Download The Tirailleurs Senegalais were West African Colonial Army troops

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the workof artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts

Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War wikipedia , lookup

Home front during World War I wikipedia , lookup

Aftermath of World War I wikipedia , lookup

Treaty of Sèvres wikipedia , lookup

Article A – The Tirailleurs Senegalais
The Tirailleurs Senegalais were West African Colonial Army troops who fought for the French
during World War I, World War II, and in numerous conquest, police, and colonial
counterinsurgency operations. Despite the name, the Tirailleurs Senegalais were composed of
soldiers recruited and conscripted from throughout French West Africa and not just
from Senegal. However, recruitment and casualty burdens for Senegalese soldiers often
numbered among the highest of the Tirailleurs Senegalais.
The Tirailleurs Senegalais were created as the first permanent units of black African soldiers
under French rule in 1857. From 1857 to 1905 the Tirailleurs Senegalais was primarily a
mercenary force composed of slaves and Africans from low social ranks although a small group
of well-born Africans served as intermediaries. The rachat (repurchase) system of slave
purchase was employed by the French in obtaining soldiers, and although the practice officially
ended in 1882, coercive tactics similar to slave purchasing still continued.
The creation of the West African Federation in 1905 initiated the transition from military to
civilian rule, but increasing numbers of African troops were needed in this period for policing,
fighting resistance forces, and as garrison troops. The Tirailleurs Senegalais also participated in
the conquest of Morocco in the early 1900s. In 1912 a new partial conscription law was passed.
With the start of World War I, many Tirailleurs Senegalais soldiers were brought to the front in
France and served in several important battles, like Vimy Ridge and Somme. They were also for
a time amalgamated with black American soldiers in the trenches. French West African troops
serving in World War I comprised about 170,891 men, and approximately 30,000 of them were
killed. In Senegal alone more than 1/3 of all males of military age were mobilized.
Following World War I, the Conscription Law of 1919 in French West Africa called for
universal male conscription in peacetime as well as wartime. Hundreds of thousands served in
the Tirailleurs Senegalais in colonial wars in this time period and in reserves and labor brigades.
During World War II France once again used the Tirailleurs Senegalais troops, this time in even
greater numbers. In 1940, African troops comprised roughly 9% of the French army. The French
recruited more than 200,000 black Africans during the war. Approximately 25,000 were killed in
battle. Many were also interned in German labor camps and thousands of black African Prisoners
of War (POWs) were murdered by the Wehrmacht in 1940. In contrast to World War I, African
troops were integrated into French military units. But when victory was close for the Free French
forces de Gaulle ordered a “whitening” of the troops and replaced 20,000 Africans at the front
with white Frenchmen.
After French liberation, African servicemen were grouped in French centers to await the journey
back home. However, they faced discriminatory treatment, and shortages of food, shelter, and
other resources. In December of 1944 a protest at a camp in Thiaroye in Senegal involving the
first group of ex-POWS to be sent back to West Africa resulted in 35 Africans killed, hundreds
wounded, and many sentenced to jail terms. This protest, sometimes known as the “Thiaroye
Massacre,” stemmed from French mistreatment and failure to provide back pay.
Following World War II, a series of veterans organizations were formed that demanded equal
rights. Many played important roles in Senegalese nationalist movements. The Tirailleurs
Senegalais controversially participated in the French counterinsurgency war in Algeria in the
1950s, although some troops protested the involvement. Léopold Sédar Senghor, who in 1960
became the first President of independent Senegal, had served in the Tirailleurs Senegalais and
was a POW during WWII.
Myron Echenberg, Colonial Conscripts: The Tirailleurs Senegalais in French West Africa, 18571960 (Portsmouth: Heinemann Educational Books, Inc., 1991); Joe Lunn, Memoirs of the
Maelstrom: A Senegalese Oral History of the First World War (Portsmouth: Heinemann
Educational Books, Inc., 1999).
Article B - Paris Honors African Soldiers Supporting France during WWI and WWI
exhibit examines role of Asian, African troops
France has launched the commemorations for next year’s 100-year anniversary of the start of
World War I. In his solemn speech, French President François Hollande said that he wanted the
program of commemorative events to unfold in a spirit of national unity, as well as friendship
between all the countries involved in the conflict that wreak havoc on Europe from 1914 to 1918,
causing nearly 1.7 million French deaths. However, the French leader also described the
commemorations as an opportunity to express gratitude to all soldiers who fought for France,
including those coming from the territories that were back then French colonies.
As a matter of fact, some historians and observers have repeatedly expressed their consternation
at the fact that the role of such soldiers in the French collective memory of the war has been
consistently downplayed. According to a French
journalist, Charles Onana, although “African
troops actively participated in World War I [and]
their contribution was crucial, … the larger
French public isn’t necessarily aware of that.
I’ve often been faced with high school and
university students who knew nothing about
these men’s engagement.” This is why Onana
has called – echoing the French President’s
recent appeal to raise the French awareness of
African soldiers’ immense contribution to
France’s victory and freedom – for more
rigorous teaching of World War I history in
French class rooms.
As a major colonial power, France called on roughly 500,000 African men to take part in WWI
fierce battles alongside the 8 million soldiers from mainland France. Participating in this socalled “colonial army” were 175,000 Algerians, 40,000 Moroccans, 80,000 Tunisians and
180,000 sub-Saharan Africans, or “Senegalese infantrymen”. Reflecting on why France had been
so slow to address this controversial and divisive chapter of its past, Onan pointed to French
sensitivities with respect to its colonial history: “It’s a part of the French story that is ignored,
because it is linked to colonialism, a subject that elicits discomfort whenever it is raised.”
BRUSSELS, Belgium — After the guns of World War I fell silent, a young Vietnamese kitchen
worker petitioned the leaders of the victorious Allied powers at the 1919 Versailles peace
conference to support independence for his country.
The appeal went unheeded, and Ho Chi Minh ended up leading the movement that decades later
liberated Vietnam from French colonial rule.
There's a connection, and it's evident at a Belgian exhibition that coincides with Tuesday's 90th
anniversary of the end of World War I.
More than a million soldiers from Europe's African and Asian colonies answered the call to
arms, yet they were largely forgotten afterward, and promises of freedom were not fulfilled. The
betrayal laid the foundations of the independence movements that ultimately brought an end to
the colonial empires.
"Man, Culture and War," an exhibit at Brussels' BELvue
Museum, seeks to set the record straight about the
contribution of colonial troops during the 1914-1918
conflict that became known as the Great War.
The colonials fought alongside France, Britain, the U.S.,
Belgium, Canada, Australia and others on the Western
Front. They accounted for more than 100,000 of the
almost 4 million killed on that front, but their sacrifice
was long overlooked by the history books and the
governments that sent them into battle.
"Asian and African units played an immensely important
role on the Allied side throughout the war," said Piet
Chielens, head of the In Flanders Fields Museum in the
town of Ypres. "But very quickly after the war their
contribution was reduced to a footnote in history."
A replica of a tombstone and a helmet of
North African soldiers are displayed at
the Bellevue Museum in Brussels,
Belgium, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008.
Although more than a million troops from
Asia and Africa fought on the Western
Front during the Great War, where
100,000 died, their sacrifice in the Allied
war effort have generally been ignored by
the colonial powers that ruled their
nations. (AP Photo/Thierry Charlier)
"The worldwide surge of decolonization which came
after World War II had its origins in the disappointments
and humiliations suffered by colonial troops during and
after the Great War," he said.
The soldiers -- all volunteers since there was no
conscription in the colonies -- were lured in part by
promises of greater freedom for their homelands in
Africa, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. But
after returning home they saw the promises being broken,
and the resentment fed their liberation movements.
The British apparently foresaw the problem. They were reluctant to arm and train black African
troops lest they turn their know-how against their colonial masters once they got home,
according to the exhibition captions.
They were used instead as auxiliaries along with tens of thousands of Chinese laborers for
digging trenches and clearing unexploded ordnance.
The French had no such qualms. They armed 140 battalions from West Africa and Madagascar
and sent them into the carnage of trench warfare. Whole divisions of North Africans -- mainly
Moroccan, Algerians, and Tunisians -- also took part in the fighting. More than 35,000 of them
were killed.
Germany used local troops in its African colonies, but could not bring them to Europe because
sea lanes were blocked.
Colonial troops were mobilized again by France and Britain in World War II.
North African units in France's World War I army, such as Zouave infantrymen or Spahi
cavalrymen, gained fame for their battlefield courage and for the splendor of their colorful
uniforms. Although most of the rank and file were Arabs, the units included European settlers
and North African Jews who rallied to the French cause.
The exhibit also details the discrimination the colonial soldiers suffered.
In the British and Belgian armies, non-Europeans could rise no higher than sergeant. Only the
French allowed them to become officers -- captains at best. The troops were inadequately trained
and equipped, and discipline was harsh.
"Care should be taken to prevent all familiarity between Europeans and Natives as it is
subversive of discipline and impairs their efficiency," reads an order by the British commander
of a South African labor battalion, which is part of the BELvue exhibit.
Solomon Plaatje, a South African writer, witnessed the treatment of his fellow blacks in the
ranks. Plaatje, who also tried unsuccessfully to address the Versailles peace conference, became
one of the founders of the African National Congress which in the 1990s ended apartheid rule in
his homeland.
By Slobodan Lekic, Associated Press Writer
Article C – The Treaty of Sevres
The Treaty of Sèvres was signed with the Ottoman Empire after the end of World War One. The
terms of the Treaty of Sèvres were harsh and many in the Ottoman Empire were left angered and
embittered by their treatment.
The Treaty of Sèvres was signed on August 10th 1920 after more than fifteen months was spent
on drawing it up. Great Britain, Italy and France signed it for the victorious Allies. Russia was
excluded from the process and by 1920 America had withdrawn into a policy of isolation.
The Treaty of Sèvres territorially carved up the ‘Sick Man of Europe’.
Britain and France had already decided what would happen to the area generally referred to as
the ‘Middle East’. Britain took effective possession and control of Palestine while France took
over Syria, Lebanon and some land in southern Anatolia. East and West Anatolia were declared
areas of French influence. This had already been decided some three years before the Treaty of
Sèvres in the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1917. Britain also took over Iraq and was given
very generous oil concessions there via the British-controlled Turkish Petroleum Company, later
renamed the Iraq Petroleum Company.
The Kingdom of Hejaz was given formal international recognition as an independent kingdom.
With Mecca and Medina as its most important cities, the Kingdom of Hejaz was 100,000 square
miles in size with a total population of 750,000.
Armenia was recognised as a separate sovereign state.
Smyrna was put under effective control of Greece while technically remaining within the
Ottoman Empire. The Treaty of Sèvres also gave the people of Smyrna the chance of a plebiscite
on whether they wished to join Greece as opposed to remaining in the Ottoman Empire. This
plebiscite would be overseen by the League of Nations. Greece was also given Thrace.
The Dodecanese Islands were formally handed over to Italy who was also given influence in the
coastal region of Anatolia.
The Dardanelles Straits was made an international waterway with the Ottoman Empire having no
control over it. Certain ports near to Constantinople were declared “free zones” as they were
deemed to be of international importance.
The Treaty of Sèvres failed to deal with the issue of a Kurdistan. There was an initial agreement
on the boundaries of a Kurdistan but nationalist Kurds rejected this as it failed to include a region
called Van. The issue ended with some Kurds living in Turkey where they were deemed by the
government there as being Turks and some in northwest Iraq where they were deemed to be
Like the other defeated Central Powers, the Ottoman Empire had military restrictions imposed on
it. The Ottoman Army was limited to 50,000 men. An air force was forbidden and the navy was
limited to thirteen boats – six schooners and seven torpedo boats. The Treaty of Sèvres also
contained clauses that allowed the Allies to supervise these military terms.
The financial consequences of the Treaty of Sèvres equalled those of the Treaty of Versailles in
terms of severity; however, the new Weimar Germany was allowed to run her own economy –
though the terms of Versailles obviously impacted this. The Ottoman Empire had the control of
its finances and economy taken away from her and handed over to the Allies. This included the
control of the Ottoman Bank, control over imports and exports, control of the national budget,
control over financial regulations, requests for loans and reform of the tax system. The Allies
controlled even debt repayments. One of the terms of this was that only France, Italy and Great
Britain could be debt bondholders. The Ottoman Empire was also forbidden from having any
economic collaboration with Germany, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria and all the economic
assets of these four states were liquidated within the Ottoman Empire.
The Treaty of Sèvres also gave the Allies the right to reform the electoral system of the Ottoman
Those deemed guilty of engaging in “barbarous warfare” were required to be handed over to the
The Grand Vizier, Ahmed Pasha, of the Empire planned to ratify the Treaty of Sèvres but was
faced with a rebellion by the Turkish nationalist leader Mustafa Kemal. Pasha’s defeat meant
that Kemal refused to sign the Treaty of Sèvres, which he viewed as unacceptable with regards to
its terms that directly impacted Turkey. Kemal would not countenance the Dardanelles Straits as
being anything other than Turkish and saw no reason why ports in Turkey itself should be
deemed “free zones”. Kemal believed that the leaders of the Ottoman Empire had taken the
people of Turkey into World War One and that the Turkish people should not be punished for the
actions of their former leaders. His stand meant that the victorious Allies and the newly created
Turkey had to start treaty negotiations afresh
Name: ______________________________
Beard – Honors WH
Date: __________
WWI’s Impact on Africa
Directions: In your groups, assign one article per person (three people maximum per group).
Read your article and answer the corresponding questions below. One you have finished with
your article, discuss the answer with your group. Write your answers on a separate piece of
paper. Each person in the group needs to answer the questions; this assignment will be collected
and graded.
Article A:
1. Describe the way the French government recruited troops from its colonies
2. Compare and contrast how these troops were treated during WWI and WWII. What
explains the differences?
3. How do you feel about the way the French used colonial troops? Explain using evidence
from the text.
Article B:
4. Evaluate the change in tone that people in Europe now seem to have regarding the troops
in colonial troops who fought in the World Wars. What are some of the specific actions
now being taken to recognize the contributions of these troops? How do you feel about
Article C:
5. Evaluate the fate of the Ottoman Empire following WWI. What particular actions were
taken by the European powers at this time? How did this affect the Ottoman state?
Once questions 1 through 5 are answered, answer the following as a group:
6. Evaluate the impact of WWI on the African colonies. Which colonial troops were treated
the harshest? Explain your answer using evidence from your readings