USM Open Source History Text: The World at War: World History 1914-1945

Introduction to Africa Under Colonial Rule: Politics and Race from 1914‐1939

This chapter focuses on Africa between 1914 and 1939, stopping at the doorstep of the Second World War. It begins by quickly reviewing the history of Africa before WWI, the period during which European powers carved up the continent, first at a conference table in Berlin and then on the ground as European armies, backed by African labor power and conscripts, established vast and brutal colonial domains.

Next, the chapter charts the effects WWI had on Africa. Both territorially and socioeconomically, the war played a huge role in shaping African life. The final part of the chapter will paint as full a portrait as possible of African life in the 1920s and early 1930s. It is in this period that we see an entrenchment of colonial systems of rule and the origins of a new‐style of African resistance movement, this time not dependent first and foremost of force.

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