How colonial violence came home: the ugly truth of the First World War

The Great War is often depicted as an unexpected catastrophe. But for millions who had been living under imperialist rule, terror and degradation were nothing new. 

Today on the Western Front,” the German sociologist Max Weber wrote in September 1917, there “stands a dross of African and Asiatic savages and all the world’s rabble of thieves and lumpens.” Weber was referring to the millions of Indian, African, Arab, Chinese and Vietnamese soldiers and labourers, who were then fighting with British and French forces in Europe, as well as in several ancillary theatres of the first world war.

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The article was originally published in The Guardian.

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