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Wednesday, April 26, 2017


First World War: Causes and Impact on Africa
The first world war was a purely imperialistic war due to its nature and the motives behind it. The war began on July 28, 1914, with the declaration of war by Austria-Hungary on Serbia and hostilities between the allied and central powers continued until the signing of the armistice on November 11, 1918. The war lasted four years, 3 months and 14 days.

The Short and Long Term Causes of the First World War
Analyse the short and long term causes of the first world war
The long and short term causes of the conflict were rooted deeply in European history as well as in the economic and political polices that prevailed on the continent after 1871, the year which marked Germany as a great power.

Germany organised the European balance of power and defeated France in the war of 1871 which caused France to view Germany as her arch rival. Such enmity facilitated World War One.

Long term causes
Formation of military alliance system/military camps: Imperialists European nations formed a military union to defend themselves and safeguard their interests against common enemies. They agreed to increase military camp members if any were attacked, they also agreed to fight together.

These military camps were formed after the unification of German in 1871 and were originated by Otto Von Bismarck. Germany was interested in forming the alliance because it wanted to isolate France in order to prevent it from seeking revenge after its defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1871.

Arms race / military preparedness / development of militarism: This was the competition of manufacturing military deadly weapons within the imperialists industrialised European nations who aimed to achieve the imperialists motives of their respective nations.

The armed race is symptomatic of the "security dilemma in international relations whereby the pursuit of national security increases the sense of insecurity among the neighboring states, a well known example of an arms race is the Anglo-German naval rivalry between 1900 and 1914.

Expansion of the German naval involving the construction of powerfully armed and heavily armored battleships was met with the launch of the British Dreadnought class of naval vessels after 1906.
After the unification Germany began to manufacture new weapons that were beyond her domestic needs. This made other countries to join the competition of manufacturing weapons, they increased their defense budget the number of troops which necessitated or motivated them to go to war hence the outbreak of world war in 1914.

Oversea conflicts/ fighting for colonies/ imperialist motives:The industrial revolution in Germany, France and Britain led to economic domination leading to the scramble for colonies in Asia, Africa and Balkans and caused an immense increase in the manufactures of each country and a consequent need for foreign markets.

The principal field for European policies of economic expansion was Africa which is where clashes occurred due to colonial interests.

Economic rivalry in Africa between France and Great Britain, and between Germany on one side and France and great Britain on the other, almost precipitated war in European and even South America between 1898 and 1914.

European balance of power: Every European country wanted to maintainmilitary economic and politicalsuperiority over the anothers which led to theoutbreak of war. Germany wanted to remain the lion of the land through its miliary, while Britain wanted to remain the shark of the sea because it had very powerful marine technology
Such ideology caused other nations to struggle for recognition even if it meant risking world peace. 

Therefore, World War One broke out in 1914 because each nation wanted to maintain their status quo and claim recognition.

European nationalism: Many European nations joined the war to defend their national interests, e.g. the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by a Serbian student was an act of nationalism against Serbia, while the conflict with France was meant to regain Alsace and Lorain from France.

Immediate causes.
Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand on 28th June 1914:Austria's PrinceFerdinand amd heir to throne and his wife Sophia were shot dead by a Serbian student while at their honeymoon at the bridge of Sarajevo, this was the immediate cause of World War One. 

Austria responded by giving an ultimatum to Serbia with the support of Germany. The conditions given included:
·         Serbia was to explain the assassination and bring the assassins to book.
·         Serbia was to dismiss all official which Austria suspected was involved in the murder.
·         Austrian officials and police were to be permitted to take part in the investigation. Serbia rejected some of the conditions with the support of Russia and her allies. On 25th July1914 German declared war on France on 3rd august 1914, Britain declared war on Germany, Russia also joined the war hence World War One.
Germany's attack on Belgium: Germany mobilised and stationed her troops in Belgium and prevented French troops from advancing. Germany's attack on Belgium on 2 august 1914, caused Britain to quickly join the war on 14 august 1914, Britain accusedGermany of breaking Belgium's neutrality which was confirmed since 1839 by the London conference. All these events also triggered the first world war in 1914.

How Africa was involved in the war
In 1914 German colonies in Africa consisted of: Togo Land, the Cameroon, Namibia (south west Africa), and Tanganyika (East Africa). An Anglo-French force took possession of Togo land in august 1914.

On September 1914 a British force from Nigeria invaded Cameroon and a French force from French Equatorial Africainvaded east and south ofCameroon. After many campaigns in which the Germans defeated the allied forcesseveral times, German resistance wasfinally overcome in February 1916. 

In South West Africa,Germany was conqueredbytroops from the Union of South Africabetween September 1914 andJuly 1915.

The British force was bigger in East Africa and comprised of about 4250 soldiers. This was was the force used to crush and defeat Germany's force of 750 soldiers and a similar number of policemen. 

The most important of Germany's possessions; East Africa (Tanganyika) displayed the strongest resistance to the attacks of the allies.
Early assaults by British and Indian troops (November 1914) were deflected by the Germans under General Paul Von Lettow-Vorbeck. 

In November 1915, British naval units gained control of Lake Tanganyika and in the following year, the allied forces (British, South Africa and Portuguese) intended to invade German East Africa which was under the command of general Jan Christian Smuts.

In 1916, the allies captured the principal towns of German East Africa including Tanga, Bagamoyo, Dar es Salaam and Tabora, the Lettow –Vorbecks troops then retreated into the south east section of the colony. Late in 1917, however the German forces took the offensive, invading Portuguese East Africa.

In November1918,the allies began an invasion of Rhodesia. When the armistice was signed in Europe in 1918, the troops inGerman East Africa were still fighting even though most of the colonies were in the hands of the allies. Lettow –Vorbeck surrendered three days later.

The Factors that led the War to Spread Worldwide
Analyse the factors that led the war to spread worldwide
First World War was fought in Europe, but eventually it spread worldwide for various reasons. The reasons included; the need to protect colonial interests, military obligation, lack of troops among imperialist powers, the rise of sea wars, as well as the rise and spread of socialist or capitalist ideologies.

The Impact of the First World War on Africa
Assess the impact of the first world war on Africa
Destruction of Africa: World War One led to the destruction of Africa especially African agriculture and caused the deaths of Africans who participated in the war in Libya, Somalia and Kenya its said that more than 100,000 East African troops were killed.

African nationalism: The world war led to the rise of African nationalism, it pushed Africans to demand their liberation and independence especially after the rise of awareness and the rise of African elites who organised peasants to demand their independence; Kenyatta, Nkurumah, were some African elites.

Extreme exploitation. The aftermath of World War One was the intensive exploitation of African resources because European nations wanted to compensate what they had lost during the war. New taxes like hit tax, gun tax, matiti tax, poly tax, head tax and dog tax were introduced. Land alienation increased forced labour become common, mineral extraction became dominant.

Rise of socialism in Africa: World War One led to the rise of socialism in Africa after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 whereby Africans adopted socialism e.g. Ujamaa villages in Tanganyika; Common Mans Charter in Uganda, Humanism in Zambia and Islamic socialism in Libya.

Political re-division of Africa: Itled to re-division of the African continent among the imperialist nations e.g. all German colonies were redistributed among the victor powers. 

German East Africa was renamed Tanganyika shared between Britain and Belgium whereby Britain took Tanganyika while Belgium took Rwanda and Burundi. South East Africa (Namibia) was given to South Africa.

Cameroon was shared between Britain and France the portion neighboring Nigeria was given to Britain and the rest was given to France. Togo was shared between France and Britain the portion neighboring Ghana was given to Britain and the rest was given to France.

The second world war was caused by the first world war. WW 2 in 1939 also affected the african continent.

The great depression: The first world war led to the great depression which victimisedAfrican economies leading to the fall of crop prices. In Europe, prices of African agriculture produce fell, wages of social services were also reduced.

Africa's involvement in the war:Some Africans were recruited by the colonial powers to fight on their side. Many Africans were taken to work as cooks, porters, security guards and fighters, this led to depopulation in Africa and gender imbalances. Ranks and medals were awarded to those who had successfully fought in the war, thus creating a new class of the ex-servicemen.

Fall in produce prices in African colonies: The war led to the fall of producer prices because of the severe financial crisis that faced the metropole and the colonies. 

During the period of war agriculture greatly declined, European plantations were destroyed or abandoned in order to concentrate on the war. African cultivation was equally affected resulted infamine.

Cut down of colonial government expenses: Social services expenditure was tremendously reduced because of the severe financial constraints of the war period due to this, colonial activities almost came to a standstill.

Social miseries: The war led to misery in various parts of Africa where the people suffered from homelessness, displacement famine, diseases, fears and uncertainties. There was an outbreak and spread of diseases like small pox, meningitis, plagues and venereal diseases like syphilis that were brought by the returning soldiers. There was a serious outbreak of influenza between 1918 and 1919 which killed many people.

Warfare associations: World War One led to the rise of warfare associationsin the colonies as a method to intensively exploit african resources, such warfare association included Kilimanjaro native planters, Bukoba coffee growers and Bataka association in Uganda.

Colonial schemes:Introduction and development of colonial schemes in order to generate big qualities and quantities as to increase exports to the metropole, this led to an influx of European settlers into East Africa, these were mostly ex-soldiers which meant more loss of land for the Africans.

With increased European settlement in Kenya, settlers became agitated for political power and representation in government.

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