From August to November 1940, the territories of French Equatorial Africa rallied to Charles de Gaulle’s self-proclaimed Free French government in London, rather than the Vichy government set up after the German defeat of France in June. While this episode concerns European actions in European-ruled colonies, African actors pervade the story, especially as soldiers. Africans constituted the indirect audience of all the rallies by living in the territories whose policies were affected. Africans served as actors in the role of soldiers. As soldiers, African actors exhibited agency both in actions taken during operations and by their presence in the colonial military. African audiences also demonstrated agency in their responses to actions in the rallies and circumstances around them, though their exclusion from many public forums limited the extent to which they could influence policy or document their efforts. Though Africans did not direct the rallies in AEF, they significantly influenced the outcomes within the constraints set up by the colonial system.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Dr. Eric Reed
Diplomatic History | European History | European Languages and Societies | Political History
Reeves, Mark, "African Agency in the Rally of French Equatorial Africa, August-November 1940" (2012). Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 354.