Lenin proclaimed that World War I was an imperialist war, and a number of imperialists would have agreed with him, though for quite different reasons. Many had warned for a long time that German ambitions from Morocco to the Pacific were a constant threat that would eventually have to be met. When war broke out in 1914, it came as no great surprise, and there was general agreement that a principal aim of the war was the defence of the Empire. Australians and New Zealanders, supported by their Japanese allies, seized the German colonies in the Pacific and China. In southern Africa an imperial force, largely South African, did the same with somewhat greater difficulty. In Mesopotamia, a larger campaign was mounted against the Turks, which brought rich pickings after the war. But none of these colonial campaigns were anything other than side-shows, and it was never doubted that Germany could only be decisively defeated and the Empire preserved on the Western Front.
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