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corisande

25 Nov 1918 - Armistice in East AFrica

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corisande

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-46329241

 

The German forces in East Africa surrendered 2 weeks after the better known 11 Nov 1918 armistice in France

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VintagememoryDieuFamily2

Hello Corisande ,

 

I afford me to share your post ;) (if i find how do it XD)

 

 

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bushfighter

Actually Corisande the Schutztruppe did not surrender as it had no requirement to do so.

 

Under the Armistice terms the Allies had to administer and disarm the German force, disperse the Askari to their homes in what was to be Tanganyika Territory, and to repatriate the Europeans to Europe.

 

That is exactly what happened.

 

Harry

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NRP.HKP

"The King's African Rifles and East African Association " held a service this year at Chambeshi In Zambia to commemorate the surrender.

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bushfighter

The word "surrender" is misused in this context, just as the description of von Lettow's tactics as being "guerrilla warfare" are - up to his invasion of Portuguese East Africa he conducted conventional military operations, falling back on interior lines of communications.

 

The publicity recently given to World War I is very welcome but it includes mythology and mis-representation.

 

Harry  

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SteveE

Harry

 

I must ask but how do you perceive the word ‘surrender’ has been misused in the context above?

 

I appreciate that as far as the terms of the armistice were concerned with regards to East Africa Clause XVII merely called for the “Evacuation of all German forces operating in East Africa within a period specified by the Allies” but the German forces were still obliged to ‘surrender’ i.e. to stop resisting to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.

 

As Lieutenant-General J. L. Van Deventer noted in his Despatch (London Gazette #31310.  Saturday, 26th April, 1919);

“On the morning of the 14th November, my terms, based on Clause 17, were handed to General Von Lettow Vorbeck, in accordance with which he formally surrendered to General Edwards, my representative, at Abercorn on November 25th.

In view of the gallant and prolonged resistance maintained by the German Force in East Africa, I allowed General Von Lettow Vorbeck and his Officers to retain their swords, while the European rank and file were permitted to carry their arms as far as Dar-es-Salaam.”

 

That suggests, to me at least, that the German forces did ‘surrender’?

 

As for your point about Von Lettow Vorbeck’s use of ”guerilla warfare” I wholeheartedly concur.

 

Regards

 

Steve

 

 

 

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KONDOA

The fact that Germany had stopped fighting in Europe but Von Lettow had not but ceased fighting as result was not a surrender by any measure. Von Lettow, although short in men after the captures in GEA during late 1917 was still a fighting force and arguably still had a good hand to play against a cumbersome opponent and the vagaries of bush fighting. His "surrender" was the act of a gentleman and professional soldier, not as a beaten enemy.

 

Roop

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SteveE

Roop

 

I’m not for one moment suggesting that Von Lettow Vorbeck ‘surrendered’ because he was beaten and nor do I see that same meaning inferred in any of the posts and links above.  To say he was a beaten enemy would be a nonsense as that was quite clearly not the case and, if circumstances had dictated otherwise, I’m sure he would’ve given the ‘British’ forces in East Africa the runaround for some considerable time if allowed.

 

All I was querying is the suggestion that the term ‘surrender’ has been misused where I don’t see that it has.  The dictionary I use describes the word Surrender as ”to stop resisting to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority” which is exactly what Von Lettow did as a result of the armistice terms agreed in Europe and, as Van Deventer recorded in his despatch, he “formally surrendered” to Edwards at Abercorn.

 

Regards

 

Steve

 

 

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KONDOA

Understood.

 

Roop

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bushfighter

Steve

Seasonal Greetings

 

Please read the Armistice terms which are on the internet.  Nowhere is the word "surrender" used or expected.  The German Askari laid down their arms on the orders of their German officers after von Lettow had verified and accepted the terms of the Armistice.  

 

The British responsibility was to administer and repatriate the Schutztruppe which it did after asking von Lettow to march it to Abercorn where food stocks were dumped. 

 

The British started using the word "surrender" incorrectly.

 

I am discussing a technical military point which is of vital importance to only one of the two parties involved.  There was no surrender and the use of the word is historically sloppy.

 

Harry

 

 

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bushfighter

Steve

Greetings

 

Yesterday I received a copy of Zambia - the end of the Great War in Africa published by the Great War in Africa Association.

 

One extract from a message from van Deventer's HQ to (presumably) the War Office is very illuminating:

2. I shall simply tell von Lettow that you have received and acknowledged his protest but are unable to reconsider your decision as to the treatment of his forces as prisoners of war until embarkation.

It must be remembered that his surrender was only obtained by a judicious mixture of firmness and bluff.  According to your 71452 of 23 November we had no real right to demand it at all.

So it would perhaps be unwise to put forward the argument that because he surrendered, his troops are ipso facto prisoners of war. (WO 158/907)

 

My interpretation of events, looking at other messages in the book, is that 

Von Lettow stated that the Armistice agreement specified evacuation and not surrender, and there was no obligation for his command to surrender its arms.

The British, who occupied most of German East Africa (the Belgians occupied the rest) could not allow disgruntled former German Askari to go home within GEA carrying arms.

The British then insisted that the German Askari had to be disarmed before repatriation to GEA, and that "unconditional evacuation" was the same as as "unconditional surrender".  The British were emphatic that the German Askari would not be repatriated until they had handed over their arms.  Von Lettow reluctantly complied in order to send his Askari home.

The British then seized the arms when the Askari surrendered them on the orders of von Lettow, and treated the German Askari as prisoners of war although in fact they were not as they had not surrendered on the battlefield.

The Schutztruppe Europeans were allowed to carry side arms and were not confined in barbed wire cages as their Askari were.

The repatriation of both Askari "prisoners of war" and armed German, Austrian and Hungarian officers and senior ranks went ahead.

 

So make of that what you will.

Yes there was a "surrender" but that word needs qualifying as it was obtained by "a judicious mixture of firmness and bluff , , , and we had no real right to demand it at all".

 

My last words are of praise to the German Askari and their Europeans, who were never beaten in the field but who fell foul of the perfidy of Albion after the Armistice agreement.

"Hongera Schutztruppe!"

 

Harry

 

 

 

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SteveE

Harry

Greetings

 

Many thanks for your explanations, they are appreciated.  I had already read the terms of the armistice and, as you quite correctly point out, there are no references to the term ‘surrender’ contained within and it only states that the German forces in East Africa were to be evacuated within a period determined by the allies.

 

Further searching did find an online reference to an “Official release by the German Government” purportedly published in the Kreuz-Zeitung, November 11, 1918 that states that the terms set by the Allied powers for the Armistice provided for the “Unconditional surrender of East Africa”.  How correct this I don’t know as I cannot find a primary source to confirm but this text clearly didn’t get into Clause XVII of the armistice document that was eventually signed.

 

Von Lettow-Vorbeck’s “Reminiscences of East Africa” make interesting reading insomuch as they show perhaps your “perfidy of Albion” as, from what I understand from the text, there appeared to be some doubt as to the (mis)interpretation of the term “unconditional evacuation” and that the British forces in East Africa were instructed by the War Office that this was to include “surrender and disarming”, a point Von Lettow-Vorbeck argued against once he knew the full terms of the armistice but which fell on deaf ears all round and by that time was, at any rate, academic as his forces had already surrendered and been disarmed.

 

Having read further I agree with you that there was indeed a “surrender” of the German forces but a “surrender” that was unnecessary and only obtained by political means.

 

Steve

 

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David Filsell

Harry,

No wish to lengthen a fascinating fairies on the head of pins type argument, but even if the term surrender was not used at the time I do feel the various definitions of the word surrender on the internet seem pretty much to describe the reality of the German's decision to end fighting. 

Regards

David

 

 

 

Edited by David Filsell

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bushfighter

David

Greetings

Did the Germans on the Western Front surrender in the same circumstances?

 

No.  They marched back within their own national borders.

 

What created the "surrender" situation in East Africa was the British determination that the Germans should not re-enter GEA as a formed body with weapons, thus presenting the inhabitants  of that territory with the choice of supporting Germany again.  (The Versailles conference was yet to be held.)

 

Harry

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David Filsell

Harry,

iI do not disagree with your points. It is the dictionary definition of the word that interested me and that it seems broader than one expected.

Regards

David

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bushfighter

I guess that it is much easier to obtain a satisfactory result from your enemy by getting him to agree to an Armistice (honourable and preserves freedom for combatants) rather than to a surrender (shameful, degrading and involves prisoner of war status).

 

You can see from the Armistice content that it was primarily written in order to cease military operations in western Europe, and no detailed thought went into the paragraph on East Africa.

 

The interest to myself in all this is the way that European colonial politics entered the situation to support British territorial ambitions - but the USA insisted at Versailles on Tanganyika Territory becoming a Class B Mandate rather than a British colonial possession, and Rwanda and Burundi became similar mandates to be administered by Belgium.

 

It would be very interesting to learn how the Schutztruppe Askari got on when they went home.

 

Harry

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KONDOA

Similarly how some European Germans remained in Tanganika and continued their previous farm activities. I know of one through a lady that owned Gibbs Farm in Karatu.

 

Roop

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