Involvement Of Africa In World War I

Theater of military operations, a supplier of stuff and human resources, Africa was involved in the World War I. This was a major turning point for the continent. It is clear that the multifaceted and important part from Africa to the war attempt of the colonial powers and peculiarly of France affected the result of the struggle. From 1914 to 1918, the colonial empires humanly and financially lend to the war attempt and economic attempt. Furthermore, the “ entire war ” forced the warring parties to fall back to their colonial imperium to supply manpower, natural stuffs and agricultural merchandises or manufactured. This coincides with an epoch in Africa marked by a series of catastrophes ( dearth, epidemics ) at a clip when the metropolis demands more of its settlements in stuff and human resources. War loans are really popular in the settlements.

Engagement of Africans

While for the other colonial powers ( England, Germany ) , the usage of military potency does non originate, France had to dunk into the Empire, peculiarly in AOF to confront the state of affairs of belligerence. On the Eve of the struggle, the AOF was composed of five civilian colonies and two military districts ( Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Dahomey and Upper Senegal and Niger, Mauritania ) .

Among the settlements are solicited chiefly Senegal, Sudan and Guinea

The bill of exchange fundamental law of armed black, issued in 1902 in France, is consolidated in the 1910s due to the increasing dangers in the European continent. For Colonel Mangin, “ La Force Noire ” was a response to falling birth rates and the autumn of the military. Particularly since the military “ Senegalese ” were the pillars of the formation of the imperium by their engagement in the conquering and mollification.

Before the eruption of war, France was able to mobilise, twelvemonth after twelvemonth, 16000 work forces reinforced by another 50,000 between 1915-1916 after the eruption of war. To increase the size, demographic toll was strengthened following the assignment of Blaise Diagne as Commissioner of the Republic in charge of enlisting of military personnels in black Africa. He managed to transcend the quota of 40,000 military personnels and can mobilise in fact 63 000 Africans.

Overall, the blood revenue enhancement materializes by 200,000 “ Senegalese ” who were mobilized to function in France during the First World War. Of the 135,000 military personnels in Europe at the service of France, 30,000 were killed. A continent-wide, over one million Africans were recruited. France emerges from the batch, although she accused Germany of its settlements militarize. Thus, 483,000 African soldiers were conscripted into the Gallic ground forces. In Congo, 260,000 porters were recruited to run into the runs in East Africa.

On balance, 1 % of Africa ‘s population, 2.5 million work forces participated straight or indirectly to the struggle. The war merely ended, was relayed by the Spanish grippe raged dramatic.


The enlisting was non confined chiefly to soldiers ( foot, for illustration ) deployed in the theatre but besides a staff used for assorted undertakings such as logistics, porters to transport weaponries and ammo, public plants. Therefore, in West Africa, the Numberss recruited were divided into two entities. While the first is deployed in military operations, the 2nd, called 2nd part of the quota is used in assorted occupations: building of roads, building sites, port, and agricultural supplies for the armyaˆ¦

In West Africa, the elites ( tribal heads and spiritual leaders, intellectuals ) have shown a trueness issue ; adhere to recruitment ( support, engagement, assorted parts ) .

Three enlisting methods were used to carry on the enlisting. The first relates to volunteerism ( free fad without external force per unit area ) . Between the exhilaration in this portion of subjects of the subjects of the Four Towns whose trueness was unwavering in order to retrieve Gallic citizenship. Volunteering should be qualified to the extent that enlisting was of a character frequently forced due to coercion.

The 2nd method of enlisting had recourse to autochthonal leaders ( traditional and spiritual ) in charge of presenting the work force required by the disposal.

The 3rd method, more of import, concerned the muster. In West Africa, a edict of 1912 made it mandatory military service for all Africans aged 20 to 28 old ages on the recommendation of General Mangin to represent a modesty force black B inexhaustible. Conscription was treated as an eruption of a “ existent adult male Hunt ” ( Governor Angoulvant ) . To counter the resistance, rebellions and rebellions of the people the governments had to fall back to Blaise Diagne.

Conscription occasioned the flight and the mass hegira of Africans from AOF ( 62000 ) to get away enlisting ( avoidance behaviour ) . At the disappearing of small towns, there are besides female young person to get away muster.

Military Operationss

The major military operations, basically, remain confined to the four German settlements: Togo, Cameroon, South West Africa and East Africa.

The Togo run, the shortest, ended with the resignation of German military personnels August 25, 1914 and the division of district between French and British.

In Cameroon, the British military that opposed the Gallic and Belgians to the German military personnels were longer ( August 1914 – February 1916 ) because of the enormousness and climatic conditions ( forest country ) and orographic ( rugged terrain, mountains ) . The encirclement which the Allies had to utilize all the major ports of the settlement ( Lome, Douala, Buea, Victoria, Swakopmund and Luderitz Bay ) to smother and weaken Cameroon, Togo and South West Africa ended in the licking of German and sharing between the Gallic and British.

The run in South-West Africa that pitted soldiers South Africans and Germans ended with the gaining control of the capital Windhoek in May 1915 and the German resignation in July, the day of the month from which the German settlement was occupied by the Union of South Africa.

In East Africa, the combat was much longer and the German Resistance ( 15,000 soldiers ) under the leading of General von Lettow-Vorbeck more ferocious despite the mobilisation of 150,000 military personnels by the Allies, composed of British, South African and Belgian operations military will besides go on until 1917.

Overall, the analysis of military operations reveals two major stages. The first, which lasted several hebdomads, is marked by the encirclement of the Allies at African ports under German domination.

The 2nd stage, which was to neutralize Egypt, the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of German settlements was to last 15 months. In entire, over 150,000 African soldiers and porters lost their lives during the World War I. The engagement of African military personnels on both sides performed in painful conditions of supply ( half a lb of rice / Nigerian soldier ) .