During the first half of the twentieth century, European countries witnessed the arrival of hundreds of thousands of colonial soldiers fighting in European territory (First and Second World War and Spanish Civil War) and coming into contact with European society and culture. For many Europeans, these were the first instances in which they met Asians or Africans, and the presence of Indian, Indo-Chinese, Moluccan, Senegalese, Moroccan or Algerian soldiers in Europe did not go unnoticed. This book explores this experience as it relates to the returning soldiers - who often had difficulties re-adapting to their subordinate status at home - and on European authorities who for the first time had to accommodate large numbers of foreigners in their own territories, which in some ways would help shape later immigration policies.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Number of pages: 280
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
"Despite the seemingly omnivorous interest in the 20th century's two global wars, the role that the world's imperialized peoples played in these conflicts has been relatively neglected. This collection of essays considers the European service of colonial soldiers in the armies of France, Great Britain, and civil war Spain, and the special case of Moluccan soldiers settled in Holland. Many of the essays are based on oral interviews with surviving veterans, and examine European attitudes on the employment of imperial troops and the experience of these soldiers, including recruitment, utilization in combat, and relations with their European masters. The authors' efforts are of uniformly high quality and offer interesting insights-some expected, some surprising-on the workings of the European imperial system. Imperial powers were often reluctant to import colonial soldiers to Europe for racist reasons (no surprises here), but with few exceptions did not use these troops simply as cannon fodder. Much less well known is the degree to which the imperial powers, including Germany in its treatment of captured colonials, tried to accommodate the dietary and religious needs of these men. Bottom Line: an important acquisition for global studies and military history collections. Summing Up: Highly recommended."
--G. P. Cox, Gordon State College, in CHOICE
"This volume is valuable for several reasons. Most important is the fact that it includes essays about soldiers who served in the French, British, Spanish, and Dutch armies, and that its essays span several major conflicts between 1914 and 1945. (...) Colonial Soldiers in Europe is an important contribution to the literature, and will be of interest to military historians and colonial historians alike."
- Heather Streets-Salter, Northeastern University
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