The Great War in East Africa


Los Angeles, United States

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Wall Art

Artist's Description

This is a map originally made in 2008. It depicts the East African theater in World War I.

Unlike the Western Front in Europe and its war of attrition, the campaign in East Africa was a war of mobility and guerrilla tactics. It was a uniquely colonial war, with the German forces composed of local Africans commanded by German officers, and Allied forces composed of, initially, Indian, Baluchis, and Boer and English South African troops, and later the King’s African Rifles, black Africans recruited from East Africa. Tropical diseases and overwork and exhaustion caused far more casualties than bullets.

After the initial Allied assault on Tanga failed, the German commander, General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, harried and raided British East Africa for the following two years as part of his strategy to get the Allies to expend as many men and as much resources as possible to keep them from fighting in Europe. With all of Germany’s other African colonies having capitulated to the Allies by the beginning of 1916 however, the British launched an invasion of German East Africa which the Germans could not withstand. For the next two years, von Lettow-Vorbeck would lead the Allied forces on a wild goose chase through the mountains and jungles of modern-day Tanzania and Mozambique, only surrendering after hearing of the armistice being signed in Compiegne.

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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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