Africa’s Forgotten Great War

Cape Times (South Africa), April 5, 2007 | Go to article overview

Africa’s Forgotten Great War


ARGUABLY, not since Charles Miller’s acclaimed history of World War 1 in East Africa, The Battle for the Bundu, in 1974 has this fascinating story been given such exhaustive and riveting treatment.

While no review could do full justice to the immensity of the task that Edward Paice set himself, the involvement of Allied troops in World War 1 in dislodging Germany from her African colonies is a subject nigh forgotten, clouded over by the demise of colonialism after World War 2.

So too, the preference of scholars to see Africa only in terms of fashionable ideological comfort zones in which rapacious and avaricious colonialism has destroyed its innocence, has shielded us from gaining a deeper understanding of our continent’s history.

While much of that aspect of Africa’s history has been well-documented, Paice’s work shows that when you get down to the nitty-gritty and the details, an infinitely more complex history emerges.

The case of German East Africa, or Tanganyika, and subsequently Tanzania, affirms but also contests many dearly held generalisations about Africa, colonialism and its kaleidoscopic history.

For a start, the remarkable truth of the East African campaign is that Germany, which had been forced to surrender South West Africa (Namibia), Togo and the Cameroons to Allied forces, held on to Tanganyika right until after Armistice on November 11, 1918. The reason was simple in that the German commander, the legendary Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, had not heard of the armistice in Europe.

His avowed aim in fighting so doggedly to keep German East Africa in German hands was to cause maximum losses to the Allies, to force Britain, South Africa and Belgium, to expend as many forces as possible in the East African theatre of the war, so as to prevent such forces being deployed on the Western Front in France.

In this he succeeded, much to the chagrin of the British and General Jan Smuts, who was sent up to East Africa to embark upon a campaign that was politically fraught in South Africa and one which lasted much longer than anyone anticipated, especially considering the relatively swift demise of Germany’s other colonies.

Paice’s study, written in a racy style, has benefited from sources that weren’t available to Miller, especially Portuguese sources, and Paice has had the benefit of 33 years of subsequent scholarship to draw upon. The result is a gripping work of scholarship and narrative style, a combination which brings to mind the likes of Thomas Pakenham’s masterful The Boer War and The Scramble for Africa.

Paice takes us through a step-by-step account of the various episodes of the war – from the disastrous assault on Tanga in 1914, when dithering characterised the British approach to the war in Africa and Von Lettow-Vorbeck’s invasion of the borderlands of British East Africa, Kenya, from which he had to be dislodged before the campaign in Tanganyika could get started in earnest. The next big headache for the Allies was to take out the German battle cruiser Konigsberg, holed up in the Rufiji delta.

Eventually she was, but the captain, Max Looff, managed to remove the ship’s guns which were dragged hither and thither across the vast expanses of Tanganyika and proved a menace to the Allies. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Africa’s Forgotten Great War
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.