Tuesday, September 1, 2020

the tiny Nation Togo surrender in WW 1 this day 116 years ago !

 

Togo is a 2019 American drama adventure film directed by Ericson Core and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. The film centers on Leonhard Seppala and his titular sled dog in the 1925 serum run to Nome to transport diphtheria antitoxin serum through harsh conditions during an epidemic of diphtheria. There is so much of history in that !



The Slave Coast is a historical name formerly used for that part of coastal West Africa along the Bight of Benin that is located between the Volta River and the Lagos Lagoon. The name is derived from the region's history as a major source of Africans that were taken into slavery during the Atlantic slave trade from the early 16th century to the late 19th century.

World War I  - the First World War, was a global war that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history.  It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatant deaths and 13 million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the related 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 17–100 million deaths worldwide.  It all started with 28 June 1914,  when Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia on 23 July. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, and the two moved to a war footing.

Even small Nations – not on the main firing line too were involved and fought !

Togo is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso.  The country extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, where its capital Lomé is located. Togo covers 57,000 square kilometres (22,008 square miles), making it one of the smallest countries in Africa, with a population of approximately 7.9 million, as well as one of the narrowest countries in the world with a width of less than 115 km (71 mi) between Ghana and its slightly larger eastern neighbor, Benin.

From the 11th to the 16th century, various tribes entered the region from all directions. From the 16th century to the 18th century, the coastal region was a major trading center for Europeans to purchase slaves, earning Togo and the surrounding region the name "The Slave Coast". In 1884, Germany declared a region including present-day Togo as a protectorate called Togoland. After World War I, rule over Togo was transferred to France. Togo gained its independence from France in 1960. In 1967, Gnassingbé Eyadéma led a successful military coup d'état after which he became president of an anti-communist, single-party state. Eventually, in 1993, Eyadéma faced multiparty elections, which were marred by irregularities, and won the presidency three times. At the time of his death, Eyadéma was the longest-serving leader in modern African history, having been president for 38 years. In 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbé was elected president.

Togoland was a German Empire protectorate in West Africa from 1884 to 1914, encompassing what is now the nation of Togo and most of what is now the Volta Region of Ghana.  At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the colony was invaded and quickly overrun by British and French forces during the Togoland campaign and placed under military rule. In 1916 the territory was divided into separate British and French administrative zones, and this was formalised in 1922 with the creation of British Togoland and French Togoland.

The colony was established towards the end of the period of European colonisation in Africa generally known as the "Scramble for Africa".  In 1899, Germany and Great Britain traded territory in the Samoan Islands for the Northern Solomon Islands and control in Tonga, using the Togoland Neutral Zone (Yendi) and the Volta Triangle as bargaining chips.  In   1914, French and British troops invaded unopposed.  No military personnel were stationed in the protectorate.  The Entente forces occupied Lomé, then advanced on a powerful new radio station near Kamina, east of Atakpamé. The colony surrendered on 26 Aug 1914, after the German technicians who had built the radio installation destroyed the station during the night of 24/25 August. In the weeks before the destruction, Kamerun, German Southwest Africa, German East Africa and 47 ships on the high seas were sent reports of Allied actions, as well as warnings of trouble ahead. On 27 Dec 1916, Togoland was separated into French and British administrative zones. After the end of World War I, newly established Czechoslovakia tried unsuccessfully to acquire the colony.  Following the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles, on 20 July 1922, Togoland formally became a League of Nations.  The British area of the former German colony was integrated into Ghana in 1957 after a May 1956 plebiscite in which 58% of British-area residents voted to join Ghana upon its independence, rather than remaining under British-administered United Nations Trusteeship.

The film Togo mentioned at the start flashes between musher Leonhard Seppala raising his dog Togo and the 1925 serum run to Nome. Leonhard "Sepp" Seppala was a Norwegian-American sled dog breeder, trainer and musher who played a pivotal role in the 1925 serum run to Nome and participated in the 1932 Winter Olympics. Seppala introduced the work dogs used by Native Siberians at the time to the American public; the breed came to be known as the Siberian Husky in the English-speaking world. The Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award, which honors excellence in sled dog care, is named in honour of him.  The 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the Great Race of Mercy and The Serum Run, was a transport of diphtheria antitoxin by dog sled relay across the U.S. territory of Alaska by 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs across 674 miles (1,085 km) in 5 ½ days, saving the small town of Nome and the surrounding communities from a developing epidemic.

 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26.8.2020

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