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Friday, June 7, 2013

World War II, Axis, Vichy France, and 1944 Brazzaville Conference

The 1944 Brazzaville conference started the ball rolling for the year 1960 independence of 17 Sub-Saharan African countries and 14 French colonies.


The year 1960 witnessed the independence of 17 Sub-Saharan African countries and 14 French colonies in part to the French defeat by Germany in 1940 World War II. January 30 to February 8, 1944 the Brazzaville Conference took place headed by Charles De Gaulle general of the Vichy France also known as the French State.


The Brazzaville conference or Conférence Africaine Française took place because in 1940, Germany defeated France and the status of French colonies came into question since France was now split into Vichy France in the unoccupied Southern region and the Axis of Germany, Japan and Italy occupied northern region of France. Vichy France’s Chief of State from 1940 to 1944 was a French World War I hero, Philippe Pétain who was later tried for treason. Germany enslaved millions French soldiers in Germany as forced laborers and enforcers for the Axis of Germany, Japan and Italy anti-Jewish, and political enemies policies.


French African Colonial Infantryman
In January 1944, Vichy France politicians and high-ranking colonial officials from the French African colonies met in Brazzaville, in present-day Congo. Brazzaville was chosen to host the conference due to the loyalty of the African colony brave fighting tirailleur or infantryman and the highly esteemed Governor general Félix Éboué. Vichy France recognized the need to revise the relationship between France and its colonies in Africa. During the Brazzaville conference, General de Gaulle suggested that it was time for France to take “the road of a new era” but he did not, would not discuss independence for French ruled Africa. The Brazzaville conference began the discussion of French decolonization and approved the legal ending of the native code or the Code de l'indigénat. The native code was a set of laws assigning an inferior legal status for African natives of French Colonies. The 1944 Brazzaville conference started the ball rolling for the year 1960 independence of 17 Sub-Saharan African countries and 14 French colonies.

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