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Remembrance Day - Black & Asian Soldiers in WW1


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Slideshow depicting the involvement of Black and Asian Soldiers in WW1 in British, French and German Armies.

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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Remembrance Day - Black & Asian Soldiers in WW1

  2. 2. THE FIRST WORLD WAR • On 28 June 1914, in Sarajevo, (Serbia) Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the AustroHungarian Empire was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip (a Slav nationalist). Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia for the killing. 2
  3. 3. EUROPE DIVIDED • At that time Europe was divided between groups of diplomatic alliances - AustriaHungary/Germany/Italy formed the (Central Powers) • & Britain/France/Russia (Triple Entente/Allied forces) • Each group swore to defend their allies. 3
  4. 4. HOW BLACK & ASIAN TROOPS BECAME INVOLVED IN WW1 • Britain & France had colonies in the Caribbean, Africa & Asia, as well as many other places. • Germany also had colonies in Africa • Turkish Troops contained an African & Muslim contingent COLONIAL TROOPS OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE AT QUEEN VICTORIA'S DIAMOND JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS, 1897. PHOTOGRAPH: HULTON GETTY 5
  5. 5. THE BRITISH CARIBBEAN • People in the British Caribbean had a lot of loyalty to the the “Mother Country”. When WW1 began. West Indians donated money to aid the war effort and also volunteered to fight, joining The British West Indies Regiment. • By the end of the war over 15,500 West Indians had joined the BWIR and had experienced military service in England, Italy, Egypt, India, France, Belgium, Palestine, Mesopotamia (Iraq) and East Africa. WEST INDIAN TROOPS STACKING 8 INCH SHELLS AT A DUMP ON THE GORDON ROAD, YPRES, OCTOBER 1917. MOST BATTALIONS OF THE BRITISH WEST INDIES REGIMENT (BWIR) SAW SERVICE ON THE WESTERN FRONT, MOSTLY AS PIONEERS.
  6. 6. AFRICANS IN THE FRENCH ARMY • Like Britain, France was a major colonial power. France drew troops from all over “Francophone Africa”. France also had Colonies in South East Asia. • Some of the most distinguished African Soldiers were the Tirailleurs Senegalais. • "'Black devils' the German soldiers called them, when, fighting like demons, they had forced the Kaiser's shock troops to retreat before them."
  7. 7. AFRICAN AMERICAN TROOPS • America was a racially segregated society. Yet African Americans were serving in the U.S Armed Forces. • When the United States declared war against Germany in April 1917, The U.S War Department realised that they desperately needed more men to ensure victory. • By the end of World War I, African Americans served in cavalry, infantry, signal, medical, engineer, and artillery units, as well as serving as chaplains, surveyors, truck drivers, chemists, and intelligence officers. *AFRICAN AMERICANS ALSO SERVED IN FRENCH UNITS. SEE “THE HARLEM HELL FIGHTERS”, WHO BECAME ONE OF THE MOST DECORATED UNITS WW1. EUGENE BULLARD WAS A HIGHLY DECORATED AFRICAN AMERICAN PILOT IN THE FRENCH FLYING CORPS. HE WAS ONE OF ONLY TWO BLACK COMBAT PILOTS IN WORLD WAR I
  8. 8. 369th Infantry (Harlem Hellfighters) Eugene Bullard
  9. 9. BLACK BRITONS ENLISTED • Black Britons served in WW1 in the Army and Navy. • Former Spurs Player Walter Tull is the most celebrated Black British soldier who achieved the rank of Lieutenant. • A photo on the next slide shows several black soldiers in the Essex regiment, as well as a selection of other black and mixed race soldiers serving in the British Army.
  10. 10. ASIAN TROOPS IN WW1 • As well as Africans and Caribbean troops there were also Asian Soldiers fighting in WW1. • India sent over 1 million men to aid the War effort. At that time India included Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh & Shri Lanka. Soldiers were from many ethnic backgrounds such as Pathans, Sihks, Muslims & Hindu’s. • The photo here shows Ghurkas from Nepal.
  11. 11. AFRICANS FIGHTING FOR GERMANY • Little is known about how many of Germany’s Pre-war black population served in the Armed forces. Some certainly did in WW1. • WW1 was not just fought in Europe. There were theatres of war in Africa and Asia. • In Africa, The Germans used Askari troops called”Schutztruppe”. They fought bravely and were never defeated even after Armistace. • This Photo shows an African who travelled back to Germany after WW1 to serve in the Freikorps in 1919.