Would this new text help shed more light on the role of Africa and Africans in WWII?

Africans played critical roles in the Allied victory over Nazism and totalitarianism in the Second World War. However, a palpable silence on Africa’s role in the annual commemorations of the war’s momentous events in North America and Europe speaks to a larger phenomenon of lack of recognition.

While there is no shortage of work on the Second World War, the focus is on Europeans, North Americans, and Asians. Except for a few recent monographs, Africa’s contribution to the war remains on the margins of the academic discourse on the subject.

This book moves Africa’s role from the margins to the center of the Second World War discussion. It asserts that the combat role of African soldiers was critical to the Allied victory in the war. Similarly, Africans’ non-combat role kept military and non-military supply lines open and whirring during the war and facilitated victory. Also of extraordinary importance was Africa’s economic role in the form of voluntary financial contributions, tax revenues, food production, export crop, and mineral production that partly undergirded the war effort. Not least, some African ports facilitated the movement of soldiers and war materials to disparate war theatres.


“Why don’t more people know about African participation?”

…charges $120 for a book.

Academia moment :grimacing:


I hope the book you reference collects the efforts of Rhodesians and South Africans, and notes that North Africa was covered pretty well by a number of academic references. There are also a number of academic sources for the issues the book claims are “forgotten”, including the “Journal of African History”, “Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East”, “Journal of Asian and African Studies”, and “Transafrican Journal of History” - at least two of these Journals have been publishing for over 30 years, and the last one for over 50 years.

A google search turned up a number of books that bear on the matter, most of which are not “a few recent monographs.” For instance: “Tales from the King’s African Rifles” (one of the three divisions of non South-African Africans 1988), “War Bush: 81 (West African) Division in Burma 1943-1945” (2001) “Fighting for Britain: African Soldiers in the Second World War” (2012), " The British Empire and the Second World War" (2006 - covers all ‘Empire’ troops, including non-South African Africans) , “Aspects of the Impact of the Second World War on the Lives of Black South African and British Colonial Soldiers” (Transafrican Journal of History, 1992), and “The Burden of Imperialism: Nigeria War Relief Fund, 1939-1945” (same journal - 1977), “Nigeria and World War II” (2020 - but is not a ‘monograph’ - Amazon $42) and “Africa and World War II” (2015 - Amazon $36.99)

… and that was 20 minutes of looking, with google.

Using Wikipedia, I learned that about 45,000 Nigerians served as soldiers in WW2, most of whom served in… Burma and India, where most of the ‘portage’ was done by locals. By comparison, South Africa contributed 135,000. Also by comparison, African-Americans serving in the US military was over 1,500,000.

… so I wonder how useful this (expensive) book is…

The publisher, “Africa World Press and the Red Sea Press” is based in Trenton NJ, by the way.