African Colonial Subjects during the World Wars European powers acquired colonies for exploitation of natural resources, psychological satisfaction of owning a vast land, and ruling massive number of uncivilized people there. In addition, colonies served as a large pool of manpower that was deployed during wars…
Unconditional possession of these colonies provided imperial powers with the manpower that kept the promise of making their rulers richer and stronger because of their natural resources and enabling them to wage war anywhere in the world (Anon, 2012). Europe rationalized its colonization of Africa as their moral duty to lift Africans from their primitive stage of civilization. Rulers built on the preoccupied ideas of people travelling to Africa and established the need to make African civilized. Europeans always saw African from their cultural prism, moreover, their preoccupation with skin color and physical attributes made these ideas even stronger (Anon, 2012).Therefore, even great contributions during the World War I and World War II could not win acknowledgement for colonial African soldiers. In an effort to rise above prejudice, this paper briefly explores the contributions of colonial African subjects during both of the World Wars. World War I World War I is considered to be truly a world war due to diverse military action and participation of people from five continents of the world. African colonized countries and subjects were specifically influenced by the results of WWI (AHA, n.d.).World War I imparted a profound and many-sided impact on colonies. The Balkan confrontation transformed into a general European war in mid-1914 and turned into an extra-European dimension because a few confronting states were considered to be the most powerful colonial powers. Just after the breakout of war, fights started in many parts of the world and most of the territories were conquered by the Entente power very soon. German African colonies were defended by African soldiers and German officers called 'Schutztruppen'. South Africa invaded the German South West Africa on behalf of the Entente powers that triggered problems for South Africa itself; however, 11,500 Anglophobe Boer people joined German side as a result of rebellion (Koller, 2008, p.111). The most prominent and early reaction was the anger that is raged throughout African colonies due to conscription of mostly young African colonial subjects into European armies. However, the war had even more critical consequences. African subjects came to know that their masters are nothing but ordinary humans like themselves. African subjects expected rewards and compensation from their rulers for providing services to them. The compensation was expected in the form of money, and social and constitutional changes that can transform their lives back home. It triggered a hope amongst African subjects and made them realize that they deserve to be treated in a better way. Educated African subjects followed President Wilson's invitation to acknowledge the government on the basis of their national determination. The term refers to the idea that people should be free in their respective political boundaries (AHA, n.d.). Colonialist Powers Mission During World War I, European empires conscripted nearly 192,000 Senegalese Tirailleurs from sub-Saharan Africa who were sent to the Western Front in Cameroon, Turkey, and Togo. In particular, the French prized their possession of troupes indigenes as their assault troop on their battle front. In this Great War, approximately 30,000 to 31,000 African subjects lost their lives, several others were wounded, and some returned to their colonies as disabled for life(Mann, 2006, pp.16-17). Moreover, the French had planned the recruitment of one ...
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