All through the First and Second World Wars, multitudes of African fighters battled with regards to European interests, while being consigned to frontier status and gaining almost no ground toward picking up freedom of their own. The Senegalese Tirailleurs are among the numerous indigenous people groups who served in the French armed forces amid the World Wars. By 1918, France had enrolled somewhere in the range of 192,000 Tirailleurs Sénégalais all through French West Africa and 134,000 of them got involved in combat roles – some in the European theatre.
The first and last shots of world war 1 were fired in Africa, not Europe. How come? And why do modern Great War ceremonies and films give the impression that only Americans and Europeans died for “freedom”? Africans contributed money, skill (in producing goods to aid the war effort) and the human sacrifices needed to call it a world war. The era of German colonialism that lasted till 1918 had left Africans who fought for Germany either dead, injured for life, without ex-service pensions and with financial losses.