Liberia Declares War on Germany

Daniel Howard (1861-1935), President of Liberia from 1912-1920.

August 4 1917, Monrovia–Most of Africa was involved in the war, as most of Africa was colonized by the belligerent powers or their dominions.  The sole exceptions were the few Spanish colonies in Africa and the two independent countries of Ethiopia (despite Turkish intrigues) and Liberia.  Liberia, founded by freed American slaves “colonized” in Africa, was essentially an American protectorate, and was undoubtedly influenced to enter the war once the United States did (though not as directly as Cuba or Panama were).

On August 4, Liberia declared war on Germany, and was able to seize German-owned businesses and interned German ships.  They also hoped that entry into the war would give them access to more favorable credit for foreign loans from the Allies (which became necessary due to disruptions in trade caused by the U-boat campaign), and that a spot at the peace table would make sure that Liberia was not harmed by any changes in the map of Africa that would occur after the war.  They were not able to participate in the war militarily, as their small armed forces were necessary to keep the Liberians of American origin in power (as the native African population would not be enfranchised until well after World War II).

In 1918, a long-range German submarine did shell Monrovia, sinking the Liberian Navy’s only ship and damaging their powerful wireless station.

Today in 1916: Sixth Battle of the Isonzo Begins

Today in 1915: Germans Enter Warsaw
Today in 1914: Britain Declares War on Germany