The last of the trilogy is World War II, the Allies representing democracy versus the Axis of Evil. The Allies were Europe and America, and the stewards of evil were Germany, Italy and Japan. Let’s pause, and define Democracy;
“It’s a form of government in which power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their agents under a free electoral system.”
Obviously, democracy has a dual meaning because it’s not referring to Africans in America, Africa or the Diaspora, both victims of slavery and colonialism.
Whereas, in America, segregation was reinforced with institutionalized injustices, aided by Jim Crow laws, no voting rights and para-military groups such as the KKK and lynching were common. Additionally, Africans were colonized and were victimized in their own countries.
Is this representative of Democracy? The answer is obviously, No!
When the facade of Democracy is removed it’s clear why the Germans wanted control of Europe who held reign on the colonies. The imperialist precedent was set at the Berlin Conference in 1884. However, it was a gentlemen agreement, and no shots were fired.
Conversely, World War II was settled on the battle field because both sides needed raw resources to fuel their industrial complexes. For all intents and purposes, the war was fought over the colonies in Africa and Asia. Notably, this was a war among Europeans, and presumably the winners take all. World War II utilized more military equipment, created more destruction and more lives were lost as a result of the war than any conflict in recorded history. It concluded with the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Japan.
Unable to use the divide and conqueror technique among themselves, the Allies resorted to recruiting African Americans, Africans and Asians to support the war effort for the Allies. In that process, promises were made of equality in United States and independence in Africa and Asia. With these promises, They were successful in their recruitment campaign.
The principal colonizers, England and France sent troops from their respective colonies to participate in all areas of the war.
England having the most to lose, recruited from the Caribbean Islands, Africa and India. France at the time of World War II had many colonies in Africa that was persuaded to participate on their behalf. By the end of the war, one million African Americans volunteered or were drafted to fight for their so-called “Democracy” or a better way of life upon returning.
Even though they were still forced to operate in segregated units and did not fight alongside their white countrymen.
The ‘people of color’ expected prominent change and independence when returning from the battle field. Unfortunately, the promise of social change was silent and independence was ignored. At this time, the Africans and Asians would be considered the butt end of this joke.
Reviewing April, Fool’s Day through these three examples you’ll find Christopher Columbus Discovery of America is the most disturbing, not only did he caused the extinction of native Americans, once their population was depleted enslaved Africans were brought from the Continent.
At the beginning the forced transportation of enslaved Africans was only a trickle, then it mushroomed into a flood that manifested into the Transatlantic slave trade. From an African perspective, Christopher’s Columbus discovery was the most horrific April Fool’s Joke of all times.
Next, Abraham Lincoln freed the ‘slaves’. Whether they were free or not, was never the issue. It was whether or not the new territory when entering statehood be admitted as a ‘slave’ or free state. As a slave state the enslaved population would be factored into the Congressional calculations. On the other hand, a free state would not. Indirectly, the head count of the enslaved was the main issue, not their welfare.
The country arrived at a crossroad after completing their Manifest Destiny dream of extending the country to the Pacific Ocean. The dream became a reality with the Louisiana Purchase from France, and the spoils of war from Mexico. These new territories would eventually become states.
The south depended on slavery for their successes, and the north was prospering from the industrial revolution. Naturally, the south wanted the new states to be slave states, and the north opposed. This was the main issue of the civil war.
True, Abraham Lincoln deserves kudos for maintaining the Union but not for freeing enslaved Africans. In fact his first suggestion was to send them to Liberia. So, the idea that Abraham Lincoln was a great emancipator is not accurate and is analogous to an April fool’s joke.
When World War II was won, ‘people of color’ had great expectations but were greatly disappointed when they realized no change was imminent. It appeared to be another April Fool’s Joke.
However, time has a penchant for changing dynamics. Because, the wars aftermath gave birth to the civil rights movements formulating social changes and Africans gradually fought and won their independence, although, socioeconomic issues have yet to be addressed completely.
Nonetheless, this helped break the chain of colonialism in Africa and Asia.
At the beginning of World War II, the allies had full possession of colonies in both Africa and Asia. At the end, although bloody and costly they’re victorious, but they eventually lost all of their colonies.
The European’s World War II struggle over the colonies is one joke that backfired.
Happy April Fool’s Day
Sabamya Jaugu is a retired data communication technician who has dedicated his life to helping the community in different capacities. His current quest is to gather support to revise Black History Month into an African History Month.