Comparing the effects of WWI on Africa, Latin America and the Pacific Islands

Essay by adanr262046 February 2005

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While World War I is thought to have most greatly affected Germany and the surrounding European countries, it did in fact, damage other areas nearly as much. Africa, Latin America, and the Pacific Islands all suffered from the first great World War.

The First World War did not only cause negative effects. Africa, one nation that was very war torn, did benefit in small ways from the war in terms of relationships with other countries. "World War I gave rise to a crucial change in the relationship between Africa and Europe." Although, through this war, England and Africa had a closer knit relationship, the devastation which the war caused was to a much greater scale than the progress. After the war, more than 2 million Africans had been slain, often in the process of making sacrifices for the British troops. Eastern Africa, losing the most men in battle, at 100,000 dead, was just as horrible as the death toll of 65,000 in French North Africa and West Africa.

Following the end of the war, approximately 2% of the African population died in an influenza outbreak.

According to an African American historical society, "World War I had a general negative influence on the trade and development of Africa". This statement is true, considering the fact that the price of all commodities went up in Africa following the war, the economy stalled, and the poverty rate became worse than ever. The Pan African Congress stated that "The shabby treatment of African and Caribbean people in Britain prompted a large number to return home, disaffected, but also politicized and radicalized." The Great War caused trading to cease with many countries, including Germany, one of Africa's main trading partners at the time. Though many missionaries and campaigns for Christianity had been prospering...