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Feb 5 Lecture W&S in Africa.pdf

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Wilfrid Laurier University
David Olivier

War and Society in Africa February 5, 2013 Lecture Africa and WWI: The War in Africa▯ ▯ Africans let the war at home. ▯ In various ways Africans also served in the war in Western Europe (Next class)▯ ▯ The Europeans maintained control over their colonial territories by making significant use of africans themselves.▯ • This includes arming africans.▯ The British, French Germans, Belgians all have various formations/units that they create out of Africans. They wind up becoming ‘guardians of the empire’ expet in Southwest German Africa in 1905-6▯ ▯ The WWI saw Euros and Africans fighting together in both Africa and Europe and changes the perceptions and expectations of each other. ▯ ▯ The 1 British soldier to fire on the enemy was of the West African Frontier force in August 1914 in the invasion in Togo▯ Paul von Lettow-Vorkeck fired the last shot in German East Africa. ▯ ▯ Africa is divided into 2 sides▯ • French and British, Belgian, and Germans▯ ▯ The original thinking had been if a war amoung the powers should break out in Europe, Africa should remain neutral in the event in a European War.▯ ▯ The Germans pushed for this neutrality to be observed and the British refused ▯ ▯ ▯fricans were less enthusiastic about the war compared to Europe▯ There were 2 fears in the event of a war in the state of Africa▯ 1. The notion of white European fighting another white European would reduce the over all status of Europeans in Africa. Made them less the true masters of the world apparently ▯ 2. Those tribes that had recently been crushed or pacified would view this as an opportunity for new violence.▯ ▯ These fears proved unjustified, the war tended to foster collaboration rather than were more about collaboration▯. The relationship between European and their colonies ▯ There is also a byproduct of the war and its embryonic in nature and start to create a new class of African elites. A very small number but a group of Africans have received post secondary education, have adopted Western habits and cultural and social values, urbanized live in cities, and they are politically aware. ▯ War and Society in Africa February 5, 2013 Lecture They have some understanding on how political system works, and the colonial possessions. Going to universities has exposed them to philosophical beliefs and other popular thinkers.▯ ▯ However, this is a small group and generally this is a group with little to no influence. But it will be a start to see more Africans to formulate their own ideas about the positions and become politically aware of their positions. ▯ ▯ 2 million men served as soldiers or laborers and that some 200,000 were Killed in action or died. This is a war that is fought on foot. The transportation systems are primitive and railways do not go very far. No system of roads.▯ ▯ Have to make use of water ways which are difficult. Need to rely on beaten path. Marching was hard work.▯ ▯ Those who served in the war were porters/ carriers for supplies. Essentially armies working inland were being supplied by a human chain, goods being carried on people’s backs.▯ ▯ Estimated that campaigns in Western Africa took 2 or 3 carriers for each soldier serving in the field. In east africa the distance between the supply and army was further and estimated 4-5 carriers/soldier. The majority of these carriers were conscripted.▯ ▯ There are 2 possible solutions to deal wit deserting carriers▯ 1. Put carriers on a fixed route. After travel from A-B you can go home as long as you come back tomorrow▯ 2. Take carriers from one region and put to work in a new completely different region▯ ▯ There are some draw backs to #2. Being moved to a new region they are not used to the foods, there are no immunities to diseases in the new region. More are getting sick and dying.▯ ▯ The biggest different between the War in Africa and the War in Europe.▯ Artillery in Africa was nonexistent unlike the War in Europe. ▯ • This is due to the fact because people are carrying things, field guns are too even even when disassembled. 1 field gun takes 300 men to carry it without any bullets. This is simply inefficient. The majority of these weapons carried are machine guns▯ The armies that were the best established were the Germans. Known as the Schutztruppe was a formation where they had European Officers and African Soldiers (Askaris) and were fairly well Paid.▯ ▯ The Askaris could travel with wives and children. In some ways these armies resemble what we see in Early Modern Europe in the 15 -17 centuries. Tied to long supply chains and 2-4 help one soldier to be supplied and families are with them. ▯ War and Society in Africa February 5, 2013 Lecture Allies intention is to get all the colonial possessions the First to get captured is TOGO. It takes three weeks for togo land to fall to the Allies. ▯ ▯ There is one important outcome of Togo. ▯ ▯ The state of global communications is very unlike ours. The majory of communications were conducted through telephone and telegraph these require underground cables. The contents are connected by underwater cables. ▯ Germans came to the conclusion that if there was a war their communications would be cut off and that is what happen their cables were cut. Germans had been working ob wireless radio as a substitute for underwater cables. ▯ ▯ They had built a powerful transmitters in Germany and build more in their colonies Afica and in Asia. This would allow them to keep in touch with the war ships over seas. But the only german colony in reach of that transmitter In Togo. In order for this communications they had to protect this transmitter the General in charge of protecting it did nothing and England destroyed it. This cut off all communications to their armies. ▯ German forces in Cameroon were short handed. Out of the forced in Cameroon there were 65 soldiers and sergeants were on vaction in Germany. There was also no way to get supplied into the area and even got desperate enough to make their own ammunition and scavenged fighting grounds.▯ ▯ British forces had to be on the defense and were good about it. They managed to hold out until Feb 1916.▯ ▯ German SouthWest Africa, this was an all white force. These were the territories that refused to arm blacks and fighting done by white soldiers. ▯ South African Forces would attack the German South West African territories. Thi
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