During World War I on 26 August 1914, the German protectorate of Togoland in West Africa was invaded by French and British forces.  After a brief resistance, Togoland fell and was divided into French and British administrative zones in 1916.  Following the war, Togoland formally became a League of Nations mandate divided for administrative purposes between France and the United Kingdom.  After World War II, the territory became a United Nations (UN) Trust Territory, administered by France.

In 1955 French Togoland became an autonomous republic within the French union, although it retained its UN trusteeship status. A legislative assembly elected by universal adult suffrage had considerable power over internal affairs, with an elected executive body headed by a prime minister responsible to the legislature. Following a referendum in 1956 a new constitution for the Autonomous Republic of Togo was approved. This was followed by full independence from France, and shedding its UN trusteeship status on 27 April 1960.