Africans in World Wars I and II
Summary and Keywords
World Wars I and II were very probably the most destructive conflicts in African history. In terms of the human costs—the numbers of people mobilized, the scale of violence and destruction experienced--as well as their enduring political and social impact, no other previous conflicts are comparable, particularly over such short periods as four and ten years, respectively. All told, about 4,500,000 African soldiers and military laborers were mobilized during these wars and about 2,000,000 likely died.
Mobilization on this scale among African peasant societies was only sustainable because they were linked to the industrial economies of a handful of West Central European nation states at the core of the global commercial infrastructure, which invariably subordinated African interests to European imperial imperatives. Militarily, these were expressed in two ways: by the use of African soldiers and supporting military laborers to conquer or defend colonies on the continent, or by the export of African combat troops and laborers overseas—in numbers far exceeding comparable decades during the 18th-century peak of the transatlantic slave trade—to Europe and Asia to augment Allied armies there.
The destructive consequences of these wars were distributed unevenly across the continent. In some areas of Africa, human losses and physical devastation frequently approximated or surpassed the worst suffering experienced in Europe itself; yet, in other areas of the continent, Africans remained virtually untouched by these wars.
These conflicts contributed to an ever-growing assertiveness of African human rights in the face of European claims to racial supremacy that led after 1945 to the restoration of African sovereignty throughout most of the continent. On a personal level, however, most Africans received very little for their wartime sacrifices. Far more often, surviving veterans returned to their homes with an enhanced knowledge of the wider world, perhaps a modicum of newly acquired personal prestige within their respective societies, but little else.
The World Wars in Africa
World Wars I and II were likely the most destructive conflicts in African history. In terms of the numbers of soldiers mobilized, the thresholds of violence, destruction endured, and lasting social and political impact, in Africa as in Europe and Asia no other previous conflicts are comparable, especially over such brief durations as four and ten years, respectively.
The level of devastation was a consequence of Africa becoming gradually integrated into the European-dominated global economic system from the 15th century onward. This process ended in the political and economic subjugation of the continent by a handful of West Central European nation states through armed conquest during the late 19th and early 20th centuries—which culminated in the onslaught against Ethiopia by Italy in 1935 that also signaled the beginning of World War II in Africa.1 These states—including the most powerful European industrial nations, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, as well as other lesser powers, Belgium, Portugal, and the European settler communities within Africa itself—directly controlled the political and, more particularly, the military destinies of the peoples of the continent, which were invariably subordinated to European rather than African interests. During the World Wars these Eurocentric military imperatives were expressed in two ways: by the extensive use of African combat troops and of supporting military laborers to conquer or defend colonies on the continent or by the export of African soldiers and laborers overseas to Europe and Asia to augment the strength of Allied armies there.
Though the World Wars caused widespread misery and carried far-ranging consequences, it is a paradox of Africa’s enforced military involvement in these global struggles that a precise reckoning of the human tolls they exacted is (and always will remain) uncertain.2 During World War I about 2,350,000 soldiers and carriers (non-combatant military laborers) were mobilized, 750,000 served overseas, and more than 250,000 likely died. To these military fatalities, the deaths of perhaps 750,000 civilians should be added. A generation later during World War II losses were nearly as severe: of the more than 2,000,000 soldiers (and at least 100,000 military laborers) recruited, perhaps as many as 475,000 died, while civilian fatalities likely approached 500,000. In all, the two World Wars waged between 1914 and 1945 resulted in the mobilization of about 2,700,000 African soldiers and at least 1,800,000 laborers. Of these, perhaps as many as 550,000 soldiers perished, while deaths among military laborers may have reached nearly 200,000. Civilian dead likely amounted to at least 1,250,000 people. All told, about 4,500,000 Africans were mobilized during the World Wars, and about 2,000,000 people, more than half of them civilians, likely died.3
The enlistment of men on this scale, especially among fragile peasant societies, was only sustainable because they were linked to the industrial societies at the core of the global economic infrastructure. In terms of raising armies and sustaining them, the capacity of the European nation states to provide material support for military mobilization significantly surpassed the historic capacity of predominantly agrarian African societies to sustain warfare.4 The destructive consequences of these wars were also distributed unevenly across the continent. In some areas of Africa—in German East Africa (Tanzania) during World War I and likely in Ethiopia during World War II—human losses and physical devastation frequently approximated or surpassed the scale of suffering experienced in West Central Europe itself; yet in other areas of the continent, Africans remained virtually untouched by these wars.5 Moreover, the export of Africans to fight and labor overseas—which occurred on a scale that dwarfed the decadal exports of the 18th century transatlantic slave trade at its height—was also distributed unevenly. French West and North Africans were far more likely to serve abroad, especially in Europe, than their counterparts from other colonies, and the price they paid for the knowledge they acquired of the wider world was daunting.6
In addition to soldiers and military laborers, colonial authorities commandeered a wide array of material resources to support the metropolitan war efforts during these conflicts. This often entailed the additional temporary requisitioning of civilian forced labor to cultivate crops, mine mineral resources, and to maintain or expand the continent’s transportation infrastructure. In addition, colonial governments sought to reduce civilian consumption, increase taxation, and increase production of materials needed for the war effort, often through quota systems and forced requisition when goals went unmet. Spurred during World War II by the Japanese conquest of European colonies in East Asia and ever-increasing American demand after 1942, African exports often increased dramatically. These included a wide array of foodstuffs to sustain the war effort of armies and civilian populations abroad, including cattle, rice, wheat, maize, cassava, barley, sorghum, cocoa, coffee, tea, vegetable and palm oil, and groundnuts, in addition to other essential plants such as cotton, tobacco, and timber. To these commodities African colonies added essential mineral resources—copper, tin, gold, diamonds, cobalt, and uranium used in munitions production—and other raw materials, including, rubber, coal, iron ore, bauxite, sisal, sodium, pyrethrum, asbestos, manganese, and chrome. Indeed, by the end of World War II, African rubber increased from 1 percent to 30 percent of global production, while the continent supplied 50 percent of the world’s gold, 17 percent of its copper, nearly 90 percent of the cobalt, 98 percent of industrial diamonds, and all of the uranium. Throughout Africa, this production was sustained by the coercion of civilian populations, and when quotas exceeded local foodstuffs, as in Belgian Ruanda-Urundi (Rwanda and Burundi) during World War II, malnutrition and famines followed in train.7
The vast mobilization of African soldiers and workers during World Wars I and II was the consequence of an extractive imperial system commandeering the lives and labor, as well as the products and resources, of subject peoples globally. Indeed, viewed in the broadest possible terms, the waging of both World Wars in Africa reflected older policies of colonial aggrandizement pursued by European imperial states since the 16th century in the interest of securing and eventually dominating international commercial networks.
World War I
During World War I, the Anglo-French “condominium” established in the 19th century sought to perpetuate the global economic status quo upon which their continued prosperity and political preeminence depended. The revisionist Germans, seeking a redistribution of global wealth commensurate with their own newly acquired national unity and rapidly expanding industrial infrastructure, challenged this. In Africa, the British and French, supported by their Belgian and Portuguese allies, sought not only to defend their own colonies, but, as was common practice in the past, to conquer the German ones.
The 1914–1918 conflict in Africa revolved around a series of military campaigns to secure this end. Blockaded by Allied fleets and without hope of reinforcements, the Germans were forced on the defensive from the outset. French and British troops from Dahomey and the Gold Coast moved swiftly at the beginning of the war to occupy German Togoland, where resistance collapsed within three weeks. While suppressing an anti-British Boer rebellion within the Union of South Africa itself, the government invaded German Southwest Africa (Namibia) in September 1914. After a series of border skirmishes with Union troops in the south as well as Portuguese forces in the north, 4,700 German soldiers retreated inland, where they were eventually overwhelmed in July 1915 by forty-three thousand South African troops maintained logistically by thirty thousand African laborers. The French, supported by their British and Belgian allies, also invaded Kamerun (Cameroon) in August 1914. There a small force of six thousand Schütztruppen, aided by the tropical terrain in the south and ill-coordinated converging military efforts by much larger Allied forces, continued resistance until they were forced to seek sanctuary in Spanish Equatorial Africa in February 1916. In the wake of their retreat, the contending armies, incapable of sustaining themselves logistically using carriers alone, left a trail of famine through villages whose crops had been confiscated.8
The principal theater of operations, however, was in East Africa, where the Germans, seeking to divert Allied resources from other combat zones, waged a protracted four-year-long resistance. This campaign unfolded in three phases. The Germans repulsed an initial British task force from India in October 1914, eluded a larger invasion by South African and Belgian Congolese troops throughout 1916, and (after expanding the conflict into neighboring Portuguese East Africa and Northern Rhodesia) only surrendered to units of the King’s African Rifles in late November 1918.9 Owing to the campaign’s duration and the heavy British logistical reliance on carriers (who were essential because of the paucity of roads and the presence of tsetse prohibiting the use of pack animals), nearly 1,350,000 Africans were mobilized in East Africa, or about 90 percent of all the soldiers and laborers in all of the other conflict zones in Africa combined. Losses fell predominately on British military recruits and totaled more than 150,000 men; civilian deaths were greater still and may have numbered 365,000 people. In the end, the German colonies were apportioned among the European victors at Versailles—a result that would have occurred even if these campaigns in Africa had never been waged.10
The French and British also made extensive use of African soldiers and laborers overseas. Because of the population disparity between Germany and France, the latter placed a premium, especially after 1916 when more than eight hundred thousand French soldiers had already been killed, on the mobilization of North and West African soldiers to augment their outnumbered armies on the Western Front, while also relying on African as well as Indochinese laborers to supplement the French workforce.11 Used extensively by their commanders as “shock troops,” about 365,000 Africans fought on the Western Front and in Thessaloniki, where more than seventy thousand died.12 For their part, the English preferred to draw on their Indian instead of African colonial troops in 1914–1915, while a mass army was being raised in Britain to fight on the continent. Several considerations influenced this British preference. The Indian Army was immediately available and much larger than the comparatively small garrisons in Africa, while the British felt a less acute sense of national peril than did the French, who suffered far greater losses than their ally by 1916 even though the Germans remained only twenty-five miles from Paris. However, the British supplemented their available labor force with workers imported from South Africa and Egypt, as well as with South Asian and West Indian levees.13 As the war became still more protracted, both the British and French augmented their African armies significantly. The French government initiated a massive recruitment drive in West Africa in late 1917 to raise more troops for combat in Europe, while the British increased their colonial forces and accorded primacy to the use of African units in German East Africa. The Germans, with far fewer global manpower resources available, were unable to import either African soldiers or laborers to Europe due to the Allied blockade, but, as their use of Africans in the defense of their colonies illustrates, their failure to do so was prompted by a lack of means rather than the absence of will.
World War II
During World War II, another revisionist state, Fascist Italy (actively supported in Africa after 1941 by their German allies), sought to expand its overseas empire at the expense of Ethiopia, Britain, and France. In so doing, the Italians and Germans attempted to wrest control of the four key points in North and East Africa essential to the flow of trade along its primary route between Europe and Asia. These nodal points included Gibraltar, at the western entrance to the Mediterranean; the Strait of Sicily; the Suez Canal; and the Horn of Africa, dominating egress from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean.14
As in Asia, where the outbreak of fighting in China in 1937 preceded the declaration of war in Europe, in Africa, Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935. Like the campaign in German East Africa between 1914–1918, the Italo-Ethiopian conflict from 1935–1936 (and subsequent occupation, resistance, and liberation through 1941) dwarfed in scale and thresholds of violence the fighting experienced elsewhere on the continent. Although exact losses are uncertain, more than three-quarters of all African military and civilian wartime fatalities may have occurred during this protracted struggle, which was notable for its brutality. The Italian onslaught, which began in October 1935, proceeded along two fronts: in the north, from Italian Eritrea through the disputed border zone with Ethiopia, and from the southeast, from Italian Somaliland. The Italians, who mobilized more than six hundred thousand men (of whom 150,000 initially were Eritreans and Somalis), were equipped with the latest weapons and, in contravention of established military conventions, resorted to aerial bombing against both civilians and soldiers, as well as the use of mustard and phosgene gases, which were lethal. The Ethiopian Army mobilized eight hundred thousand men, but only a quarter of these had received any formal military training and, armed for the most part with an assortment of obsolete weapons, they were powerless to halt the Italian invasion. After being defeated in a series of initial battles—at Amba Aradam, Tembien, and Shire in the north and at Ogaden in the east—the Ethiopians retreated into the highlands, where they launched a last major counteroffensive at Maychew and were defeated. Addis Ababa was abandoned to the Italians; the Ethiopian emperor fled abroad, seeking to rally international support through a forlorn appeal to the League of Nations for foreign intercession, while organized military resistance continued on a regional basis until February 1937. Thereafter, guerrilla warfare waged by the Arbegnoch (Patriot’s) movement persisted for another four years.15 Fascist repression, targeting the Ethiopian aristocracy and intelligentsia (especially after the failed assassination attempt against the Italian Viceroy and Governor-General in 1937 and the massacre of perhaps twenty thousand Ethiopians in Addis Ababa that followed) was merciless.16 Because of indiscriminate massacres, summary executions, aerial bombing of civilians, maltreatment of prisoners in concentration camps, and widespread famine resulting from the destruction of villages, as many as 485,000 Ethiopian civilians and resistance fighters may have died between 1935 and 1941. To these figures should be added as many as 275,000 military fatalities in 1935–1936.17
The Italian occupation of Ethiopia was short lived. After their declaration of war against Britain and France in June 1940, the Italians sought to consolidate their empire in the Horn of Africa by invading British Somaliland, while making forays along the frontiers with Kenya and the Sudan. Though initially successful in incorporating Somaliland into Italian East Africa, the British Army (numbering over 190,000 men comprised primarily of African units from the West African Frontier Force and the King’s African Rifles), supported by Ethiopian Freedom Forces and units from the Belgian Force Publique and the Free French, counterattacked in 1941. Launching concentric attacks and aided internally by Ethiopian guerrilla forces, the Italian Army in East Africa (which was comprised of one hundred thousand Italians and about 260,000 African recruits from Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia) was overwhelmed and capitulated within ten months. Addis Ababa was liberated in May 1941, when the emperor, at the head of his troops, accompanied the Allied Army into the capital.18
The Italian invasion of Egypt to secure the Suez Canal in June 1940 fared no better. Their initial advance stalled inside the Egyptian frontier, and during a subsequent British counterattack most of the Italo-Libyan Army was captured or routed. Reinforced by two German armored divisions, the Axis forces again renewed the offensive into Egypt before being defeated at El Alamein in October 1942. Thereafter, the British Army (composed of British, Indian, Australian, New Zealand, and South African troops as well as African units from the Sudan and the Free French) drove the Axis Army westward along the Mediterranean coast until they reached the Tunisian frontier in March 1943.19 African military laborers, notably from the African Auxiliary Pioneer Corps and the South African Military Labor Corps, supported these Allied operations logistically.
The Italo-German retreat across Libya coincided with Allied landings in French North Africa, administered since 1940 by the collaborationist Vichy regime. During most of World War II, African involvement in the conflict was determined in the French colonies by competing allegiances between the French themselves, dictating to whom young Africans owed military service. The French Third Republic’s unexpected collapse after the German invasion in May 1940 gave rise to two successor regimes: the Vichy government, aligned with the Axis, and the Free French, who continued fighting with the Allies. Both factions relied heavily on African recruits instead of French conscripts to constitute their armies. Hence, after serving in the armed forces of the defeated Third Republic between 1939 and 1940, those Africans not killed, wounded, or imprisoned, as well as new recruits raised in Africa, were compelled to serve in the army of one of these political factions supported by the local colonial authorities. The next two-and-a-half years witnessed a struggle between the Vichy and Free French governments for control of French African and Middle Eastern colonies, which often led to fratricidal fighting among African troops themselves serving in these rival forces. Military campaigns included: an ill-fated Free French effort to seize Dakar in September 1940; the successful invasion of Gabon by Free French forces composed primarily of French Equatorial Africans two months later, enabling them to declare Brazzaville as the capital of their movement; and operations seizing Syria, Madagascar, and Djibouti from Vichy control between June 1941 and December 1942. Recognition of the Free French as the sole legitimate government and the reassertion of their authority over the former French African colonies culminated in November 1942 with the Allied landings in Vichy-controlled Morocco and Algeria and the conversion of their administration to the Allied cause. Thereafter, American, British, and Free French armies converged on Tunisia, destroying or imprisoning the remaining Axis formations there prior to crossing the Straight of Sicily and beginning the Allied invasion of Europe from Africa.20
Europe and Asia
As during World War I, the European belligerents also used African troops and laborers not only to contest colonies among themselves, but they also deployed them overseas to augment their fighting strength in Asia and Europe. During the first nine months of the war, the Third Republic positioned more than one hundred thousand West Africans and about ninety thousand North Africans along the Western Front in Europe. Comprising nearly 9 percent of the French combat formations, these troops, and especially the West Africans, bore the heaviest burden when the Nazi Blitzkrieg broke on France. All too often used as “shock troops” because of their alleged “warlike” propensities by the French, West Africans were also often massacred by the Germans if they surrendered because of Nazi racial dogma that treated them as Untermensch (subhuman). The upshot was far higher losses among colonial troops, and especially the so-called Senegalese Tirailleurs from West Africa, than among French metropolitan troops defending their homeland itself.21
The British, who, as during World War I, were loath to deploy African combat formations in Europe, used them to support their imperial interests in Asia instead. Even before the capitulation of the Italian-German army in North Africa, the British redeployed nearly 170,000 African soldiers who had fought in East Africa to engage the Japanese in Burma. Allegedly well adapted for this task because of their racial affinity for “jungle warfare,” they helped the British drive the Japanese occupation forces from their prewar colonies in East Asia.22
African troops also contributed significantly to the Allied liberation of continental Europe. Deployed in Sicily and Corsica by the Free French, they also fought in Italy, where the Moroccans spearheaded the breakthrough of the German line at Monte Casino. When the Allies invaded Normandy, African combatants constituted more than 60 percent of the 550,000 Free French forces. In this capacity, they participated in the Allied drive across northern France and, after the American and Free French landings on the Côte d’Azur in August 1944, also fought to wrest control of southern France and the Rhone valley from German control. Though some African units eventually crossed the German frontier in 1945, most, even though they had constituted a majority of the Free French forces since 1940, were rotated out of the frontline formations in an effort to “whiten” (blanchiment) them. This represented a calculated policy by the Free French government, once France was actually liberated, to recruit metropolitan soldiers to replace African veterans in order to create a wartime narrative that Frenchmen, not Africans, had led the fight to free France itself.23
Views from Below
The comparatively small African mercenary armies that served Europeans during the colonial conquest proved wholly inadequate for their needs during the World Wars. Instead of a few thousand African soldiers, often drawn from among the servile ranks of societies, the imperial war aims of the European belligerents required the unprecedented mobilization of millions of soldiers and laborers.
With rare exceptions (young men eager to prove their courage and assert their masculinity; citizen soldiers from the Four Communes of Senegal in 1916 performing military service in exchange for recognition of their status as French citizens; Ethiopians defending their homeland in 1935 against Italian aggression and occupation), African soldiers and laborers were reluctant recruits. Although recruitment methods varied enormously in Africa depending on the date of enlistment, the geographic area of recruitment, and the needs of the imperial powers requisitioning soldiers, they usually shared one thing in common: the threat of coercion.
Regardless of whether they were recruited in village raids by armed retainers of the colonial authorities, through improvised methods of fulfilling European quotas by providing one son per family compound, or through drafts of young men based, especially after the 1920s, on recently acquired census data, nearly all Africans, irrespective of whether they were recruited as soldiers or military laborers, had “no choice” in the matter of their enlistment. Recalling the painful family decisions that were often made as a result, Sera Ndiaye, a 1916 recruit from Senegal, described a conversation with his father, who was himself under threat of imprisonment should his household fail to furnish a soldier:
In each family, they only took one young man, never two. And my father decided that I should [be the one to] go and enter the army instead of my elder brother. Because, my father explained to me: “If I should die, your elder brother could take care of the family, but you are too young for that.” That’s why he chose me to go into the army. I was not happy to go, but because I was very close to my father . . . I felt obliged to go.24
Efforts to avoid this “tax in blood” were usually prompted by acute fears about the fate that awaited the soldiers. African peasants and pastoralists seldom understood the reasons Europeans compelled them to serve in their armies far from home, while it was often assumed that enlistment amounted to a death sentence—that the recruits would “never return.” Under these circumstances, non-compliance with European demands was common. While the well-connected sought and sometimes received exemptions, most resorted to other methods. Illness was feigned to flunk the medical induction exams; flight to the sanctuary of the countryside or to foreign colonies was common; and collective armed resistance, inevitably forlorn, occurred in some instances, especially during World War I.25
The enforced levies of manpower by Europeans on this scale, especially for service overseas, had only one parallel in African history: the transatlantic slave trade. Despite European claims about having abolished domestic servitude as a part of their colonial “civilizing mission” in Africa, their appropriation of soldiers and laborers between 1914–1918 and 1935–1945 far exceeded in scale the Atlantic slave trade during any comparable period throughout the 16th to the 18th centuries. Nor is this comparison between recruitment levels and the export of labor for New World servitude only a striking historic parallel; it was often the analogy that came to Africans’ minds, especially during World War I, as they boarded European ships sailing for distant lands. As Kande Kamara, a Guinean recruit in the French Army, recounted about his voyage to Europe:
A lot of people spread the rumor that we would never come back, that we were going to be sold as slaves. . . . So some people were trying their charms to bring them back. Others were using their cowrie shells, throwing them on the floor, gambling to see whether they would be favored with good luck or be saved. . . . And some were saying, “If the ship sinks, who gives a damn, because we’re going to die anyway. . . . So people were beating their hands against the ship and screaming and yelling and screaming!26
The World Wars witnessed an unprecedented militarization of African societies, with the mobilization of peasant populations on the peripheries of these global conflicts sustained, at least in part, by the new industrial infrastructures and coercive capacities of European nation states operating at the core of the struggle.27 Once Africans enlisted in these European armies, they entered a new and unfamiliar world. Men from different ethnic groups and cultural backgrounds, speaking different languages, were frequently thrown together for the first time. So too were recruits from among the same people but drawn from different social strata, some of whom—griots from casted lineages, for instance—had never before been expected to perform martial functions in the societies from which they came. European military organization also often deviated from African norms in another significant respect: ancient social hierarchies, where they existed, were usually ignored, and their European non-commissioned officers (NCOs)treated the rank and file, whether aristocrats or slaves, brutally but with rough equality. Finally, on rare occasions, some African soldiers encountered other troops from the African Diaspora—and notably African Americans—who had a profound impact on them.
European armies shared other similarities. Regardless of whether they served in the British, French, German, Belgian, or Italian colonial armies, nearly all African troops were grouped into segregated units on the assumption that interracial fraternization among soldiers, undermining European assertions of ethnic supremacy, was to be avoided as much as possible. These colonial formations were also led by European officers; usually contained small cadres of European NCOs and enlisted specialists, such as machine gunners; and depended for internal communication and cohesion on African NCOs. They were also systematically isolated to the extent practicable from other European formations—and still more so from European civilians if possible when serving overseas. Only on rare occasions, such as during combat itself, did African soldiers come into prolonged contact with their European counterparts.28
The tactical deployment of colonial troops in combat also shared common characteristics. All European armies embraced social Darwinian dogma about the martial qualities inherent among Africa’s “primitive” peoples. Indeed, most European armies placed a premium on recruiting among especially “warlike” races in their colonies.29 These military preconceptions often had disastrous consequences for the African soldiers classified in these groups. Regardless of the pseudoscientific rationale used—whether their nervous systems were less developed than their French counterparts, hence making them better able to withstand shelling by high explosives during World War I, or their natural adaptability to jungle warfare, as in the British Army in Burma during World War II—Africans were all too often victimized by these stereotypes.30 The peasant backgrounds of most African troops compounded the adverse consequences of these classification systems, especially if they were deployed in Europe. Like most East European soldiers, especially during World War I, they were much more likely to be illiterate than their Central European adversaries, which translated into a significant disadvantage in combat.31
The upshot was that Africans were especially prone to be used as shock troops, not only because of their alleged natural aptitudes, but also because the loss of their lives was frequently deemed to be of less importance than those of their European counterparts. The elevated casualties often accompanying their prominence in the fighting were sometimes compounded by the racial attitudes of their adversaries, as among the Germans invading France in 1940 when their Nazi enemies often massacred surrendering Africans.32 In addition to all this, Africans sometimes found themselves in the ironic position of being used as proxies for Europeans by the same state, as during the fighting between Free French and Vichy forces during World War II, when Senegalese Tirailleurs, for instance, were expected to kill each other in Gabon and Syria on behalf of differing military incarnations of la Patrie.
Laborers and Civilians
Nor was this excessive loss of life restricted to African combatants. In remote areas where food was scarce and the transportation infrastructure rudimentary, as in East Africa during World War I, losses among military laborers (whose welfare was often viewed as being less important than that of more highly prized soldiers) were sometimes greater still.33 To these should be added the losses among civilians, especially in active theaters of operations such as East Africa during World War I and Ethiopia during World War II. Whether victimized by gas attacks by their racist enemies, by the depredations of marauding armies murdering villagers and stealing food, or by the incompetence of colonial administrators, as in Ruanda-Urundi, where the prioritization of export over subsistence crops contributed to famine in 1943–1944, the World Wars often had calamitous consequences for Africans. Indeed, summarizing the immediate war-time legacy of European colonization, one German officer serving in Kamerun in 1915 remembered, “Behind us we leave destroyed fields, ransacked magazines and, for the immediate future starvation.”34
In contrast with other peripheral areas, such as Asia and North America, engulfed in these Eurocentric global conflicts, the historiography of the World Wars pays scant attention to Africa. This is largely due to the historical narrative the victorious powers sought to present. In interpreting these wars for mass audiences as elementary struggles between good and evil, the liberal (but also imperial “white” supremacist) democracies sought to portray themselves in a favorable light, fighting to protect fundamental human freedoms in contrast with their barbaric, militaristic, antidemocratic—and, above all, after the Holocaust—racist enemies. In this narrative, the ruthless appropriation of African lives, labor, and resources—all too reminiscent of an earlier era of European slave trading, and a more recent one of imperial conquest and exploitation by autocratic colonial regimes, which gave their subject populations virtually no voice in these decisions—did not fit well.35 Nor did the supremacist actions of the Allies near the end of these wars—as in the British insistence in 1945 that Italians, unlike Germans, not be held accountable as war criminals for gassing Ethiopians, the Free French blanchiment of their Army in late 1944 to maintain the fiction that metropolitans instead of Africans were primarily responsible for the French wartime resistance, and the American insistence that Africans be removed from all Free French units liberating Paris—resonate with this narrative.36
Yet the mass mobilizations of societies entailed in waging industrial wars on a global scale usually gave rise to exaggerated initial expectations about their favorable outcomes, as well as hopes, repeatedly expressed by political leaders, that the sacrifices made during these conflicts foreshadowed changes signifying a better future. No matter how muted, this was no less true in Africa than elsewhere, where the fiction of primacy predicated on pale pigmentation came under ever-increasing challenge.
During World War I, European citizenship, and with it civic equality, was extended to some West Africans in exchange for military service for the first time. African and African American leaders also convened in Paris in 1919 at the First Pan-African Congress to contemplate ways of eventually extending similar civic rights for all Africans, as well as their North American and Caribbean kinsmen in the Atlantic diaspora. After World War II, in light of vague British and French pledges to redefine postwar relations with their African colonial subjects, as well as the reclamation of Ethiopian sovereignty, a new generation of African leaders met at the Fifth Pan-African Congress in Manchester in 1945 and called for an end to European rule and the granting of African independence. Activists among returning veterans who, defying European authorities intent on intimidation and reasserting the prewar colonial status quo, asserted their right as combatants to have their voices heard, echoed this new mentality. Though repeatedly massacred for their protests—prisoners of war (POWs)returning to Senegal at Thiaroye in 1944, at Sétif on V‑E Day in Algeria in 1945, and in Accra among ex-servicemen demonstrating for promised pensions in the Gold Coast (Ghana) in 1948—their uncompromising insistence on their basic human rights exhibited an assertiveness that within little more than a decade would contribute to the restoration of African sovereignty throughout most of the continent. As one veteran recalled: “If we hadn’t fought, if we the [African] people hadn’t fought in western wars and been taken overseas and asserted our human dignity, we wouldn’t be regarded today as anything.”37
On a personal level, however, most veterans received very little for their wartime sacrifices. Although colonial authorities sometimes tried to coopt veterans—especially if they were former NCOs, spoke European languages, and might serve as intermediaries—into a buffer supporting imperial rule by offering preferential treatment, pensions, and jobs, this was rare and affected only the fortunate few. Far more often, veterans returned to their communities with a broader view of the world, perhaps a bit of newly acquired status within their respective societies, but little else. Most of the rank and file never learned European languages beyond basic commands; pensions, if they were received at all, which was rare in most of Africa, were invariably inadequate and insulting; and medical attention was usually lacking. Those whose lives had been most distorted by their wartime service—the invalids—were generally most embittered by their fate. But nearly all combatants suffered from serious maladies or debilities—gas in their lungs, ringing and premature deafness in their ears from high explosives, shell shock or combat fatigue (or posttraumatic stress disorder)—that differentiated them in extreme cases from others by their mentally unstable and sometimes violent behavior that, at a minimum, plagued them with distressing nightmares for the rest of their lives.38
Of course, as the veterans, their loved ones, and their communities knew all too well, not all soldiers and laborers coerced into military service during these wars returned. These men seldom had a choice in the matter of their enlistment, were compelled to fight in conflicts they did not understand, and were sacrificed in wars that were not theirs, by Europeans who had long forgotten their names, if they were ever known. Remembered only in the thoughts of those who had known and cared for them, their interpretation of the enduring meaning of these wars for Africans is no less compelling: “I don’t know whether anything lasting [resulted] from the war,” declared the tirailleur Mahmout Demba, “but [I do know] that no one can replace a human life.”39
Discussion of the Literature
The historiography of Africans in the World Wars has undergone major transformations during the past four decades and continues to evolve. The hagiography of the colonial era—marginalizing Africa’s significance in the fighting, while emphasizing the loyalty, devotion to duty (and to their officers), and the civilizing benefits of African service in European armies—gradually ended after the termination of European rule in the 1960s. Thereafter, the recreation of independent African states; the African American Black Power movement in the United States insisting on academic reform; and the introduction of Africa-oriented curriculums in African, European, and North American universities gradually transformed Eurocentric narratives about the World Wars into ones exploring the multifaceted dimensions of African service beyond colonial stereotypes.
This was an incremental process. Initial forays into the written archives conducted in the late 1960s and 1970s by distinguished scholars such as Michael Crowder and Marc Michel (see Further Reading), among others, focused on the political, military, and economic aspects of these conflicts in the British or French colonies. Due largely to the “fifty-year rule” then in effect restricting access to public records, more attention was devoted to World War I than to World War II in these pioneering studies, which established the dimensions of wartime recruitment (and often resistance to it), as well as the unfolding of military campaigns involving Africans either at home or abroad. These efforts culminated in the 1977 and 1984 symposia at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) devoted to broader assessments of World Wars I and II, respectively. Papers from the first gathering were subsequently published in a special issue on “World War One and Africa” in The Journal of African History (1978), and eventually in 1986–1987 two books from MacMillian Press followed, Africa and the First World War (edited by Melvin Page); and Africa and the Second World War (edited by Richard Rathbone and David Killingray).40
With the political and military foundations for discussion laid, beginning in the 1990s African historians began to focus increasingly on the social consequences of the World Wars. This new orientation reflected the broader social and cultural emphasis of African history as an academic discipline, as well as the shift away from old-school European “guns and drums” military history. Focusing on African soldiers or military laborers instead of their commanders, often incorporating “views from below” provided by oral histories and traditions, and supported by Heinemann’s Social History of Africa Series, a succession of important new studies appeared. These included: Myron Echenberg’s Colonial Conscripts (1991); Nancy Lawler’s Soldiers of Misfortune (1992); Joe Lunn’s Memoirs of the Maelstrom (1999); and Timothy Parsons’s The African Rank and File (1999).41
Since then, studies of Africans in the World Wars have branched out in several directions. New areas and different colonial experiences—most notably in Michele Moyd’s Violent Intermediaries (2014) assessing the Schutztruppe in German East Africa; and Ian Campbell’s The Addis Ababa Massacre (2017) examining Ethiopian repression by Italian Fascists—have been added. More fully developed analysis of social themes posed earlier—notably Gregory Mann’s Native Sons (2006) inquiring into the role of veterans in West Africa; and Richard Fogarty’s Race and War in France (2008) exploring attitudes toward race, language, religion, sex, and French citizenship in the Colonial Army—have appeared. In addition, assessments of the consequences of European pseudo-scientific racism, not only in the colonial societies or armies in which Africans were recruited or served but also in combat at the hands of their adversaries—and most compellingly in Raffael Scheck’s Hitler’s African Victims (2006)—have entered the picture.42
At the opposite extreme from these more highly focused studies, broader synthetic assessments about the significance of the World Wars have also been forthcoming. Hew Strachan’s The First World War in Africa (2004), one volume in his multi-volume study of the global conflict, not only accords more attention to hostilities there than previously but also places it firmly within its African historical context, suggesting, for instance, the impact of the World Wars was likely as significant as the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Revisiting the format of the initial SOAS symposia, Africa and World War II (2015, edited by Judith Byfield and colleagues) also offers a synthetic overview of current scholarship in the field.43
These new works also reflect significant changes taking place in scholarship about African military history. Aside from the World Wars, numerous recent studies have examined warfare and military institutions in post-independence Africa, during the colonial conquest, as well as in the pre-colonial era. Synthetic treatments of collective violence in Africa are also emerging, notably Richard Reid’s Warfare in African History (2012), which provides an overview of conflict throughout the continent but with special attention to the pre-colonial era and its long-term social and cultural significance.44 This process, encompassing now three generations of African scholars insisting on the importance of their respective fields, recently culminated in the publication of the Journal of African Military History (2017). In short, the history of the World Wars (and, more generally, of conflict in Africa) have ceased to be marginalized and have become mainstream.
Oral History/Traditions Archives:
ATMF: Archives of Traditional Music and Folklore, Indiana University, Bloomington.
ANS: Archives nationales du Sénégal, Dakar
ENA: Ethiopian National Archives, Addis Ababa
KNA: Kenya National Archives, Nairobi
NAG: National Archives Ghana, Accra
NASA: National Archives South Africa, Arcadia (Pretoria)
IWM: Imperial War Museum, London
NAK: National Archives: Colonial Office, War Office, Foreign Office, Kew (London)
MAN: National Army Museum, London
RH: Rhodes House, Oxford
AG: Archives de la Guerre, Service Historique de l’Armée, Château de Vincennes
AN: Archives nationales, Paris
ANOM: Archives nationales, Section d’outre-mer, Aix-en-Provence
IF: Institut de France, Bibliothèque, Paris
BHA: Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Munich
GSA: Geheimes Staatsarchiv, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin-Dahlem
Barker, A. J. The Civilizing Mission: The Italo-Ethiopian War, 1935–36. London, U.K.: Cassell, 1968.Find this resource:
Byfield, Judith A., et al., eds. Africa and World War II. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.Find this resource:
Campbell, Ian. The Addis Ababa Massacre: Italy’s National Shame. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.Find this resource:
Echenberg, Myron. Colonial Conscripts: The Tirailleurs Sénégalais in French West Africa, 1857–1960. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1991.Find this resource:
Fogarty, Richard S. Race and War in France: Colonial Subjects in the French Army, 1914–1918. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.Find this resource:
Ginio, Ruth. French Colonialism Unmasked: The Vichy Years in French West Africa. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008.Find this resource:
Jackson, Ashley. The British Empire and the Second World War. London, U.K.: Hambledon Continuum, 2006.Find this resource:
Killingray, David. Fighting for Britain: African Soldiers in the Second World War. Woodbridge: James Currey, 2010.Find this resource:
Killingray, David, and Richard Rathbone, eds. Africa and the Second World War. London, U.K.: Macmillan, 1986.Find this resource:
Lunn, Joe. Memoirs of the Maelstrom: A Senegalese Oral History of the First World War. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1999.Find this resource:
Lunn, Joe. “War Losses (Africa).” In 1914–1918 Online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War. Edited by Ute Daniel et al. Berlin: Free University, June 22, 2015.Find this resource:
Mann, Gregory. Native Sons: West Africans and France in the Twentieth Century. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.Find this resource:
Masson, Philippe. Histoire de l’armée français de 1914 à nos jours. Paris: Perrin, 2002.Find this resource:
Michel, Marc. L’appel à l’Afrique: Contributions et réactions à l’effort de guerre en A.O.F. (1914–1919). Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1982.Find this resource:
Moyd, Michelle R. Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2014.Find this resource:
Page, Melvin, ed. Africa and the First World War. London, U.K.: Macmillan, 1987.Find this resource:
Parsons, Timothy. The African Rank and File: Social Implications of Colonial Military Service in the King’s African Rifles, 1902–1964. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1999.Find this resource:
Scheck, Raffael. Hitler’s African Victims: The German Army Massacre of Black French Soldiers in 1940. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2006.Find this resource:
Strachan, Hew. The First World War in Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.Find this resource:
Thomas, Martin. The French Empire at War, 1940–1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.Find this resource:
Wieviorka, Olivier. Histoire du débarquement en Normandie: Des origins à la liberation de Paris (1941–1944). Paris: Seuil, 2007.Find this resource:
(1.) Even though the Ethiopian-Italian War of 1935–1941 temporally falls outside the conventional Eurocentric periodization of the beginning of World War II in 1939, from the standpoint of Africa’s engagement in the conflict, as well as the struggle against Fascist aggression, it is essential, along with the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, to view the war in this broader context. On this point, see Hailu Habtu and Judith A. Byfield, “Fighting Fascism: Ethiopian Women Patriots 1935–1941,” in Africa and World War II, ed. Judith A. Byfield et al. (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 383–400.
(2.) As the British military historian John Keegan observed about World War I, casualty figures are notoriously unreliable. However, the accounting of African losses during the World Wars was even more imprecise than elsewhere. The military and civilian bureaucracies that compiled such records were frequently rudimentary and inexact; definitions of military casualties (e.g., when “missing” statistics were reclassified as “dead”) varied between states; and estimating civilian losses, when reliable census data itself was frequently lacking, was still more problematic. These problems were sometimes compounded by two additional factors: when political calculations, seeking to minimize or maximize casualties, entered into play; and when the loss of African lives was not always deemed to be especially noteworthy by the Europeans themselves. The imprecise estimates that follow should be interpreted in this light.
(3.) For regional breakdowns of losses during World War I, see: Joe Harris Lunn, “War Losses (Africa),” in 1914–1918 Online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. Ute Daniel et al. (Berlin: Free University, June 22, 2015). World War II estimates are categorized as follows: French North (three hundred thousand) and West/Equatorial Africa (two hundred thousand) provided five hundred thousand soldiers, of whom at least forty thousand died. British East (three hundred thousand) and West (two hundred thousand) Africa supplied five hundred thousand soldiers, of whom about fifteen thousand were killed in action. In addition, British South Africa recruited about eighty-five thousand African laborers, while in North Africa, by 1942 Egypt increased the size of its army to about one hundred thousand men, who served primarily as non-combatant logistical support troops. The Belgian Congo raised about forty thousand soldiers, but famines, exacerbated by wartime requisitioning, cost fifty thousand civilian lives in Ruanda-Urundi (Rwanda and Burundi) and twenty thousand in Portuguese Cape Verde. Italy raised about 260,000 soldiers in East Africa, of whom about forty thousand were killed. Ethiopia’s army may have recruited eight hundred thousand men in 1936, and perhaps three hundred thousand guerillas participated in the resistance during the next five years. About 375,000 combatants and resisters were killed or executed, and perhaps 380,000 civilians also died, primarily from famine. See, respectively, for French West Africa: Myron Echenberg, Colonial Conscripts: The Tirailleurs Sénégalais in French West Africa, 1857–1960 (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1991), 87–88; and for French North Africa: Philippe Masson, Histoire de l’armée français de 1914 à nos jours (Paris: Perrin, 2002), 251–276; and Olivier Wieviorka, Histoire du débarquement en Normandie: Des origins à la liberation de Paris (1941–1944) (Paris: Seuil, 2007), 108–181. For British Africa, see: David Killingray, Fighting for Britain: African Soldiers in the Second World War (Woodbridge: James Currey, 2010), 1–11, 35–81; and Timothy Parsons, “The Military Experiences of Ordinary Africans in World War II,” in Africa and World War II, ed. Judith A. Byfield et al. (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 3–23. On the Belgian Congo and Portuguese Cape Verde, see: Dantès Singiza, La famine Ruzagayura (Rwanda, 1943–44): Causes, consequences et reactions des authorités (Teveuren: Royal Museum of Central Africa), 92–94; and Carolyn A. Brown, “African Labor in the Making of World War II,” in Africa and World War II, ed. Judith A. Byfield et al., (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 43–70. Italy recruited 260,000 troops from Eritrea, Somaliland, Libya, and occupied Ethiopia; about forty thousand died between 1935–1941. See: A. J. Barker, The Civilizing Mission: The Italo-Ethiopian War, 1935–36 (London, U.K.: Cassell, 1968), 224–256. Ethiopia is a special case because of the political implications of these casualty figures, the enormous discrepancy between contemporary official Italian Fascist and Ethiopian estimates, and the certainty that the former represents significant underestimates, while the latter may (or may not) be inflated. I have adopted the Ethiopian estimates accepted by historians such as A. J. Baker and Angelo Del Boca. Recent scholarship suggests that the scale of losses indicated in the Ethiopian records are likely close to the truth; see especially, Ian Campbell, The Addis Ababa Massacre: Italy’s National Shame (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). For Italian Fascist estimates, which numbered Ethiopian battle deaths at sixteen thousand, see: Franco Antonicelli, Trent anni di storia italiana, 1915–1949 (Torino: Guilio Einaudi, 1961), 133.
(4.) Military historians consider the limit of sustained wartime mobilization in agrarian societies to be about 3 percent of the population. These levels have only rarely been achieved and in extraordinary circumstances, such as during the Punic Wars. See Gwynne Dyer, War (New York, NY: Crown, 1985), 44.
(5.) See Lunn, “War Losses (Africa).” Barker suggests that 7 percent of Ethiopia’s pre-1935 population perished during the 1935–1941 war (The Civilizing Mission, 292–293). Four-and-a-half percent is more likely as an upward limit, but this is still more than three times the losses suffered by the Italians, British, or French during the war and only surpassed by the Germans (about 8.2 percent). The apparent parallels between the levels of conflict and destruction in East Africa during World Wars I and II also warrants further study. In both the German East African and Ethiopian war zones, the various belligerents mobilized over 1,250,000 soldiers or military laborers. In both areas, civilian fatalities probably approached four hundred thousand, primarily from famine or diseases prompted by malnutrition. Fatalities among soldiers and military laborers in Ethiopia were, however, likely more than twice as high as in East Africa in 1914–1918 (see note 3).
(6.) Joe Lunn, Memoirs of the Maelstrom: A Senegalese Oral History of the First World War (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1999), 45–50; and Killingray, Fighting for Britain, 1–11, 35–81.
(7.) Judith A. Byfield, “Producing for the War,” in Africa and World War II, ed. Judith A. Byfield et al. (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 24–42. Perhaps as many as fifty thousand Rwandans died of starvation and malnutrition because of Belgian colonial authorities prioritizing export crops over subsistence farming between October 1943 and December 1944. See: Singiza, La famine Ruzagayura, 92–94.
(9.) Strachan, First World War, 19–60.
(10.) Lunn, “War Losses (Africa).”
(12.) Lunn, Memoirs of the Maelstrom, 142–147; and Lunn, “War Losses (Africa), sec. 2, Table 1.”
(13.) David Omissi, Indian Voices from the Great War (London, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan, 1999).
(14.) German diplomatic efforts to persuade Fascist Spain to enter the war on the Axis side, which was a prerequisite for military operations against Gibraltar, collapsed in October 1940. See John Keegan, The Second World War (New York, NY: Viking Penguin, 1990), 88–102.
(15.) Barker, The Civilizing Mission, 224–256.
(16.) Campbell estimates 18 to 20 percent of the city’s population were murdered in three days of violence (The Addis Ababa Massacre), 301–334.
(17.) These estimates of wartime losses are derived from official Ethiopian figures presented at the Paris Conference of Ministers ending the war with Italy in 1947. See Barker, The Civilizing Mission, 292–293. Though perhaps exaggerated in some categories, they are accepted by most historians either as legitimate or with minor revisions, and are likely much closer to being accurate than are the underestimates presented by the Italian Fascist regime, deliberately seeking to minimize the loss of life that occurred. See also note 3.
(18.) Timothy Parsons, The African Rank and File: Social Implications of Colonial Military Service in the King’s African Rifles, 1902–1964 (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1999), 13–52; Ashley Jackson, The British Empire and the Second World War (London, U.K.: Hambledon Continuum, 2006), 175–180; and Killingray, Fighting for Britain, 35–81, 141–178.
(19.) Keegan, The Second World War, 320–343; and Martin Thomas, The French Empire at War, 1940–1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 80–115.
(20.) Thomas, French Empire, 15–210; and Masson, Histoire de l’armée français, 251–326. Also see Ruth Ginio, French Colonialism Unmasked: The Vichy Years in French West Africa (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008).
(21.) Echenberg, Colonial Conscripts, 87–105; Driss Maghraoui, “The Moroccan ‘Effort de Guerre’ in World War II,” in Africa and World War II, ed. Judith A. Byfield et al. (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 89–108; and Raffael Scheck, Hitler’s African Victims: The German Army Massacre of Black French Soldiers in 1940 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 17–80.
(22.) Killingray, Fighting for Britain, 141–178.
(23.) Thomas, French Empire, 15–210; and Masson, Histoire de l’armée français, 277–326.
(24.) Cited in Lunn, Memoirs of the Maelstrom, 42.
(25.) On recruitment, see: Michelle R. Moyd, Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2014), 36–87; Lunn, Memoirs of the Maelstrom, 33–58; Killingray, Fighting for Britain, 35–81; and Parsons, “The Military Experiences,” 3–23. On revolts, especially in French West Africa—in Bélédougou in 1915 and Upper Volta in 1916—see: Marc Michel, L’appel à l’Afrique, 54–57, 100–116.
(26.) Cited in Joe Lunn, “Kande Kamara Speaks: An Oral History of the West African Experience in France, 1914–1918,” in Africa and the First World War, ed. Melvin Page (London, U.K.: Macmillan, 1987), 36. On historical comparisons of enslavement and recruitment, see Lunn, Memoirs of the Maelstrom, 45–50; and Killingray, Fighting for Britain, 35–82.
(27.) Dyer, War, 44. See note 4.
(28.) Richard S. Fogarty, Race and War in France: Colonial Subjects in the French Army, 1914–1918 (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 202–229; Ruth Ginio, “African Soldiers, French Women, and Colonial Fears during and after World War II,” in Africa and World War II, ed. Judith A. Byfield et al. (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 324–338; and Tyler Stovall, “The Color Line Behind the Lines: Racial Violence in France during the Great War,” American Historical Review 103, no. 3 (1998): 737–769.
(29.) Fogarty, Race and War in France, 55–168; and Parsons, The African Rank and File, 53–89.
(30.) Lunn, Memoirs of the Maelstrom, 137–147; and Parsons, “The Military Experiences,” 12.
(31.) John Keegan, The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme (London, U.K.: Penguin, 1983), 290–344.
(32.) Scheck, Hitler’s African Victims, 17–80.
(33.) Lunn, “War Losses (Africa),” sections 3 and 5; Tables 3, 4 and 6.
(34.) Ludwig Deppe, Mit Lettow-Vorbeck durch Afrika (Berlin: Melchior Verlag, 1919), 393, cited in Strachan, First World War, 95.
(35.) Parsons, “The Military Experiences,” 3–23.
(36.) Winston Churchill, concerned about potential parallels with Britain’s imperial past, opposed prosecuting Italian Fascists as war criminals for their atrocities in Ethiopia; Charles DeGaulle authorized the “whitening” of French units once metropolitan recruits were available to replace African veterans; and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff, General Walter Bedell Smith, insisted that Free French units liberating Paris be purged of African troops. See, respectively: Campbell, The Addis Ababa Massacre, 333–349; Echenberg, Colonial Conscripts, 98–99; and Wieviorka, Histoire du débarquement en Normandie, 180–181.
(37.) Kande Kamara, cited in Lunn, “Kande Kamara Speaks,” 48.
(38.) Gregory Mann, Native Sons: West Africans and France in the Twentieth Century (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006), 108–145; Timothy Parsons, “No Country Fit for Heroes: The Plight of Disabled Kenyan Veterans,” in Africa and World War II, ed. Judith A. Byfield et al. (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 127–146; and Lunn, Memoirs of the Maelstrom, 223–235.
(39.) Mahmout Demba, cited in Lunn, Memoirs of the Maelstrom, 234.
(40.) “World War One and Africa,” special issue, Richard Rathbone and David Killingray, eds., The Journal of African History (19, 1, 1978); Melvin Page, ed., Africa and the First World War (London, U.K.: Macmillan, 1987); and Richard Rathbone and David Killingray, eds., Africa and the Second World War (London, U.K.: Macmillan, 1986).
(41.) Echenberg. “Colonial Conscripts,” in Soldiers of Misfortune, ed. Nancy Lawler (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1992); and Lunn, “Memoirs of the Maelstrom,” in The African Rank and File, ed. Parsons.
(42.) Moyd, Violent Intermediaries; Campbell, The Addis Ababa Massacre; Mann, Native Sons; Fogarty, Race and War in France; and Scheck, Hitler’s African Victims.
(44.) Richard Reid. Warfare in African History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).