Journée de l’Armée d’Afrique et des Troupes Coloniales
Translation: A Day for the African Army and the Colonial Troops
Charles Fouqueray, Paris, 1917


In early 1940, newspapers around the world began abandoning use of the term “Great War” in favor of a new title, “First World War.” Despite World Wars I and II being separated by more than two decades, the world began to see the two wars as one vast global conflict.

For those in 1914 however, there was little doubt that the war was a global affair. When France, Britain, and Germany declared war, they too committed their allies and colonial interests. Though the war is often viewed as a European conflict, soldiers from nearly every continent served.

Here, the contributions of African armies are celebrated by artist Charles Fourqueray. Over 2,000,000 Africans served in the war under the French, British, and German Empires. While most served as laborers, many were sent to fight. France alone deployed more than 480,000 colonial soldiers to fight in Europe, drawing heavily from French West Africa and Algeria.