1917) and began the invasion of Portuguese East Africa. Lettow-Vorbeck advanced almost to the mouth of the Zambezi but then fell back to Lake Nyasa. On Nov. 2, 1918, he began the invasion of Rhodesia. The armistice went into effect on Nov. 14, 1918, at which time the Germans were still in the field.  2
Aug. 23
Japan declared war on Germany and began to land forces in Shantung for an attack on the German position at Tsingtao. The Japanese were joined by a British detachment. The bombardment of Tsingtao was begun in October, and was accompanied by an attack from the land side. On Nov. 7 the fortress was obliged to capitulate. During this same period the Japanese naval forces occupied a number of the German islands (Marshall Islands, Marianas, Palau, Carolines).  3
Aug. 26
Togoland defense force capitulated to an Anglo-French force. The colony was divided between the British and the French in agreements of Aug. 26, 1914, and Dec. 27, 1916.  4
Aug. 30
A New Zealand expeditionary force occupied Samoa.  5
Sept. 11
An Australian force landed on the Bismarck Archipelago. German forces in New Guinea surrendered to Australians (Sept. 21).  6
Sept. 7
A British force from Nigeria invaded the Cameroons and took Duala (Sept. 27). The French invaded the colony from the south and east. The Germans were obliged to fall back and ultimately crossed into Spanish territory (Feb. 9, 1916).  7
Sept. 19
A British force landed at Lüderitz Bay, German Southwest Africa. The Union of South Africa decided to prosecute the war in the German colony, and Gen. Louis Botha crossed the Orange River, taking Swakopmund (Jan. 14, 1915). He defeated the German forces at Riet and Treckkopje (April 26, 1915), took Windhoek (May 12, 1915), and finally forced the 3,500 German and colonial troops to capitulate at Otawi (July 9, 1915).  8
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.