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Africa and the role they played during both of the world wars.

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Introduction

Africa and the role they played during both of the world wars was tremendous. Hundreds of thousands of Africans, who were forced into fighting a war which they didn't even understand, died. Many more were worked as slaves for the war efforts of there colonial rulers. The role Africa, and it's people played was a crucial in both wars. Africa supplied men, food and resources to the ungrateful European powers, who did little in return for Africa and it's people after the wars. If it wasn't for Africa's role during the wars, the world today might be a different place. World war one in history is mostly known as a European war. But nothing is further from the truth. World war one spread onto the European colonies of Africa. Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Portugal all had colonies in Africa. One of he allies aims, during the war, was to oust the Germans from their colonies, extending the war far beyond Europe and into Africa.1 In sub- Saharan Africa there were four minor theatres of war centering on the German colonies of Togoland, Cameroon, German south-west Africa and German east Africa.2 I will go into more detail of each of these campaigns, but first would like to explain the impact Africans had on the war and the war on them. At this time (1914) there were only three independent countries in Africa ; Ethiopia, Liberia and the union of South Africa. The rest of Africa and it's people were under colonial rule. Many African's fought in this war. It was quite a sad irony as the subject people of Africa were called on to defend the very institutions of their subjugation ; the European empires.3 But participate they did, and the impact Africa had on the war was quite substantial. In most part Africans in world war one were labourers and carriers, but even though there weren't all that many African soldiers compared to labourers, Africans did participate in the fighting. ...read more.

Middle

Lieutenant- colonel Paul Emil von Lettow arrived from Germany to take command of the military force in German east Africa (the largest and most populous of the German colonies). With the threat of war looming the colony needed a capable commander. Von Lettow was the son of a Prussian general -he was experienced and had served overseas against the boxers in China.26 Strategically German east Africa was in an impossible position. It was bounded to the north by British east Africa and Uganda, to the west lay the Belgian Congo, with British northern Rhodesia and Nysaland to the South west - all these became hostile territories the moment war broke out.27So the Germans had the British to the North and South, Portugese to the south and the Belgians to the west, all who would eventually become enemies of Germany during the war. The first major offensive of the war was a British attempt to capture the port of Tanga from the sea in November of 1914. This ended in disaster as the British "chivalrously" insisted on giving them notice that it was coming, as Von Lettow was able to rush troops to reinforce the single company stationed in the vicinity. Most of the British troops fighting were Indian brigades, the only regular British unit to serve in the entire campaign was the 2nd north Lancashire regiment. The German army was mostly made up of German officers, but the soldiers were mostly African soldiers from the colony. Over the following years both sides launched a number of smaller attacks along the other fronts, but these were mostly small battles, designed to keep the opposition off balance.28 One of the main places of conflict was in the North where the British had a vital railway line built in Uganda. The Germans sent small squads of demolition men, which caused large problems for the British, who had to use much manpower to protect it. ...read more.

Conclusion

1 Middleton, J. Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara. Pg: 382 2 Middleton, J. Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara Pg: 382 3 Middleton, J. Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara Pg: 383 4 Middleton, J. Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara Pg: 382 5 Middleton, J. Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara Pg: 384 6 www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice........shtml 7 www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice........shtml 8 Middleton, J. Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara Pg:384 9 Middleton, J. Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara Pg:384 10Middleton, J. Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara Pg: 384 11 www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice............shtml 12 Middleton, J. Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara Pg: 384 13 Middleton, J. Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara Pg: 385 14 www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice.............shtml 15 Middleton, J. Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara Pg: 385 16 Farwell, B. The great war in Africa Pg: 21 17 Farwell, B. The great war in Africa Pg:23 18 Farwell, B. The great war in Africa Pg: 25 19 Farwell, B. The great war in Africa Pg: 26 20 Farwell, B. The great war in Africa Pg: 26 21 Farwell, B. The great war in Africa Pg: 26 22 Farwell, B. The great war in Africa Pg: 30 23 Farwell, B. The great war in Africa Pg: 34 24 Farwell, B. The great war in Africa Pg: 77 25 Farwell, B. The great war in Africa Pg: 102 26 Page, M. Armies in east Africa Pg: 3 27 Page, M. Armies in east Africa Pg: 5 28 Page, M. Armies in east Africa Pg:13 29 Page, M. Armies in east Africa Pg:19 30 Page, M. Armies in east Africa Pg:21 31 Page, M. Armies in east Africa Pg:22 32 Page, M. Armies in east Africa Pg: 35 33 Middleton, J. Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara Pg:385 34 Middleton, J. Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara Pg: 385 35 Middleton, J Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara Pg: 386 36 www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice............shtml 37 www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice............shtml 38 Middleton, J. Encyclopedia of Africa south of the Sahara Pg: 386 39 www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice............shtml 40 www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice.............shtml ...read more.

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