The Second World War in Southern Cameroon and its Impact on Mission-State Relations, 1939–50

  • Anthony Ndi

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Europe Shipping Rubber Hunt Dine 

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Notes

  1. 2.
    See Victor T. Levine, The Cameroons from Mandate to Independence (Los Angeles, 1964), p. 38.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    This became critical in 1948 with the rise of nationalism and the demand for provincial status for Bamenda. Ba (1948) 2nd Annual Report, 1948 by A. F. Bridges. See also, Edwin Ardner, ‘The Kamerun Idea’, in Claude E. Welch (ed.), Dream of Unity, (Ithaca, 1966), p. 161.Google Scholar
  3. 11.
    W. E. Hunt, Officer administering the Govt, Lagos, to the Rt Hon Malcolm MacDonald, Sec of State for Colonies — Reports on Situation in Cameroon, dated 10.8.38. BA Pa(1938)2 S2/1938/vol. I. Also, Sanford H. Bederman, The Cameroons Development Corporation, (Cameroon, Bota-West, and London, Brown and Knight Ltd, 1968), p. 16. See also, Resident to Chief Sec of 10.5.38. BA S2/1938/3.Google Scholar
  4. 97.
    See Anthony Ndi, ‘Alfred Saker… and the Founding of Victoria’ (MA thesis, SOAS, London, 1977).Google Scholar
  5. 98.
    Ibid. Literally the LMS was ‘bought over’ by the BM. Also Werner Keller, The History of the Presbyteria Church in West Cameroon (Victoria, Presbook, 1969), pp. 12–13.Google Scholar
  6. 99.
    Erik Halldén, The Culture Policy of the Basel Mission in the Comeroons 1896–1905 (Sweden, Uppsala, 1968), pp. 30–2, 66–7.Google Scholar
  7. 103.
    In the very first report written on Cameroon in 1916, the Resident, E. C. Duff, emphasised that the authority of important chiefs should be upheld. But his successors, e.g. Arnett, went even further. See Anthony Ndi, ‘Mill Hill Missionaries and the State in Southern Cameroons, 1922–1962’ (PhD thesis, London, 1983), ch. 5.Google Scholar
  8. 110.
    Lloyd E. Kwast, The Disciplining of West Cameroon, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1971) p. 92.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Killingray and Richard Rathbone 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Ndi

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