The Lion of Africa - Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck

While African colonial holdings were supposed to be neutral during the Great War, German military leader Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck used them as a pawn in World War I. Initially seen as a German hero, historians are reconsidering von Lettow-Vorbeck in light of his racism and anti-Semitism. Yet, he turned down Adolph Hitler when asked to be part of the Third Reich—all part of his contradictory story the engaging video biography covers to further explore figures of the Great War.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Examine Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck's military career to consider how colonialism in Africa affected World War I's outcomes
  • Pair with other resources to show the effects World War I had on Africa
Classroom Considerations
  • Part of a larger series called Who Did What in World War I?
  • Video presumes a detailed understanding of the Scramble for Africa
  • Intriguing photographs hold students' interest
  • Connects the colonial era to the Great War
  • Uses extremely strong profanity
Common Core