African History 5: French West African Independence
Today's video is about French African territories gaining their freedom. There's nothing like a rebellion or two to make you re-think occupying foreign lands. Luckily in France's case, these rebellions did the trick and French African territories gained their independence...mostly without bloodshed. Mostly.
|World History||African History|
You don’t go through occupation by an enemy and a major war fought on your soil without
being left with a serious mess on your hands. [Man with muddy hands]
So to help rebuild from their occupation, France decided to squeeze the African lands
they were currently occupying. [France squeezing Africa]
For France’s African colonies, this final squeeze was the one that…broke the baguette.
General strikes fired up across West Africa in 1947 and kept on blazing for a decade. [Explosion appears in West Africa]
Starting in 1954, Algerian communist rebels clashed with police.
And it got bloody.
Both rebels and police even set off homemade bombs in civilian areas. [Bomb explodes]
Mini-rebellions broke out in Cameroon and Mali.
But the French army stamped them out with concentration camps and targeted assassinations. [French Army removes Cameroon and Mali soldiers]
Still, these rebellions were a major wake-up call for France.
The flag of the Algerian Communist Party had the word…pain
…on it, which means…bread.
It’s kind of a giveaway that your colonial government is failing if one of the rebels’ [Waiter gives IOU to customer]
key promises is… actually feeding people.
In the end, France decided to break up with its colonies…or, more accurately, decided
to let them break up with France.
By popular election, a man named Charles De Gaulle became President in 1959. [Charles saluting]
De Gaulle was a lefty politician who had previously served as commander-in-chief of the Free French
Maybe feeling grateful for the sacrifices of the Free French Africans, or perhaps just
wanting to avoid another war, De Gaulle drew up plans to let West Africa go free.
It was like a freedom free-for all.
The Ivory Coast…
All became independent in 1960 and 1961, almost entirely without bloodshed or conflict. [African cities highlighted on map]
The French were definitely not total saints while this was going down.
They did jerky stuff… like loot all government buildings and take key infrastructure assets, [French looting government buildings]
such as power generators, on their way out.
But on the whole, this process was much healthier for everyone than violent rebellions. [Doctor in consultation with patient]