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Sun Nov 11, 2018, 12:01 PM

The Africans who fought in WWI and WWII

When the major powers of Europe went to war in 1914, so too did half the globe. France and Britain controlled the world’s two largest colonial empires and were quick to draw upon their resources – and their people.

More than four million non-European, non-white soldiers and auxiliaries would serve in WW1. Over a quarter of these soldiers would end up in the battlefields of northern France and Belgium, braving a new type of industrial warfare for which they were often ill-equipped and inadequately trained. They would prove vital in holding the front lines. But the fascinating story of what played out behind the trenches is rarely told. For four years, the tented cities of the Western Front would be the setting for a world in miniature. Against the backdrop of war, soldiers also navigated the cultural battlegrounds and the no-man’s land of race relations at the dawn of the 20th Century.


Pretty thorough report and fantastic photos of all the fighting men from the colonies here http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z2bgr82







WWII
How many now recall the role of more than one million African troops? Yet they fought in the deserts of North Africa, the jungles of Burma and over the skies of Germany. A shrinking band of veterans, many now living in poverty, bitterly resent being written out of history. For Africa, World War II began not in 1939, but in 1935.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8344170.stm


Jagama Kello, middle, left home at just 15 to fight Italian invaders


John Henry Smythe, left, read Hitler's Mein Kampf before joining the RAF



2010
For most of the 20th century, France recruited, usually forcibly, men from its colonies in Africa fight its battles around the world. From the first world war in 1914 to the Indochina wars and Algeria’s fight for independence in the 1950s and 1960s, hundreds of thousands of Africans soldiers fought under the French flag. They were called tirailleurs, or “sharpshooters,” a name to mock their limited training. Decades later, 28 of these former soldiers were recognized in a ceremony on April 15 where they were given French citizenship. Many of them were from Senegal, a country that sent more than a third of all of its military- age men to France to fight during World War I.

A group of West African soldiers stationed at camp in Thiaroye, Senegal, mutinied in 1944, demanding equal pay and the same treatment as their French counterparts. French soldiers fired on them, killing up to 400 men. Their mass grave still hasn’t been found.

Over the past few decades, activists have gained some ground. The 2006 French film "Indigènes," about a group of North African soldiers in France during World War II, dramatized the contributions of colonial soldiers in France’s liberation. More than half of French forces in Italy and France between 1943 and 1944 came from African colonies, and at least 40,000 died.
https://qz.com/africa/960851/france-gives-citizenship-and-full-pensions-to-african-soldiers-who-fought-its-20-century-wars/



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Reply The Africans who fought in WWI and WWII (Original post)
Kind of Blue Nov 2018 OP
HipChick Nov 2018 #1
dalton99a Nov 2018 #2
Kind of Blue Nov 2018 #3
Brother Buzz Nov 2018 #4
Kind of Blue Nov 2018 #5
Brother Buzz Nov 2018 #6
Kind of Blue Nov 2018 #7
Brother Buzz Nov 2018 #9
Kind of Blue Nov 2018 #13
Docreed2003 Nov 2018 #30
Brother Buzz Nov 2018 #31
Docreed2003 Nov 2018 #32
Retrograde Nov 2018 #8
Kind of Blue Nov 2018 #12
Sunlei Nov 2018 #10
Kind of Blue Nov 2018 #14
Wounded Bear Nov 2018 #11
Kind of Blue Nov 2018 #15
Hortensis Nov 2018 #16
Kind of Blue Nov 2018 #17
Hortensis Nov 2018 #18
Kind of Blue Nov 2018 #20
Hortensis Nov 2018 #21
Kind of Blue Nov 2018 #23
Hortensis Nov 2018 #24
Kind of Blue Nov 2018 #25
Hortensis Nov 2018 #28
oasis Nov 2018 #19
Maru Kitteh Nov 2018 #22
Pope George Ringo II Nov 2018 #26
Kind of Blue Nov 2018 #27
ismnotwasm Nov 2018 #29

Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 12:25 PM

1. K&R

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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 12:33 PM

2. "Our Enemies. 96 Character Heads from Prisoner of War Camps in Germany" (1916)



These men are prisoners of war from various countries, captured in Germany. Nearly all of them glower into the camera, and the portraits are titled Our Enemies. 96 Character Heads from Prisoner of War Camps in Germany. The different headdresses highlight the ethnic diversity of the men.

These pictures showed German readers the face of the enemy. Those depicted were especially ‘exotic’ and ‘alien’. This intentional portrayal of the prisoners was intended to make clear these were ‘evil foreigners’. That Germany captured these men from across the world gave the message that Germany had the capacity to take on the entire world.

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 12:38 PM

3. Yeah, dalton99a, I saw that one and the other

racist German propaganda posters as well as the Allies, too, but not as bad as the Germans that I could see. There are so many photos and stories to choose from so I'm glad that you posted this one. Thank you!

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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 12:49 PM

4. The Black soldiers from the US Army fought under French command during WWI

The all-black 93rd division, a rag-tag outfit that was initially issued Civil War uniforms, were assigned to French command by General John Pershing during WWI. The French desperately needed fresh troops and Pershing was able to satisfy France's needs by getting rid of his own problem - black soldiers. The 93d Division turned in their American equipment and were issued French rifles, bayonets, helmets, packs, and other equipment of the French soldier. They were then organized, trained, and commanded as a French unit, the first unit in US history to serve under foreign command.

The 93nd division fought as part of the French army, where, ironically, it found acceptance, respect, and glory, eventually winning the Croix de Guerre, only to return to America and find Jim Crow laws alive and well.



The 93nd Division was the only 'colored' unit to serve in the Pacific Theater of Operation during the Second World War. The unit patch of the 93rd Division during WWII was a blue Casque Adrien helmet (French Army helmet) honoring its four Regiments that served under French command during WW I.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 12:58 PM

5. Thanks for the addition, Brother Buzz!

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Response to Kind of Blue (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 01:18 PM

6. This dumb draftee served with the last active vestige of one of the 'Colored units'...

so I've always had a keen interest in the subject

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 01:35 PM

7. Dumb? Oh, no! I'm sitting here with chills

running up and down my arms thanking you. Thank you so much is not even enough.

Here's a great photo of men of the 92nd Infantry Division from 1919 en route home. More of what happened to these 4 beautiful men when they got back - at
https://www.reddit.com/r/Colorization/comments/7pcdas/four_officers_of_the_us_armys_allblack_366th/



From 2012
FORT HUACHCUA, Ariz. - Retired Army Capt. Joseph Hairston, one of the first black officers commissioned to serve with the 92nd Infantry Division after its reactivation in 1942, made a surprise visit to the Fort Huachuca Museum on July 11. https://www.army.mil/article/83758/92nd_infantry_division_officer_revisits_fort_huachuca

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Response to Kind of Blue (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 02:13 PM

9. My 'Top', Sergeant Major Brown started at Fort Huachcua, too

Then off to North Africa, Italy, France, Korea, and Vietnam. Boy Howdy, he had some stories to tell, and I was a good student.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #9)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 02:59 PM

13. Whoa! What a nice sync.

Goodness, I'd love to hear his story of North Africa.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 16, 2018, 06:09 PM

30. Don't forget the 396th regiment!!

Those Harlem Hellfighters were badass!

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Response to Docreed2003 (Reply #30)

Fri Nov 16, 2018, 06:44 PM

31. The 369th Infantry Regiment (a brigade) was part of the 93rd Division until is was broken up

The Harlem Hellfighters were badass, for sure, but the other element of the 93rd Division kicked ass, too.

Check out the 'Red Hand Division' (French 157th Infantry Division)

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #31)

Fri Nov 16, 2018, 06:52 PM

32. Awesome...ty!!

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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 01:58 PM

8. There is a French film from the 1930s

The Grand Illusion, about Allied prisoners in a WWI German POW camp for officers. One of the background characters is a man of color: nothing is said about his origins, he has maybe one line. The only things the viewer knows about him is that he's an officer, and he has a cordial relationship with his fellow prisoners. The movie always intrigued me because it treated the various people from different countries as just people in a common predicament.

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Response to Retrograde (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 02:57 PM

12. Thanks, Retrograde! I just watched a trailer for the movie

Remembering what was happening at the time, we know that many AAs flocked to France especially after WWI seeking at least more tolerance. I think this was thanks to James Reese Europe (of all names), "the best known orchestra leader in New York," who was there leading the Harlem Hellfighters Band or the so-called colored division 15th Infantry Regiment during WWI. He brought jazz that captivated the country. So it makes total sense to me that The Grand Illusion would include a black man as an ally during wartime.

He appears at about 00:28 with the other prisoners.


More on Europe, the great man

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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 02:26 PM

10. Thank you for excellent OP. I had no idea how many French forces came from the colonies!

"More than half of French forces in Italy and France between 1943 and 1944 came from African colonies"

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #10)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 03:01 PM

14. You're so welcome! The hidden stories of the making

of this world is much more interesting than all the energy it takes to keep the lies alive.

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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 02:30 PM

11. A vastly under-reported part of history...

at least here in the US. The US military was segregated until after WWII, and most black servicemen were kept out of combat, under the theory that "they couldn't fight."

The truth was, that in every instance when black troops were 'allowed' to fight, they acquitted themselves quite well. That goes back at least until the Civil War, too.

It's one of the more stupid aspects of racism.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #11)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 03:07 PM

15. "...one of the more stupid aspects of racism."

Last edited Mon Nov 12, 2018, 12:24 AM - Edit history (1)

Couldn't have said it better. I listened to a lecture a while ago with the professor basically wondering if the South intended on losing the Civil War. One of his premises was the North started using black men and winning while Southern generals were begging, I think it was Lee, to please take advantage of this resource of able-bodied men. Many black men were willing to fight for the South. But Lee refused.

So in this one instance, I'm thankful for the stupid

On Edit: It was Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederate States who General Lee pleaded to include Southern black men.

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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 03:18 PM

16. Much truth, but let's be honest. How many here

have read even one book about those who gave their all, or had it taken from them -- of any color or nation? How many who say yes have read any book about those from another nation who fought and died? From another, non-European nation? I've read a handful about various aspects of that era in Europe, but otherwise an occasional chapter in books set in non-European nations is the closest I come.

Those who castigate should realize that the history of our great wars is already being rewritten. How on earth do you think this great flaw in the relating of our stories came to your attention?

Perhaps not enough yet and not in enough places, but the very gathering of these poignant photographs shows the new story that our world wars weren't only battles between a few major white nations sending white soldiers, but global wars affecting people on every continent.

As for wading in and eagerly trying to shoulder all humanity's guilt for ourselves, a big raspberry to that. That's neither emotionally healthy nor intellectually valid.

And, the peoples our dead came from and who live on after them have the first, foremost, and greatest duty to preserve, report, teach, learn, sorrow over, be proud of their stories and create monuments to their sacrifice. To put it mildly, it's an impossible for 7 billion people, or even 300 million Americans, who mostly never knew their own dead to nevertheless grieve for everyone else's.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #16)

Sun Nov 11, 2018, 11:56 PM

17. LOL! All that nonsensical blather to end up saying you don't care.

You've read only a few books about that era in Europe when there have been at least hundreds of books, essays, college courses, graduate studies and whatnot of these 2 global wars with many battles that were not just on European soil. I don't care what people have read and not read because the point of this OP is clear: these men fought, should be recognized and honored, too, on the day of remembrance and you're given the reason why.

I'm sorry you missed that and veered into perhaps an unconscious but definitely racist defense mechanism about castigation, guilt, what's emotionally or not intellectually valid. If presenting documented facts with pictures, too, causes those feelings in you then maybe you should check your emotional and intellectual health. You are all over the place especially with your bizarre pivot to preserve, report, teach, blah-blah-blah. So who are you telling that to? Me? I hope you were not thinking I'll pretend with you to miss the point of my own OP.

Please, to put it mildly the impossibility to mourn everyone else's dead is your strong feeling. That much is clear. You're pulling in billions of others to support your lack of empathy for people who have done more for this world than you and I will ever do.

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Response to Kind of Blue (Reply #17)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 02:59 AM

18. It sounds like you consider yourself among "the peoples

our dead came from," and if your caring is especially focused on people of color from this and other continents, that's just fine. It'd be best to pull back on the antagonism and the personal attacks, though. They're both uncalled for.

I certainly don't think it's a fault in you if you don't have as much emotion and attention left to care specifically about Chinese boys who were sent to dig trenches in Europe and never made it home, or malnourished, hookworm-infested white sons of poor families from our own south who died in places they couldn't find on a map.

Most caught up in the carnage around the planet had in common that they never understood what it was about, and if they could have read all books ever written about the great war before they died they probably still wouldn't have felt they understood. In a real sense, caring enough to understand what it all meant to some who died so tragically and unnecessarily is understanding others.

Btw, why not post the titles of two or three books you found especially good reading on your portion of this huge subject that you feel others would enjoy and benefit from? I find books that relate life in Africa fascinating and, if you can recommend any, would prefer personal histories from people who lived through the great war long enough to pass on their stories.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #18)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 09:39 AM

20. Obviously this OP is not for you. Unlike you, I don't spend much time

on things that I don't care about and now that includes your negative and insulting twist on information that asks nothing of you.

Bye.

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Response to Kind of Blue (Reply #20)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 11:47 AM

21. I didn't miss the attention you gave to those who

fought and died in African nations, Kind of Blue. An amazing, enormous subject, and the big, terrific problem you've sparked is finding one great effort in one nation to read about.

In the meantime, for others who may not have read it, a must-read book I can come up with is a novel but a great one by a Nigerian author. He wrote about life in a village in precolonial Nigeria, and then, as the title says: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. First in a series of three.

Have a nice day.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #21)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 05:35 PM

23. I applaud your effort, Hortensis.

Our further understanding of people who are not of our nations seem to be from different parts of the globe. I had an idyllic childhood in both Nigeria and Liberia. But as a child watching very little TV that featured a lot of cowboys and Indians, I was not rooting for 1st Nation's people there until we immigrated here and learned the truth. It was clear that those awful people who loved attacking other people who were not like them were me, in history and from the little experience of racism faced here in those early years.

"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" was my introduction to colonialism and imperialism though I was bathed in it both here and there.

"Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity" ~ William Butler Yeats

Why can't we who I think are full of righteous conviction maintain our passionate intensity? I can only hold my breath and wait for the tipping point of numbers of people who care.

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Response to Kind of Blue (Reply #23)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 05:55 PM

24. Agree. I think/hope we may be in the tipping point, but if so

it'll continue to drag out and be almost as as much angry and confused and uncertain as wisely committed. Not my nature to despair over human imperfections, although they've been scaring me good lately.

I'm glad your parents were able to create safe little worlds for you until you were...ready for the big one.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #24)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 06:51 PM

25. Yes, it will drag out and I will most certainly be angry and confused

and uncertain but will maintain as much balance as I can.

I'm thinking maybe the drag out will come in surprising ways. The other night while at a panel discussion of Rep. John Lewis's graphic novel, "March: Book One," 2 white ladies were duking it out. One was an educator in the audience questioning why community scholarships were awarded to more PoC girls than PoC boys. What? The lady on the panel answered, in a nutshell said, "We get more female applicants" with statistics and other stuff like that. They decided to meet up later with panel members who want to introduce her to other leadership working on that problem.

Surprising to me was the ladies giving each other the business over PoC youth!

But the biggest applause came from a panelist who is an Italian-American gay man, an undocumented immigrant for 15 years, working with LGBTQ youths said, "I cannot do this work and be a racist. We must be everything."

Yes, the diversity sausage factory at work but with clear focus on the next generation. The panel comprised 2 AA men, 1 AA woman, 1 Euro-American woman, 1 brilliant very young Mexican-American male attorney, and a straight off the continent Euro-American man.

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Response to Kind of Blue (Reply #25)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 08:25 PM

28. :) What a great story. Funny because it came out

so nicely, of course. "Yes, the diversity sausage factory at work but with clear focus on the next generation." It's very easy is to imagine that interchange -- both surprising yet so of today, the simmering "spiritus mundi." But, as you say, also of "I cannot do this work and be a racist. We must be everything." Good little group.

Good night.

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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 07:56 AM

19. K and R

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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 05:21 PM

22. K & R

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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 07:37 PM

26. Netflix did a show called "Our World War" which hit this

It wasn't the entire show, but they did cover colonial empires dragging Africans into a European war, and the Central Powers' reaction.

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Response to Pope George Ringo II (Reply #26)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 07:43 PM

27. Thanks very much, Pope George Ringo II!

I'm done work for the day and off to watch

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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 08:30 PM

29. K&R

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