First page Back Continue Last page Overview Graphics
What role did Empires play in WW1?
In 1914, When Britain and France went to war, their empires automatically followed them.
- Both the British and French depended heavily on manpower from their colonies
- The Indian Army alone was the biggest army in the world in 1914
- Provided front line soldiers in a variety of fronts (including Western Front).
- Provided manpower to build trenches, fortifications and conduct repairs.
- The Empires provided food, raw materials and fuel to allow Britain and France to continue fighting for 4 long years.
- Taxation and Bonds
- Despite often being poor, colonies still provided funds to Britain and France to allow them to wage war. These funds could come from taxes or from people who were encouraged to buy bonds from their own savings.
- Many colonies were used as staging areas to wage war against Germany, the Ottoman Empire and their colonies.
- Naval Bases were established in colonies all over the world to destroy or impound German shipping or as a safe haven for allied ships.