Book Review: Nigeria and World War II: Colonialism, Empire, and Global Conflict


by Chima J. Korieh

Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020. Pp. xii, 300. Illus., maps, tables, notes, biblio., index. $39.99. ISBN: 1108425801

An African Colony at War

While the roles of the Commonwealth and of India in supporting Britain during the Second World War are well known, that of Britain’s colonies in Africa, and elsewhere, has only recently begun to attract serious attention. In this work Professor Korieh (Marquette), a specialist in West African history, takes a look at the contribution to the war effort made by Nigeria, by far Britain’s largest colony after India.

Nigeria’s contributions to the British war effort were extensive. Some 45,000 Nigerian troops, both volunteers and forced recruits, campaigned in Italian East Africa in 1940-1941 and Burma in 1943-1945. In addition, individual Nigerians and tribal groups made substantial financial contributions to the war effort, while the colony’s resources and nascent industries supplied vital materials.

Korieh notes that support for the war had mixed roots, some Nigerians having bought into the idea of empire, while others considered the British the lesser of evils, and some opposed participation entirely. The war had some positive effects on Nigeria, such as expansion of infrastructure. Perhaps most important, in the war’s aftermath many of those who had served came to support independence, a phenomenon found in other colonies as well.

Nigeria and World War II offers a good overall look at Nigeria’s “national” role in the war, but Korieh’s account of the colony’s military contribution is essentially introductory.



Note: Nigeria and World War II is also available in several e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

Buy it at



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close