Autumn 2017 edition - page 18-19

and scorn from the ‘martial races’ towards the more
educated groups in India. The extent to which the
purpose of martial races theory was to consolidate
power may be questionable, but the categorisation
of these ethnicities’ worth to the British shows a
gross dehumanisation. What is also certain is that
the martial races theory put the lives of those con-
cerned at a much greater risk: the so-called ‘warrior
races’ were 3 times more likely to die in combat
than their white counterparts. This is due to the fact
that they were often deployed as ‘shocktroops’
and used in more dangerous, often hand to hand,
combat. The risk these troops were exposed to at
the hands of the British is horrific and must not be
forgotten if we are to understand the real history of
the FirstWorldWar; it was the idea that gathering
colonies meant gathering resources - natural and
human - that helped drive these nations into con-
flict.
Furthermore, many of the estimated 74,000
fallen Indian soldiers were perceived as having
'fallen in vain' by their fellow soldiers, and by those
back home. Instead of being granted dominion
status (an autonomy of sorts) following the war as
had been expected, the British struck again at the
nation that had given so many of its young men to
the FirstWorldWar. The Rowlatt Acts of 1919 ex-
tended rather than limited British control: increas-
ing censorship of the press; permitting the detain-
ment of activists without trial and permitting arrest
for treason without a warrant. The promises of
the British were left unfulfilled and, instead of the
Indian soldiers being hailed as instruments of India’s
independence, they were seen as traitors, who had
worked with India’s enemy. This is one of the main
reasons that there has been so little recognition of
India’s role in the FirstWorldWar up until this cen-
tury. The failure of Britain to recognise, commemo-
rate and reward India’s contribution immediately
after the war makes it all the more important that
we attempt to compensate in this centenary, and
right this great wrong done to the fallen.
One of the most shocking aspects of co-
lonial troops' experience inWorldWar One is the
recruitment methods used in the African colonies.
The French outsourced recruitment to African
agents, paying them per recruit and creating a
situation that was scarily similar to that during the
slave trade two centuries beforehand; in which
agents were incentivised to carry out raids on villag-
es for the most vulnerable in the communities: the
poor, orphans and younger sons. These people were
then forced into the army to fight on theWestern
front or on other battlefields. The British had a
similar policy and recruited a total of 70,000West
Africans. In Nigeria conscription and fear of it led to
a shortage of agricultural and industrial labourers as
they were enlisted or fled to escape. What is more,
when demonstrations took place in Nigeria in 1915
about conscription, the British opened fire on the
demonstrators, killing 200 civilians.
The horrible irony that these people were
viewed as human resources, infantilised, dragged
from their homes, killed when they expressed their
anguish and forced to fight and die for countries
who supposedly represented ‘liberty, equality and
fraternity’ and who claimed to be fighting to ‘vindi-
cate the principle that small nationalities are not to
be crushed, in defiance of international good faith,
by the arbitrary will of a strong and overmastering
Power’(H HAsquith) could not be crueler. The ex-
periences of colonial soldiers in the FirstWorldWar
can thus serve as one of the single strongest pieces
of evidence for European hypocrisy. If we are ever
to understandWorldWar One and race relations
today it is vitally important that the experience of
colonial soldiers is not merely an 'alternative per-
spective', but one of our foremost; in education and
in popular, contemporary representations that will
be prevalent in these centenary years.
Molly Foster 12A
The Civil Rights movement of the 19th
century strived for the equality of privileges and
rights for all U.S. citizens, and it marked a pivotal
point in African American history, not to mention in
history in general. Norman Rockwell was a prolific
artist best renowned for his later life works, which
depicted current social issues such as racism. ‘The
ProblemWe All LiveWith’ was painted by Rockwell
in 1963, and is often regarded as one of his most
symbolic pieces of his career.
Following the 1954 Brown vs. Board of
Education (which was essentially a catalyst for the
improvement of Civil Rights), measures to integrate
schools were put into action, as seen in the 1960’s
in NewOrleans. This painting is based on the story
of Ruby Bridges, who joined theWilliam Frantz
School on the 14th November 1960. The majority
of white people were against the decision to inte-
grate the school and so in response, many parents
transferred their children to other schools which
were yet to be desegregated. Those who decided
to let their children remain at the school jeered and
harassed six-year-old Ruby upon her entrance. She
had to be flanked by four Deputy US Marshalls to
ensure her safety.
Although Rockwell’s painting doesn’t en-
capsulate the entirety of the scene, he intended to
concentrate simply upon Ruby Bridges. His care-
ful composition of the piece, centers Bridges in
the middle of the canvas. His choice to cut off the
Deputy Marshall figures at the shoulders was also a
deliberate one, as he intended to keep them anony-
mous and subsidiary to the little girl. Despite the
threatening and unsightly backdrop to the picture,
Rockwell chose to dress Bridges in all white as a
symbol of her innocence and naivety. In doing so,
he also subtly places further visual emphasis upon
the segregation of the black and white communi-
ties, through his use of contrasting colours.
Although Rockwell created this controver-
sial image a little while after the actual event, his
reaction was and still can be considered a very bold
one, because a vast number of people were against
desegregation at the time.
Ellie Ladopouli 12K
Rockwell’s ‘RubyBridges’
‘The ProblemWe All Live With’
Norman Rockwell
17
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