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The Schutztruppen in the German colonies

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The German Federal Archives at http://www.bundesarchiv.de/foxpublic/files/R1001-introduction.pdf has a detailed summary of the development of the colonial administration.

Bismarck had originally intended that Germany would only provide protection to the German traders without direct rule and administration but this proved to be unrealistic as they were unwilling or unable to bear the necessary costs especially now with the indigenous uprisings. In 1891 the High Command over the military security forces was entrusted to the Reich Navy Office. After continuous conflicts of competence this was transferred to the Colonial Division (? Department) (Kolonialabteilung) which was the forerunner of the Reich Colonial Office (Reichskolonialamt). Originally this High Command comprised two military officers who formed a kind of military staff to Colonial Director; the military units in the colonies themselves were directly subordinated to the local governors. In 1905 in addition to the ever expanding Colonial Division, there were the High Command of the military forces in the protectorates and the Military Administration under a senior official. The Reich Colonial Office was formed in May 1907 with the Secretary (Staatssekretär) reporting directly to the Reich Chancellor (von Bülow until July 1909 and then von Bethmann-Hollweg).

Wilhelm Heinrich Solf (1862 1936) was appointed Secretary in the Reich Colonial Office on 20 December 1911 and would achieve considerable success in the reform of the German colonial administration. In June and July of 1912 Solf undertook a study tour of German South West Africa. Conservatives in the Reichstag and military officers were demanding that the authority of the civilian governors (in GSWA this was Seitz) over the Colonial troops be reviewed but were really pressing for autonomy for the Schutztruppe. The Reich Chancellor (Prince Max of Baden) appointed Solf as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in October 1918 when he would have to conduct the negotiations for the Armistice, first with President Wilson and then with the Allied and Associated Powers.

Division M (Military Administration) continued to function as the Colonial Secretarys military command for the armed forces in the protectorates. In his rank as commander of these forces (Kommandeur der Schutztruppen im Reichskolonialamt) the divisions director had the military rank of lieutenant-colonel or colonel.

Between 19th October 1908 and 6th April 1914 Franz Georg von Glasenapp was the commander

Ernst von Bëlow who had been appointed on the death of von Glasenapp returned to the Army on 14th Aug 1914 and the post was then held by the following officers in a series of acting / temporary appointments:

14th Aug 1914 to 2nd Sep 1914 Ferdinand Lempp

2nd Sep 1914 to 22nd Mar 1915 Konradin Sklode von Perbandt

24th Mar 1915 to 15th Jun 1917 Ferdinand Lempp


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If not picked up elsewhere, this article will be of interest for those who follow the history of the Cameroonian Schutztruppen -"Cameroonian Schutztruppe Soldiers in Spanish-Ruled Fernando Po during the First World War: A ‘Menace to the Peace’?"



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