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HIST252: Modern Africa

Unit 5: Africa and World War I & II   World War I began as a European struggle between the Triple Entente (France, Great Britain, and the Russian Empire) and the Central Powers (the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Kingdom of Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire).  Many Europeans thought that the war would be over within six months, but instead, the war escalated into a world-wide conflict that claimed millions of lives over the course of five years.  Because Africa was dominated by the warring European alliances, conflict also spread to that continent.  The British and their allies clashed with German forces in German Togoland and Kamerun, in German Southwest Africa, and in German East Africa.  Africans were recruited—some voluntarily, many by force—to carry supplies for military campaigns in Africa and even to fight on European soil.  In this unit, you will examine how seemingly isolated conflicts among European countries both in Europe and in Africa spiraled into world war.  

The Treaty of Versailles, which formally ended World War I in 1919, mandated that Germany surrender its African colonies to the Allied powers.  While African representatives were denied access to the treaty negotiations, France, Great Britain, Belgium, and Portugal divided Germany’s African colonies between them.  To rebuild war-torn Europe, colonial governments intensified their efforts to control African populations and to extract resources from the continent.  Meanwhile, the experience of World War I led many Africans to question colonial rule.  Veterans of the war grew angry when they were denied the rights and privileges of citizenship in the French and British empires they had fought to defend.  The war also demonstrated that Europeans were not invulnerable.  As a result, nationalist sentiments began to take root in several countries, resulting in labor unrest, political protest, and dissatisfaction with African “puppet” rulers. Hence, this unit will demonstrate how the Treaty of Versailles perpetuated European imperialism in Africa while it simultaneously gave rise to increased frustration with colonial rule and the first signs of African nationalism.

The Second World War accelerated many of the processes set in motion by the First World War.  While Africans participated in World War II in Africa and around the world, the political impact of the war on the continent outweighed the material effects of the war.  Colonial governments expected a return to the status quo in the colonies after the war, and instead found Africans forming political organizations to express their aspirations to equality and self-governance across the continent.  The decade between 1945 and 1955 began with ambitious schemes for colonial economic development to aid European reconstruction, but it ended with colonialism on the brink of collapse in Africa.  A focal point of this unit, then, is the ways in which Africans responded to post-war colonial policies.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 22.0 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 5.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.1.1: 1.0 hour

☐    Subunit 5.1.2: 1.0 hour

☐    Subunit 5.1.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.1.4: 2.0 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2: 5.0 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2.1: 1.0 hour

☐    Subunit 5.2.2: 0.5 hour

☐    Subunit 5.2.3: 1.0 hour

☐    Subunit 5.2.4: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2.5: 1.0 hour

☐    Subunit 5.3: 10.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3.1: 0.5 hour

☐    Subunit 5.3.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3.3: 8.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.4: 1.0 hour

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Discuss the impact of World War I on Africa’s colonial map.
  • Analyze the participation of Africans in World War I and II in Africa and other theaters around the world.

  • Identify and describe the political and economic impact of World War I and II on African societies.
  • Trace the development of increased political resistance in the aftermath of the world wars.
  • Evaluate the significance of World War II for African independence movements.
  • Differentiate between various socio-political responses to colonialism.

5.1 World War I in Africa   5.1.1 Escalating Tensions in Africa   5.1.1.1 Fashoda Incident   - Reading: West Chester University: Dr. Jim Jones’s “The Fashoda Incident” Link: West Chester University: Dr. Jim Jones’s “The Fashoda Incident” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this entire text linked here.  This reading, written by Dr. Jim Jones for undergraduates at the West Chester University of Pennsylvania, will help you to understand how competition for territory in Africa heightened the risk of war between European powers.
 
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5.1.1.2 Morocco (Agadir) Crisis   - Reading: Mt. Holyoke University: Dr. Vincent Ferraro’s “The Morocco Crisis of 1911” and The New York Times: “More Warships for Morocco” Links: Mt. Holyoke University: Dr. Vincent Ferraro’s “The Morocco Crisis of 1911” (HTML) and The New York Times: “More Warships for Morocco” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire article written by Dr. Ferraro.  Then, please download the PDF “More Warships for Morocco” by clicking on “View Full Article” on The New York Times website linked here, and read this newspaper article from July 1911 to get a sense of how the Agadir crisis threatened a full-blown war.
 
The Agadir Crisis began when Germany dispatched the warship Panther to the Moroccan port of Agadir.  Although Morocco was an independent state, France believed its “sphere of influence” was being threatened by Germany.  Colonial possessions in Africa became bargaining chips as Germany and France tried to negotiate a settlement.  If the Fashoda Incident threatened to drive France and Great Britain apart, the Agadir Crisis pushed them together to oppose German territorial ambitions.  German propaganda blamed Britain for “robbing” Germany of its rightful territories overseas.  
 
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5.1.2 Manifestations of World War I in Africa   - Reading: BBC World Services’ “The Story of Africa:” “World War I” and “The Aftermath”; St. Mary’s University: Dr. Wallace G. Mills’ “World War I and Its Effects” Links: BBC World Services’ “The Story of Africa:” “World War I” (HTML) and “The Aftermath” (HTML); St. Mary’s University: Dr. Wallace G. Mills’ “World War I and Its Effects” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read each of the BBC articles linked here.  Please also listen to the audio sections in the yellow boxes for the BBC articles; listen closely to “A Porter Recalls Being Sent to War” under the “Recruitment” subhead.  Then, read Dr. Mills’ lecture notes, paying special attention to the last section titled “Indirect Effects” to understand how the war changed African societies.  Note that this reading is relevant for subunits 5.1.2 and 5.1.3.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.  The St. Mary’s material above has been reposted with permission by Wallace G. Mills.  It can be viewed in its original form here (HTML).

  • Web Media: Wikimedia Commons’ version of Mehmet Berker’s “World War I in East Africa” and Wikipedia’s “Lettow’s Surrender” Link: Wikimedia Commons’ version of Mehmet Berker’s “World War I in East Africa” (HTML) and Wikipedia’s “Lettow’s Surrender” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Examine Berker’s detailed map of troop movements and battles in East Africa between 1914 and 1918.  Then, examine this anonymous African artist’s depiction of the surrender of the German commander in East Africa in “Lettow’s Surrender.”  Note that the armies of both sides are entirely African, except for the commanding officers.
     
    The war in West Africa was short, as German forces in Togoland and Cameroon were quickly overrun.  German forces in Southwest Africa (Namibia) surrendered in mid-1915, but in German East Africa (Tanzania), the war dragged on until the war in Europe ended in November 1918.  The first image linked here has been deposited by its creator, Mehmet Berker, in the Wikimedia Commons.  The second image by an anonymous artist is held by the National Museum of Tanzania and is reproduced on Wikipedia under the Creative Commons License.
     
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5.1.3 Africans in World War I   - Reading: BlackPast.org: Ali Bilow’s “Tirailleurs Senegalais” and World War I Document Archive: Emmott J. Scott’s The American Negro in the World War: “Chapter X” Links: BlackPast.org: Ali Bilow’s “Tirailleurs Senegalais” (HTML) and World War I Document Archive: Emmott J. Scott’s The American Negro in the World War: “Chapter X” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Bilow’s short article about the Tirailleurs Senegalais, the West African Riflemen who fought for France in both World Wars.  Then, read the sections titled “The Negro Soldiers of France and England” (pp. 117-123) of Scott’s book to see how white French and British officials viewed the service of African soldiers.
 
Emmott Scott’s book describes the performance of African-American soldiers during World War I, but this chapter emphasizes the contributions of black soldiers from the French and British empires.  In contrast to American and British military facilities, which were highly segregated, French officials could boast that “white and black wounded soldiers are cared for in the same hospital by the same personnel.”  As the French saw it, the response of Africans to military recruiting efforts proved the “prodigious faculty of assimilation” the French colonial system allegedly possessed.  BlackPast.org is a free web resource for African and African-American history maintained by scholars from around the world.  The World War I Document Archive is a non-profit association that provides free online access to public-domain materials about World War I.  Please note that additional readings for this subunit are listed under subunit 5.1.2.
 
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5.1.4 Consequences   5.1.4.1 Treaty of Versailles   - Reading: Yale Law School’s Lillian Goldman Law Library: The Avalon Project’s version of the “Treaty of Versailles, Article 22” Link: Yale Law School’s Lillian Goldman Law Library: The Avalon Project’s version of the “Treaty of Versailles, Article 22” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Scroll down the webpage linked here until you reach Article 22, and read the entire article 22 of the Treaty of Versailles.
 
This article of the Treaty of Versailles cedes all of Germany’s territories—including those in Africa—to France, Britain, and their allies.  The text suggests that because the colonies “are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world,” Britain, France, Belgium, and Portugal should be appointed as their protectors and rulers.
 
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  • Web Media: University of South Florida: Florida Center for Instructional Technology’s “Post-WWI Africa, 1920” Map Link: University of South Florida: Florida Center for Instructional Technology’s “Post-WWI Africa, 1920” Map (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Examine the key for this map (lower left corner), and identify German colonies that were assigned to other European countries.
     
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5.1.4.2 Nationalism   - Reading: BBC World Service’s “The Story of Africa:” “The Aftermath” and “Nationalism and Vision” Links: BBC World Service’s “The Story of Africa:” “The Aftermath” (HTML) and “Nationalism and Vision” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read “The Aftermath” in its entirety.  Then, read the sections titled “The Pan-African Vision” and “1919 – The First Pan-African Conference” in the “Nationalism and Vision” article to see how Africans responded to the end of the war and the peace negotiations.  Note that this reading will cover the material you need to know for subunits 5.1.4.2 and 5.2.1.
 
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  • Web Media: University of Massachusetts: Special Collections and University Archives’ “Du Bois: The Activist Life:” “Resolutions (page 1)” and “Notes for Du Bois’ Speech” Link: University of Massachusetts: Special Collections and University Archives’ “Du Bois: The Activist Life:” “Resolutions (page 1)” and “Notes for Du Bois' Speech” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the thumbnail for each document to open it in a new webpage.  Then, examine the two documents to see what W.E.B. Du Bois and the Pan-African Congress demanded at the peace negotiations.
     
    W.E.B. Du Bois, an American activist and intellectual, and other attendees of the Pan-African Congress did not seek an immediate end to colonialism; rather, they asked that European countries develop the natural resources of Africa “in trust for the natives,” calling on them to guard against “the exploitation of the natives and the exhaustion of natural resources.”  The Congress in effect called on colonial powers to live up to the idea of the “civilizing mission” that was used to legitimate the colonization of Africa.  “Du Bois: The Activist Life” is a presentation of documents concerning the life of W.E.B. Du Bois, hosted by the Special Collections and University Archive of the University of Massachusetts.
     
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5.2 African Responses to Colonialism between the Wars   5.2.1 Pan-Africanism   Note: Please see the reading for section5.1.4.2 for more information on this topic.  The reading illustrates the solidarity that emerged among black populations in other parts of the world; this solidarity and collective outcry against colonialism in the diaspora became important catalysts for political activism within African colonies.

  • Reading: St. Mary’s University: Dr. Wallace G. Mills’ “African Responses to Colonialism” Link: St. Mary’s University: Dr. Wallace G. Mills’ “African Responses to Colonialism” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above to access the text, and read Dr. Mills’ discussion on Pan-Africanism from the beginning through the section entitled “Significance of the Pan-African Movement.”  Major figures of the African diaspora that were instrumental for the development of the Pan-African ideal are explored.  It becomes apparent that Pan-Africanism, developed outside of Africa in response to colonialism and racial discrimination, played a key role in crystallizing African thought and anti-colonial activism, ultimately leading to independence.
     
    Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission by Wallace G. Mills.  It can be viewed in its original form here (HTML).

5.2.2 Négritude   - Web Media: YouTube: Professor Abiola Irele’s “Négritude” Link: YouTube: Professor Abiola Irele’s “Négritude” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Watch this short (3 minute 22 second) video clip to hear Professor Irele read a poem by Césaire Aiméin French and English.  Abiola Irele is a professor at Harvard University.  The Césaire Aimépoem read here was translated by Sunny Salibian.
 
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  • Reading: St. Mary’s University: Dr. Wallace G. Mills’ “Négritude” Link: St. Mary’s University: Dr. Wallace G. Mills’ “Négritude” (PDF)
      
    Instructions: Read the first three pages of Dr. Mills’ lecture notes (the introductory text and the sections entitled Léopold Senghor and Négritude) to understand the origins of négritude, its leading figures, and its impact on culture, politics, and philosophy.
     
    Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission by Wallace G. Mills.  It can be viewed in its original form here (HTML).

5.2.3 Trade Unionism and Economic Protest   - Reading: Time: “Business: Burnt Cocoa” Link: Time: “Business: Burnt Cocoa” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the brief 1938 article from Time magazine linked here.  This article describes how some Africans responded to their worsening economic situation
 
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  • Web Media: BBC World Service’s “The Story of Africa:” “Nationalism and Vision” Link: BBC World Service’s “The Story of Africa:” “Nationalism and Vision” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the text, and then listen to the two audio clips (in the yellow boxes) at the end to see how trade unions served as anti-colonial political platforms.  
     
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5.2.4 Socialism   - Reading: Michigan State University: African e-Journal Project: Institute of African Studies Research Review Vol. 7, No. 1-2 (1991): Kwadwo Afan-Gyan’s “Kwame Nkrumah, George Padmore, and W.E.B. Du Bois” Link: Michigan State University: African e-Journal Project: Institute of African Studies Research Review Vol. 7, No. 1-2 (1991): Kwadwo Afan-Gyan’s “Kwame Nkrumah, George Padmore, and W.E.B. Du Bois” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Select the hyperlink for the article by Afan-Gyan on this web page to access the PDF file.  Read this 10-page article in its entirety.
 
This article will help you to understand how the interaction of pan-African and socialist thinkers led to the development of nationalist movements in Britain’s West African colonies.  The African e-Journals Project, hosted by the Michigan State University African Studies Program and co-sponsored by the Association of African Universities and African Studies Association, provides free online access to back issues from 11 scholarly journals.
 
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  • Web Media: BBC World Service’s “The Story of Africa:” “Socialism” Link: BBC World Service’s “The Story of Africa:” “Socialism” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the text and listen to the two audio clips (in the yellow boxes) to see how socialist and communist ideologues approached the problem of colonialism in Africa, as well as how Africans appropriated socialist rhetoric to oppose colonialism.
     
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5.2.5 Nationalism   - Reading: Country Studies US: Helen Chapin Metz’s (ed.) Nigeria: A Country Study: “Emergence of Nigerian Nationalism” Link: Country Studies US: Helen Chapin Metz’s (ed.) Nigeria: A Country Study: “Emergence of Nigerian Nationalism” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this text to see how Nigerians formed political organizations and began to agitate for self-rule.
 
This case-study illustrates the diverse origins of nationalist politics in colonial Africa.  In Nigeria, religious movements, ethnic language and cultural associations, trade unions, educational groups, and a host of other organizations turned local complaints—like demands for more education, or better health and sanitation services—into regional and national anti-colonial sentiment.  The Country Study series, hosted online by CountryStudies.us, was published by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress to provide background information on the geography, history, and current events in countries around the world.
 
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5.3 World War II in Africa   5.3.1 The War in Africa   - Web Media: CriticalPast.org: “Benito Mussolini and His Troops Invade Ethiopia” and The National Archives: World War II: “Mediterranean & North Africa 1940-1945” Interactive Map Links: CriticalPast.org: “Benito Mussolini and His Troops Invade Ethiopia” (Adobe Flash) and The National Archives: World War II: “Mediterranean & North Africa 1940-1945” (Adobe Flash) Interactive Map
 
Also available in:

[Mp3](http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/worldwar2/theatre-assets/mediterranean/mediterranean-1940-45.mp3)  
 [Transcript
(HTML)](http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/worldwar2/theatres-of-war/mediterranean/1939/transcript.htm)  
    
 Instructions: Watch the 6-minute video clip from CriticalPast.org
for an overview of how Italy’s invasion of Ethiopian led to World
War II in Africa. Then, click the “play” button on the National
Archive’s interactive map to see a brief overview of events in the
North African theater of World War II.  
    
 This clip is drawn from a US propaganda film made in 1942, [*The
World at War*.](http://www.archive.org/details/WorldatW1942)(Adobe
Flash) This segment accurately portrays Emperor Haile Selassie’s
failed efforts to save his nation through diplomacy, although the
film negatively portrays Ethiopians as weak and simple tribesmen, to
build sympathy with American audiences.    
    
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displayed on the webpage above.  Please note that the video *The
World at War* in its entirety is in the public domain.

5.3.2 Africans in World War II   - Web Media: BBC World Service’s The Story of Africa: “World War II” and “Africa’s Forgotten Soldiers” Links: BBC World Service’s The Story of Africa: “World War II” (HTML) and “Africa’s Forgotten Soldiers” (HTML and Windows Media Player)
 
Instructions: Read the “World War II” text, and listen to all of the audio clips describing the experience of Africans during World War II.  Then, read the “Africa’s Forgotten Soldiers” text, and listen to the audio clip (23 minutes) to hear first-hand accounts from Africans who fought in World War II.
 
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5.3.3 Consequences   5.3.3.1 Social Change   - Lecture: iTunes U: Stanford University: Frederick Cooper’s “Citizenship between Empire and Nation: France and French Africa 1945-60” Link: iTunes U: Stanford University: Frederick Cooper’s “Citizenship between Empire and Nation: France and French Africa 1945-60” (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to the lecture titled “Citizenship between Empire and Nation: France and French Africa 1945-60” (1:16:53 minutes) and select “View in iTunes.”   Listen to this entire lecture about the changing political status of Africans in France’s empire after World War II.  It is best to access this lecture by doing a search for the title within iTunes; type “Citizenship between Empire and Nation” in the search field and this lecture will be returned as the only search result.  Note that the material covered in this video lecture is also important for covering the topic outlined in subunit 5.3.3.2.
 
In this lecture, Frederick Cooper talks about how the nature of citizenship in the French Empire changed between 1945 and its collapse in West Africa in the early 1960s.  Cooper explains that African “subjects” became “citizens” and that they used the idea of citizenship in unexpected ways.  African leaders in French West Africa turned to nationalism only because France failed to deliver the political, social, and economic equality that came with citizenship. This lecture, available on iTunes U, is part of the Marta Sutton Weeks Distinguished Visitors series at the Stanford University Humanities Center.
 
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5.3.3.2 Economic Change   - Reading: School for International Training: Digital Collections: Julia Coyner Robinson’s “Tout Travail Doit Nourrir Son Homme: The Dakar-Niger Railroad and the 1947-1948 Strike in the Political and Labor History of Senegal” Link: School for International Training: Digital Collections: Julia Coyner Robinson’s Tout Travail Doit Nourrir Son Homme: The Dakar-Niger Railroad and the 1947-1948 Strike in the Political and Labor History of Senegal” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this entire article linked here.  Click on the “Download” button on the top right to read this PDF file.  This article discusses the pivotal railroad strike in French West Africa during 1947-1948.  Please note that the topic outlined in this subunit is also covered by the video lecture below subunit 5.3.3.1.
 
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5.4 World War II and the Road to Independence   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “WWII and the Road to Independence” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “WWII and the Road to Independence” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please download the short essay linked above and read the entire text.  The essay explores the role of World War II for the eventual independence of African colonies within the broader context of African resistance to colonialism.  The changing nature of African resistance is addressed in a chronological manner, illustrating the developmental nature of resistance.  Here, you will find that various events contributed to the re-shaping of resistance movements.  World War II was one such event that had a profound influence on African resistance and eventual independence.