From Servicemen to Revolutionaries : Gold Coast Ex-Servicemen & The Post WWII Independence Movement
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The institution of Colonialism plagued the continent of Africa for the greater part of the 19th through the 20th century. In this project I will be focusing on the Gold Coast and their independence movement. But, more importantly, the primary focus will be on the experiences and contributions of the Gold Coast Ex-servicemen who fought under the British and how those led them to be primary leaders of the independence movement. The true experiences and contributions of the Gold Coast servicemen permitted them to be qualified enough to take leadership roles in the movement. Although they were not the only group to take strides in the progression of Gold Coast independence, the educational experiences of the intellectual elites did not take priority over the ex-servicemen's. Most ex-servicemen in the pre, inter and post-war periods were not literate, therefore their opportunities to gain ~n education and progress in_ society were minimal to non-existent, which made their experiences with the British more valuable than the intellectual elites because they were easier to convince and take advantage of. The goal of this project is to create an argument that is unique and to develop some originality. Most of the content that I have found has been focused on the contributions that the ex-servicemen made to the independence movement post-war as small players behind the intellectual elites. Other documents that have been found regarding this topic have briefly talked about interwar servicemen experience, but with the intention to give context, and not to make it a primary focus. Authors who have written on the Gold Coast independence movement have more so focused on the political aspect of the movement and its important leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah and J.B. Danquah. In which, the political parties like the United Gold Coast Convention and the Conventions People's Party have taken priority over the servicemen. If someone seeking knowledge about the Gold Coast independence movement were to google it, they would find out more about the intellectual elites than the ex-servicemen. So, the connection has yet to be made about how the ex-servicemen ignited the movement with the backing of intellectual elites. What adds relevance to this topic is that the' Gold Coast was the first sub-saharan nation in Africa to gain their independence and remove themselves from colonial rule. The Gold Coast gaining their independence created a domino effect for the rest of the continent to be liberated from colonial rule. The reason that the ex-servicemen were so important to the independence movement is because their personal interactions with the British during World War II caused and shaped their actions once they returned home. Unlike the intellectual elites of the Gold Coast, the experiences of fighting under the British created a strong sense of African nationalism and sense of urgency to rid themselves of colonial rule. In order to fully understand the importance of the ex-servicemen one must highlight their roles and experiences. In order to do so in the most effective way, I plan on separating this project into three different parts. The first part being the "Pre-war Period", the second part being the "Interwar Period" and lastly the third part will focus on the "Post-war Period" and the war I am referring to is World War II. Each of these sections will have their distinct topics regarding the progression of the Ex-servicemen's fight for independence and multiple subsections to make better sense of things.