African History 5.10: African Colonies in the First World War
By the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, almost every inch of Africa was colonized. There were a few inches that weren't, but those had already been pegged as spots for future Starbucks.
|World History||African History|
be a surprise that parts of it got dragged into the whole boondoggle.
“Boondoggle” being the polite way of describing the horrible violence of World War I. [Explosions going off on a map of the world]
In this epic age of imperialism and power-grabbing, European empires weren't exactly BFFs.
So one huge cause of World War I was growing tension between them. [German and France falling out]
European empires were basically like Ninja Turtles yelling at each other over the last
few scraps of African pizza. [Ninja turtles waving their arms in the air]
Tensions were high not only between Allied and Central Power countries, but also within
In fact, a world war almost kicked off a decade earlier in 1905 when the British and French
started going at it over part of the Sudan.
But…fortunately the world dodged that one. [Britain and France playing dodge ball with the world in the middle]
When European nations ran out of places to snatch up, they increasingly eyed each other’s [Guy drawing on a map with a highlighter]
As any Sith Lord will tell you, there’s not much else for a power-hungry empire to [Starwars characters shooting at a each other]
Germany only had a few poor colonies that were getting poorer…what with all that genocide. [People looking unhappy next to landfill]
To rev up their colonial game, the German government started building up a navy to rival [A german ship]
Britain was all like…don't you be threatening our overseas colonies, man…and tried to
build up an even bigger navy. [British ship appears]
Of course, France had to keep up with the Joneses, so they started militarizing their [French tank appears]
Then, in the midst of this trigger-happy environment, a Serbian resistance fighter in Sarajevo assassinated
Franz Ferdinand, Arch Duke of the massive Austro-Hungarian empire. [Franz Ferdinand is shot]
This gave everybody the excuse they needed to try out all those nifty navies and armies
they’d been building.
A great big war for Europe and with it, most of Africa. [German and British tanks shooting at each other]
Of all the tragic losses of life in World War I, the fighting in Africa was among the [Africa with an unhappy face]
And that’s saying a lot.
The majority of African soldiers were conscripted, meaning that they were forced to either join
the army or be arrested by the colonial governments.
The choice was fight and probably die, or go to prison and probably die. [Man is prison uniform picks up a gun]
And plenty of Africans chose to fight.
To add insult to injury, many Africans dragged into this situation were old enough to remember [Guy sat thinking]
being independent of European empires. [He has memories of happier times]
But now they were being made to fight other Africans to serve their brutal overlords. [The man is whipped and dragged away]
How sad is that.
Here’s hoping that one day history looks a little less like the Star Wars movies where [Starwars clone soldiers marching]
the Empire wins…