The British Foreign Office and Liberian Neutrality During World War I
The outbreak of World War I disrupted the smooth functioning of the financial administration of Liberia. Emulating America and with a view to not alienating the belligerents, Liberia declared neutrality, hoping that staying away from the war would minimize the damage to her economy. But Germany and England, her two main trading partners, were too busy with the war to take care of the interests of Liberia, which chose to sit on the fence. The country sank into an economic morass. Upon America’s advice, Liberia declared war against Germany soon after the USA joined the Allies. Liberia expected the co-belligerents to come forward and protect her and extend a helping hand to rehabilitate her finances. She did all she was supposed to do as an ally but in return got neither protection nor any help for economic recovery. Britain had always considered Germany her main rival in Liberia. She had succeeded in eliminating Germany as a commercial and political factor in Liberia. However, by doing this, she created a vacuum. The measures that were needed to follow up this British victory in Liberia were not forthcoming.