Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type





This paper “’Their lot was a desolate village and starvation’: The Colonial Conquest, The First World War, and the African Population” examines the effect of military action in British and German East African colonies during the conquest period and during the First World War.1 German colonial efforts inflicted suffering on the African population during the conquest period that the British conquest of their colony in East Africa did not. However in order to be victorious in the fighting that broke out in East Africa in 1914 both the British and the Germans caused immense suffering to the populations under their control. That suffering is a reflection of colonial military policy. The paper consists of an introduction and historiography, which examines how the history of the First World War in East Africa has been written about. The first chapter is an examination of the pre-World War 1 history in the area, their relation to the African population through military recruitment, and the officers of the respective nation’s relation to service in Africa. The second chapter is a history of the First World War in East Africa investigating the Africans relation to the fighting. This work attempts to fill flaws in the scholarship by looking at the suffering caused by the First World War broadly, rather than presenting a more narrow view focused on just one of the sides or a single group.