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Mau Mau Mau Navigation menu VideoMau Mau Uprising 1952-60 - Anti-British Rebellion in Kenya Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. Thus a detainee's position in Pipeline was a straightforward Club Live Arena of how cooperative the Pipeline personnel deemed her or him to be. The Africans were practicing it on themselves.
Mau Mau were the militant wing of a growing clamour for political representation and freedom in Kenya. The first attempt to form a countrywide political party began on 1 October Harry Thuku was the first chairman, but he soon resigned.
Author Wangari Maathai writes that many of the organizers were ex-soldiers who fought for the British in Ceylon, Somalia, and Burma during the second World War.
When they returned to Kenya, they were never paid and did not receive recognition for their service, whereas their British counterparts were awarded medals and received land, sometimes from the Kenyan veterans.
The failure of KAU to attain any significant reforms or redress of grievances from the colonial authorities shifted the political initiative to younger and more militant figures within the native Kenyan trade union movement, among the squatters on the settler estates in the Rift Valley and in KAU branches in Nairobi and the Kikuyu districts of central province.
His assassination gave Baring the final impetus to request permission from the Colonial Office to declare a State of Emergency. When attacks did commence they were fast and brutal, as insurgents were easily able to identify loyalists because they were often local to those communities themselves.
The Lari massacre was by comparison rather outstanding and in contrast to regular Mau Mau strikes which more often than not targeted only loyalists without such massive civilian casualties.
The Mau Mau command, contrary to the Home Guard who were stigmatised as "the running dogs of British Imperialism",  were relatively well educated.
General Gatunga had previously been a respected and well read Christian teacher in his local Kikuyu community.
He was known to meticulously record his attacks in a series of five notebooks, which when executed were often swift and strategic, targeting loyalist community leaders he had previously known as a teacher.
The Mau Mau military strategy was mainly guerrilla attacks launched under the cover of dark. They used stolen weapons such as guns, as well as weapons such as machetes and bows and arrows in their attacks.
In a few limited cases, they also deployed biological weapons. Women formed a core part of the Mau Mau, especially in maintaining supply lines.
Initially able to avoid the suspicion, they moved through colonial spaces and between Mau Mau hideouts and strongholds, to deliver vital supplies and services to guerrilla fighters including food, ammunition, medical care, and of course, information.
The British and international view was that Mau Mau was a savage, violent, and depraved tribal cult, an expression of unrestrained emotion rather than reason.
Mau Mau was "perverted tribalism" that sought to take the Kikuyu people back to "the bad old days" before British rule.
Not for the first time,  the British instead relied on the purported insights of the ethnopsychiatrist; with Mau Mau, it fell to Dr.
John Colin Carothers to perform the desired analysis. This ethnopsychiatric analysis guided British psychological warfare, which painted Mau Mau as "an irrational force of evil, dominated by bestial impulses and influenced by world communism", and the later official study of the uprising, the Corfield Report.
The psychological war became of critical importance to military and civilian leaders who tried to "emphasise that there was in effect a civil war, and that the struggle was not black versus white", attempting to isolate Mau Mau from the Kikuyu, and the Kikuyu from the rest of the colony's population and the world outside.
In driving a wedge between Mau Mau and the Kikuyu generally, these propaganda efforts essentially played no role, though they could apparently claim an important contribution to the isolation of Mau Mau from the non-Kikuyu sections of the population.
By the mids, the view of Mau Mau as simply irrational activists was being challenged by memoirs of former members and leaders that portrayed Mau Mau as an essential, if radical, component of African nationalism in Kenya and by academic studies that analysed the movement as a modern and nationalist response to the unfairness and oppression of colonial domination.
There continues to be vigorous debate within Kenyan society and among the academic community within and without Kenya regarding the nature of Mau Mau and its aims, as well as the response to and effects of the uprising.
Wunyabari O. Maloba regards the rise of the Mau Mau movement as "without doubt, one of the most important events in recent African history".
This earlier work cast the Mau Mau war in strictly bipolar terms, "as conflicts between anti-colonial nationalists and colonial collaborators".
Broadly speaking, throughout Kikuyu history, there have been two traditions: moderate-conservative and radical.
Bruce Berman argues that, "While Mau Mau was clearly not a tribal activism seeking a return to the past, the answer to the question of 'was it nationalism?
Philip Mitchell retired as Kenya's governor in summer , having turned a blind eye to Mau Mau's increasing activity. The British army accepted the gravity of the uprising months before the politicians, but its appeals to London and Nairobi were ignored.
Aside from military operations against Mau Mau fighters in the forests, the British attempt to defeat the movement broadly came in two stages: the first, relatively limited in scope, came during the period in which they had still failed to accept the seriousness of the revolt; the second came afterwards.
During the first stage, the British tried to decapitate the movement by declaring a State of Emergency before arresting alleged Mau Mau leaders see Operation Jock Scott below and subjecting six of them to a show trial the Kapenguria Six ; the second stage began in earnest in , when they undertook a series of major economic, military and penal initiatives.
The second stage had three main planks: a large military-sweep of Nairobi leading to the internment of tens of thousands of the city's suspected Mau Mau members and sympathisers see Operation Anvil below ; the enacting of major agrarian reform the Swynnerton Plan ; and the institution of a vast villagisation programme for more than a million rural Kikuyu see below.
In , the UK government accepted that prisoners had suffered "torture and ill-treatment at the hands of the colonial administration". The harshness of the British response was inflated by two factors.
First, the settler government in Kenya was, even before the insurgency, probably the most openly racist one in the British empire, with the settlers' violent prejudice attended by an uncompromising determination to retain their grip on power  and half-submerged fears that, as a tiny minority, they could be overwhelmed by the indigenous population.
Resistance to both the Mau Mau and the British response was illustrated by Ciokaraine M'Barungu who famously asked that the British colonial forces not destroy the food used by her villagers, potentially starving the entire region.
Instead, she urged the colonial forces guard the yams and bananas and stop the Mau Mau from killing any more residents. A variety of persuasive techniques were initiated by the colonial authorities to punish and break Mau Mau's support: Baring ordered punitive communal-labour, collective fines and other collective punishments, and further confiscation of land and property.
By early , tens of thousands of head of livestock had been taken, and were allegedly never returned.
On 20 October , Governor Baring signed an order declaring a state of emergency. Thus, while the moderates on the wanted list awaited capture, the real militants, such as Dedan Kimathi and Stanley Mathenge both later principal leaders of Mau Mau's forest armies , fled to the forests.
The day after the round up, another prominent loyalist chief, Nderi, was hacked to pieces,  and a series of gruesome murders against settlers were committed throughout the months that followed.
For the next year, the Service's A. MacDonald would reorganise the Special Branch of the Kenya Police, promote collaboration with Special Branches in adjacent territories, and oversee coordination of all intelligence activity "to secure the intelligence Government requires".
In January , six of the most prominent detainees from Jock Scott, including Kenyatta, were put on trial , primarily to justify the declaration of the Emergency to critics in London.
Native Kenyan political activity was permitted to resume at the end of the military phase of the Emergency.
The onset of the Emergency led hundreds, and eventually thousands, of Mau Mau adherents to flee to the forests, where a decentralised leadership had already begun setting up platoons.
By September , the British knew the leading personalities in Mau Mau, and the capture and 68 hour interrogation of General China on 15 January the following year provided a massive intelligence boost on the forest fighters.
Once gangs had been driven out and eliminated, loyalist forces and police were then to take over the area, with military support brought in thereafter only to conduct any required pacification operations.
After their successful dispersion and containment, Erskine went after the forest fighters' source of supplies, money and recruits, i.
This took the form of Operation Anvil, which commenced on 24 April By , Nairobi was regarded as the nerve centre of Mau Mau operations.
All native Kenyans were taken to temporary barbed-wire enclosures. Those who were not Kikuyu, Embu or Meru were released; those who were remained in detention for screening.
Whilst the operation itself was conducted by Europeans, most suspected members of Mau Mau were picked out of groups of the Kikuyu-Embu-Meru detainees by a native Kenyan informer.
Male suspects were then taken off for further screening, primarily at Langata Screening Camp, whilst women and children were readied for 'repatriation' to the reserves many of those slated for deportation had never set foot in the reserves before.
Anvil lasted for two weeks, after which the capital had been cleared of all but certifiably loyal Kikuyu; 20, Mau Mau suspects had been taken to Langata, and 30, more had been deported to the reserves.
For an extended period of time, the chief British weapon against the forest fighters was air power. Between June and October , the RAF provided a significant contribution to the conflict—and, indeed, had to, for the army was preoccupied with providing security in the reserves until January , and it was the only service capable of both psychologically influencing and inflicting considerable casualties on the Mau Mau fighters operating in the dense forests.
Lack of timely and accurate intelligence meant bombing was rather haphazard, but almost insurgents had been killed or wounded by air attacks by June , and it did cause forest gangs to disband, lower their morale, and induce their pronounced relocation from the forests to the reserves.
At first armed Harvard training aircraft were used, for direct ground support and also some camp interdiction. Some light aircraft of the Police Air Wing also provided support.
After the Lari massacre, for example, British planes dropped leaflets showing graphic pictures of the Kikuyu women and children who had been hacked to death.
Unlike the rather indiscriminate activities of British ground forces, the use of air power was more restrained though there is disagreement  on this point , and air attacks were initially permitted only in the forests.
Operation Mushroom extended bombing beyond the forest limits in May , and Churchill consented to its continuation in January Baring knew the massive deportations to the already-overcrowded reserves could only make things worse.
Refusing to give more land to the Kikuyu in the reserves, which could have been seen as a concession to Mau Mau, Baring turned instead in to Roger Swynnerton, Kenya's assistant director of agriculture.
The projected costs of the Swynnerton Plan were too high for the cash-strapped colonial government, so Baring tweaked repatriation and augmented the Swynnerton Plan with plans for a massive expansion of the Pipeline coupled with a system of work camps to make use of detainee labour.
All Kikuyu employed for public works projects would now be employed on Swynnerton's poor-relief programmes, as would many detainees in the work camps.
When the mass deportations of Kikuyu to the reserves began in , Baring and Erskine ordered all Mau Mau suspects to be screened. Of the scores of screening camps which sprang up, only fifteen were officially sanctioned by the colonial government.
Larger detention camps were divided into compounds. The screening centres were staffed by settlers who had been appointed temporary district-officers by Baring.
Thomas Askwith, the official tasked with designing the British 'detention and rehabilitation' programme during the summer and autumn of , termed his system the Pipeline.
The Pipeline operated a white-grey-black classification system: 'whites' were cooperative detainees, and were repatriated back to the reserves; 'greys' had been oathed but were reasonably compliant, and were moved down the Pipeline to works camps in their local districts before release; and 'blacks' were the so-called 'hard core' of Mau Mau.
These were moved up the Pipeline to special detention camps. Thus a detainee's position in Pipeline was a straightforward reflection of how cooperative the Pipeline personnel deemed her or him to be.
Cooperation was itself defined in terms of a detainee's readiness to confess their Mau Mau oath. Detainees were screened and re-screened for confessions and intelligence, then re-classified accordingly.
A detainee's journey between two locations along the Pipeline could sometimes last days. During transit, there was frequently little or no food and water provided, and seldom any sanitation.
Once in camp, talking was forbidden outside the detainees' accommodation huts, though improvised communication was rife. Such communication included propaganda and disinformation, which went by such names as the Kinongo Times , designed to encourage fellow detainees not to give up hope and so to minimise the number of those who confessed their oath and cooperated with camp authorities.
Forced labour was performed by detainees on projects like the thirty-seven-mile-long South Yatta irrigation furrow.
During the first year after Operation Anvil, colonial authorities had little success in forcing detainees to cooperate.
Camps and compounds were overcrowded, forced-labour systems were not yet perfected, screening teams were not fully coordinated, and the use of torture was not yet systematised.
Officials could scarcely process them all, let alone get them to confess their oaths. Assessing the situation in the summer of , Alan Lennox-Boyd wrote of his "fear that the net figure of detainees may still be rising.
If so the outlook is grim. It was possible for detainees to bribe guards in order to obtain items or stay punishment.
By late , however, the Pipeline had become a fully operational, well-organised system. Guards were regularly shifted around the Pipeline too in order to prevent relationships developing with detainees and so undercut the black markets, and inducements and punishments became better at discouraging fraternising with the enemy.
Most detainees confessed, and the system produced ever greater numbers of spies and informers within the camps, while others switched sides in a more open, official fashion, leaving detention behind to take an active role in interrogations, even sometimes administering beatings.
The most famous example of side-switching was Peter Muigai Kenyatta—Jomo Kenyatta's son—who, after confessing, joined screeners at Athi River Camp, later travelling throughout the Pipeline to assist in interrogations.
While oathing, for practical reasons, within the Pipeline was reduced to an absolute minimum, as many new initiates as possible were oathed.
A newcomer who refused to take the oath often faced the same fate as a recalcitrant outside the camps: they were murdered. Commandants were told to clamp down hard on intra-camp oathing, with several commandants hanging anyone suspected of administering oaths.
Even as the Pipeline became more sophisticated, detainees still organised themselves within it, setting up committees and selecting leaders for their camps, as well as deciding on their own "rules to live by".
Perhaps the most famous compound leader was Josiah Mwangi Kariuki. Punishments for violating the "rules to live by" could be severe.
European missionaries and native Kenyan Christians played their part by visiting camps to evangelise and encourage compliance with the colonial authorities, providing intelligence, and sometimes even assisting in interrogation.
Detainees regarded such preachers with nothing but contempt. The lack of decent sanitation in the camps meant that epidemics of diseases such as typhoid swept through them.
Official medical reports detailing the shortcomings of the camps and their recommendations were ignored, and the conditions being endured by detainees were lied about and denied.
While the Pipeline was primarily designed for adult males, a few thousand women and young girls were detained at an all-women camp at Kamiti, as well as a number of unaccompanied young children.
Dozens of babies  were born to women in captivity: "We really do need these cloths for the children as it is impossible to keep them clean and tidy while dressed on dirty pieces of sacking and blanket", wrote one colonial officer.
There were originally two types of works camps envisioned by Baring: the first type were based in Kikuyu districts with the stated purpose of achieving the Swynnerton Plan; the second were punitive camps, designed for the 30, Mau Mau suspects who were deemed unfit to return to the reserves.
These forced-labour camps provided a much needed source of labour to continue the colony's infrastructure development.
Colonial officers also saw the second sort of works camps as a way of ensuring that any confession was legitimate and as a final opportunity to extract intelligence.
Probably the worst works camp to have been sent to was the one run out of Embakasi Prison, for Embakasi was responsible for the Embakasi Airport , the construction of which was demanded to be finished before the Emergency came to an end.
The airport was a massive project with an unquenchable thirst for labour, and the time pressures ensured the detainees' forced labour was especially hard.
If military operations in the forests and Operation Anvil were the first two phases of Mau Mau's defeat, Erskine expressed the need and his desire for a third and final phase: cut off all the militants' support in the reserves.
So it was that in June , the War Council took the decision to undertake a full-scale forced-resettlement programme of Kiambu, Nyeri, Murang'a and Embu Districts to cut off Mau Mau's supply lines.
While some of these villages were to protect loyalist Kikuyu, "most were little more than concentration camps to punish Mau Mau sympathizers.
He noted, however, that the British should have "no illusions about the future. Mau Mau has not been cured: it has been suppressed.
The thousands who have spent a long time in detention must have been embittered by it. Nationalism is still a very potent force and the African will pursue his aim by other means.
Kenya is in for a very tricky political future. The government's public relations officer, Granville Roberts, presented villagisation as a good opportunity for rehabilitation, particularly of women and children, but it was, in fact, first and foremost designed to break Mau Mau and protect loyalist Kikuyu, a fact reflected in the extremely limited resources made available to the Rehabilitation and Community Development Department.
The villages were surrounded by deep, spike-bottomed trenches and barbed wire, and the villagers themselves were watched over by members of the Home Guard, often neighbours and relatives.
In short, rewards or collective punishments such as curfews could be served much more readily after villagisation, and this quickly broke Mau Mau's passive wing.
The Red Cross helped mitigate the food shortages, but even they were told to prioritise loyalist areas. One of the colony's ministers blamed the "bad spots" in Central Province on the mothers of the children for "not realis[ing] the great importance of proteins", and one former missionary reported that it "was terribly pitiful how many of the children and the older Kikuyu were dying.
They were so emaciated and so very susceptible to any kind of disease that came along". The lack of food did not just affect the children, of course.
The Overseas Branch of the British Red Cross commented on the "women who, from progressive undernourishment, had been unable to carry on with their work".
Disease prevention was not helped by the colony's policy of returning sick detainees to receive treatment in the reserves,  though the reserves' medical services were virtually non-existent, as Baring himself noted after a tour of some villages in June Kenyans were granted nearly  all of the demands made by the KAU in The offer was that they would not face prosecution for previous offences, but may still be detained.
European settlers were appalled at the leniency of the offer. On 10 June with no response forthcoming, the offer of amnesty to the Mau Mau was revoked.
In June , a programme of land reform increased the land holdings of the Kikuyu. This was coupled with a relaxation of the ban on native Kenyans growing coffee, a primary cash crop.
In the cities the colonial authorities decided to dispel tensions by raising urban wages, thereby strengthening the hand of moderate union organisations like the KFRTU.
By , the British had granted direct election of native Kenyan members of the Legislative Assembly, followed shortly thereafter by an increase in the number of local seats to fourteen.
A Parliamentary conference in January indicated that the British would accept "one person—one vote" majority rule.
The number of deaths attributable to the Emergency is disputed. David Anderson estimates 25,  people died; British demographer John Blacker's estimate is 50, deaths—half of them children aged ten or below.
He attributes this death toll mostly to increased malnutrition, starvation and disease from wartime conditions. Caroline Elkins says "tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands" died.
His study dealt directly with Elkins' claim that "somewhere between , and , Kikuyu are unaccounted for" at the census,  and was read by both David Anderson and John Lonsdale prior to publication.
The British possibly killed more than 20, Mau Mau militants,  but in some ways more notable is the smaller number of Mau Mau suspects dealt with by capital punishment: by the end of the Emergency, the total was 1, At no other time or place in the British empire was capital punishment dispensed so liberally—the total is more than double the number executed by the French in Algeria.
Author Wangari Maathai indicates that more than one hundred thousand Africans, mostly Kikuyus, may have died in the fortified villages.
Officially 1, Native Kenyans were killed by the Mau Mau. David Anderson believes this to be an undercount and cites a higher figure of 5, killed by the Mau Mau.
War crimes have been broadly defined by the Nuremberg principles as "violations of the laws or customs of war ", which includes massacres , bombings of civilian targets, terrorism , mutilation , torture , and murder of detainees and prisoners of war.
Additional common crimes include theft , arson , and the destruction of property not warranted by military necessity.
David Anderson's says the rebellion was "a story of atrocity and excess on both sides, a dirty war from which no one emerged with much pride, and certainly no glory".
One settler's description of British interrogation. The British authorities suspended civil liberties in Kenya. Many Kikuyu were forced to move.
Between , and , of them were interned. Most of the rest — more than a million — were held in "enclosed villages" also known as concentration camps.
Although some were Mau Mau guerrillas, most were victims of collective punishment that colonial authorities imposed on large areas of the country.
Hundreds of thousands were beaten or sexually assaulted to extract information about the Mau Mau threat. Later, prisoners suffered even worse mistreatment in an attempt to force them to renounce their allegiance to the insurgency and to obey commands.
Prisoners were questioned with the help of "slicing off ears, boring holes in eardrums, flogging until death, pouring paraffin over suspects who were then set alight, and burning eardrums with lit cigarettes".
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Mit welchen Karten und wieviel Personen spielt man Mau-Mau? More than 20, other Kikuyu were put into detention camps, where intensive efforts were made to convert them to the political views of the government—i.
Despite these government actions, Kikuyu resistance spearheaded the Kenya independence movement, and Jomo Kenyatta , who had been jailed as a Mau Mau leader in , became prime minister of an independent Kenya 10 years later.
In the ban on the Mau Mau was lifted by the Kenyan government. Mau Mau Article Additional Info. Print Cite.
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Save Word. Definition of mau-mau. Usage Discussion of Mau-Mau The term mau-mau comes from the name of the Mau Mau, a militant African nationalist movement formed among the Kikuyu people of Kenya in the s to advocate violent resistance to British rule.
First Known Use of mau-mau , in the meaning defined above.