The Second World War in Southern Cameroon and its Impact on Mission-State Relations, 1939–50
The Second World War threatened to be a major disaster for the British in Southern Cameroon.1 The territory, officially a British Mandate of the League of Nations, presented some embarrassing features by 1939. Although an ex-German colony, German influence and not British transcended many facets of Cameroon colonial life.2 Much of the commercial economy, particularly the cocoa, banana and rubber plantations and the import and export business remained in German hands. On the spiritual plane, all foreign nationals of the Basel Mission were either German or Swiss-Germans, as were all the German Baptist missionaries. A significant number of the Catholic missionaries were also German or Italian. German influence therefore was widespread. The British hold on Cameroon was light. Between the wars she played a minimum caretaker role and totally failed to create any serious economic, social, cultural or political impact on the territory or on its inhabitants. It is understandable therefore why the Administration became so nervous in 1939.
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