Time of Remembrance & Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War (8 - 9 May)

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World War II (often abbreviated to WWII or WW2), also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, though the conflicts began earlier. The Second World War (World War 2) lasted from 1939 to 1945. It was fought in Europe, in Russia, North Africa and in Asia. 60 million people died in World War 2. About 40 million were civilians. Children as well as adults were affected by the war. This site will tell you what the war was like for children, mainly in Britain but in other countries too.

Nearly every country in the world participated in World War II, with the exception of a few countries that remained neutral.

During the war, Kenya was one of the single most important recruiting grounds for the British Army in Africa. During the course of the war, 98,240 Kenyans were recruited as Askaris into the King's African Rifles (KAR), representing 30% of the unit's total strength. The vast majority of soldiers from Kenya, of whom most were volunteers, were overwhelmingly black, however the policy of racial segregation in the British Army meant that they were commanded by white officers and NCOs. Blacks were not able to rise above the rank of Warrant Officer.

Kenyan soldiers served in the successful East African Campaign against the Italians, as well as the invasion of Vichy-held Madagascar and the Burma Campaign against the Japanese, alongside troops from west Africa. Kenyans also served in the Royal Navy and some individuals also served in the Royal Air Force.

Many Africans faced the following challenges as a result of the WW2:

  1. They fought in a war they did not understand
  2. Many who volunteered were Africans
  3. African soldiers faced a lot of racial discrimination in terms of promotions, rights to vote, denial travel passes
  4. Had cultural shock  in countries where they went to fight
  5. They shed their blood for rights to equal treatment and later come home to fight the colonialist

Compiled by Grace C. Sitienei  - University of Nairobi Library

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_by_country#Kenya, http://www.un.org/en/events/remembranceday/