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AFRICAN HISTORY TIMELINE: World War II

by Jim Jones (Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved)

DATE EVENT
September 1939 Germany invaded Poland, starting the war in Europe.
1940 The Igbo Union was founded to represent the interests of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria. When it began to establish links with the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon, western Nigerians formed the (Yoruba) Egbe Omo Oduduwa association.
May 1940 African soldiers made up roughly nine percent of the French army prior to its defeat by Germany.
July 3, 1940 British ships sank most of the French fleet at its base at Mers el-Kebir, Algeria.
August 1940 Free French forces (i.e. anti-Nazi) from Congo-Brazzaville captured the port of Libreville in Gabon, French Equatorial Africa.
September 1940 Free French forces failed to capture Dakar thanks to resistance by the French Vichy governor Pierre Boisson.
October 8, 1940 De Gaulle arrived in Douala, Cameroon, from Dakar with a British escort. During the next two weeks, he sought French support in the colonies of French Equatorial Africa and received it from Félix Éboué, Governor of Ubangui-Chari.
October 24, 1940 The Franco-German peace treaty ended hostilities and brought the pro-Nazi French Vichy government to power.
October 26, 1940 De Gaulle reached Brazzaville, the capital of the colony of the Congo in French Equatorial Africa, and declared it to be the capital of the Free French.
early in 1941 The first British military landings took place along the Italian-occupied Somali coast.
August 14, 1941 The Atlantic Charter, issued by Britain and the USA, listed their reasons for opposing facism including "the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live."
November 10, 1941 African mineworkers in the Katanga region of the Belgian Congo went on strike for two days.
December 4-10, 1941 The strike by Katangan mineworkers expanded into a general strike.
November 29, 1941 The British completed the conquest of the Italian East Africa using troops from Kenya.
1942 The Wafd party accepted control of the Egyptian government following Farouk's dismissal of the pro-German minister.
1942 Under British occupation, Ismail al-Azhari formed the National Unionist Party (Ashiqqa) of Somalia.
June 11, 1942 The Free French won their first military victories at Bir Hakeim in the Fezzan region of Libya.
Late in 1942 British forces from Egypt captured Italian-ocupied Libya, while American and British forces landed in Morocco and Algeria.
1943 In Morocco, the nationalist Indpendence Party (Istiqlal) formed. That same year, the Somali Youth League formed in Somaliland.
January 25, 1943 Free French troops reached Tripoli, Libya and made contact with a British army from Egypt.
May 12, 1943 Allied forces advancing from Algeria captured the last Italian forces in Tunisia.
September 3, 1943 Italy surrendered.
1944 Sudanese students in Cairo founded the Sudan Movement of National Liberation (SMNL). The SMNL was outlawed, but later it provided the nucleus for the Sudan Communist Party.
1944 The first African mass party of the modern era was founded in Nigeria by Herbert Macauley and Nnamdi Azikiwe (president and general secretary), the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC).
1944 The Arab League was founded by Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
January 30 - February 8, 1944 The Congress of Brazzaville organized further resistance against facism and provided the promise of development (but not independence) for the French colonies after World War II.
June 6, 1944 The "D-Day" invasion of Normandy in northwestern France.
August 25, 1944 African troops were excluded from the Liberation of Paris.
December 1, 1944 Thirty-five African soldiers were killed by white troops at a French demobilization camp at Thiaroye (near Dakar, Senegal) when they protested the witholding of pay and other benefits.
September 1944 African soldiers in the Belgian Congo revolted and received support from both peasants and African industrial workers.
May 7, 1945 Germany surrendered.
Sepember 2, 1945 Japan surrendered.

SELECTED POST-WAR EVENTS
September 1945 The United Nations Organization was formed.
August 15, 1947 India and Pakistan became independent from the British Empire.
January 4, 1948 Burma became independent.
February 4, 1948 Ceylon became independent.
May 14, 1948 Israel became independent.
May 26, 1948 Elections in South African were won by the Afrikaner Nationalist Party.
October 1, 1949 The Chinese Communist Party, led by Mao Tse Tung took control in China.