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Africa and WWII. Military Actions in Africa Invasion of Ethiopia (and subsequently Libya and British Somaliland) by Italy British forces in Egypt fought.

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Presentation on theme: "Africa and WWII. Military Actions in Africa Invasion of Ethiopia (and subsequently Libya and British Somaliland) by Italy British forces in Egypt fought."— Presentation transcript:

1 Africa and WWII

2 Military Actions in Africa Invasion of Ethiopia (and subsequently Libya and British Somaliland) by Italy British forces in Egypt fought Italian and German forces in North Africa North African campaigns conceived of as connected to the Middle East rather than Sub-Saharan Africa

3 Occupied France and Its Empire In 1940, the colonial officials in French North and West Africa declared loyalty to Vichy government Officials in equatorial regions supported “Free France” government in exile Brazzaville temporarily capital of “Free France”

4 By 1943, all African colonial officials declared for “Free France” African soldiers constituted, at one point, more than half of the “Free French” army In 1944, the Brazzaville Conference met to determine France’s post-war imperial policy

5 African Soldiers Both British and French colonial officials actively recruited soldiers in Africa Unlike in WWI, Africans served as regular soldiers in the British armed forces African soldiers constituted, at one point, more than half of the “Free French” army At least 250,000 African soldiers under French command, 375,000 African soldiers under British command

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7 Wartime Production Increase in demand for raw materials -particularly significant was the fall of colonies in Southeast Asia to Japan Unlike in WWI, major government intervention in agriculture—including forced cropping and price ceilings By the end of the war, Britain owed its colonies hundreds of millions of pounds

8 Colonial Role Reversal? Europe faced rationing, bombings, etc. while Africa remained relatively well-fed and peaceful Occupied France was itself “colonized” to some extent by Germany Colonies were seen as a “safe” place, rather than a dangerous or exotic one The dependency between colony and metropole seemed to be reversed

9 African Engagement with War Aims African “middle class” well-informed about the course of the war, tended to agree with the basic principles on which it was based Atlantic Charter (1941): Churchill and Roosevelt agreed “to respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live…and to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them.

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11 The United Nations Replaced League of Nations in 1945, following a conference in San Francisco Influential American contingent tended to be ambivalent about colonialism Charter emphasized not simply responsible rule but also movement towards self-rule (although still without any clear timeline) 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights redefined international discourse

12 The United Nations Charter Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self- government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end: a. to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses; b. to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement;

13 Changing European Attitudes? Increased respect for African contributions? “Brazzaville Declaration” declared that the French Empire would remain united but would reform its political organization 1946 abolition of indigénat and corvée (forced) labor in French colonies 1947 move towards Indian independence a major precedent for the British Empire Political independence began to be imagined, but generally many decades in the future

14 An Exception: Portuguese Colonies 1926 coup brought Fascist government to power in Portugal Fascist gov’t believed African colonies were essential to Portugal’s stability and prosperity Post-WWII rule in Portuguese colonies became more draconian Surge in emigration to colonies

15 Another Exception: Southern Africa In South Africa,1948 election brought to power an administration grounded in racialism During the 1950s, a variety of apartheid legislation was put into place, grounded in the Population Registration Act, which categorized by race In Southern Rhodesia, white settlers actively resisted any British pressure to consider majority self-government In general, settler communities found themselves at odds with metropolitan trends

16 Post-War Dissatisfaction Many Africans felt their contributions to the war effort were insufficiently appreciated Others resented Europeans’ attempts to continue colonial rule largely unchanged Returning soldiers were often displeased with the situation they found at home—the situation at Thiaroye is a particular example

17 Post-War Strikes 1945 Lagos 1947 Dar es Salaam French West Africa

18 Strike Began among railway workers seeking a cadre unique (unified, non-racial pay scale) Persisted because of support from other sectors of society Mixed result, but remembered as a move towards independence

19 5 th Pan-African Congress Held in Manchester, England in 1945 (immediately following the end of the war) Attended by such African leaders as Jomo Kenyatta and Kwame Nkrumah Decided that political independence was the appropriate goal for Africa, although the timing and means were unclear


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