“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

–Douglas MacArthur

 

A recruiting poster the

British authorities used in

India for motivating people to enlist for the war.

 

100 years ago, on 11th November, the World War I ended. This year, the 11th November marks 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the war that lasted for almost 4 years. During the war, it was important for the European powers to keep the colonial structures even on the battlefields. Soldiers from over 50 countries fought battles on the West front, many brought from the colonies of the superpowers of the time. More than 4 million non-European non-white soldiers and auxiliaries were enlisted. For instance, British imperialist had recruited up to 1.4 million Indian soldiers. France enlisted nearly half a million troops from its colonies in Africa and Indochina.

When the American president Woodrow Wilson claimed that the United States was fighting the war for a better world, he was trying to undercut the Bolshevik claims that the war was a struggle among the imperial powers to gain more territories in the form of spoils of war. While the great war is often depicted as an unexpected catastrophe by the mainstream historians of the then colonisers, many on the left thought that “greed for colonies” was the single most factor that sparked the war.