Then if you'll forgive me for butting in, I will offer up a few more bites. Taking elements of history we can twist them slightly to become more Crimson Sky-ish!
In 1933, in our world, France controlled slightly over 34% of the total African continent. This is a very huge thing, making France of the time, the third largest Empire in the world, only behind Britain and Russia. Of course, in Crimson Skies, Russia is broken roughly into thirds right now (1933 game time). But all is not easy for France! The Congo Basin:
The Pende peoples of Gabon-French Congo and the Belgian Congo are in open revolt. Govt officials cannot travel safely without an armed military escort in that region. France's enemies could be arming and equipping the Pende or negotiating for secret airfields in Pende controlled territories. While most of the greater Congo area remains safe for common folks, anyone with authority will need to be constantly on guard for fear of being kidnapped or murdered. Italian (And maybe other nations too) mining companies were suspected of inciting rebellion in hopes of gaining rights and access to the mineral and resource rich Congo basin. The French seemed barely aware of the great mineral wealth in the Congo, but the neighboring Belgians were certainly taking advantage of their colonial possessions. Belgian's living in Congo, by law, had no voting privileges or right to voice any political opinions. Prisoners (Mostly of Dutch decent) sent from the homeland were given control of native work parties and allowed to live free but were never allowed to return home. Most Belgian Govt officials responsible for ruling the Congo, did so from their desks in Brussels, issuing commands and proclamations on lands that many of them had never seen. The nation wanted the wealth that the Congo was capable of producing, but they wanted nothing to do with anyone tainted with the Congo stigma. As a result, the locals and colonials, forced to live by "Strict Apartheid", endured horrendous conditions and legally could not even complain about it. A slowly growing number of Dutch renegades began to side with and eventually join the Pende rebels. From a CS point of view this makes awesome fuel for conflict!Middle Africa:
French Equatorial Africa or The Federation of French Colonies (Officially included Gabon & French Congo) is the area to the north of the Congo Basin to the Sahara Desert. In these lands things were much better for France and her subjects, the local Govt's were very loyal and very well treated. If a Frenchman has a safe haven in Africa then it is here, and so by extension, if there are major French airbases or industrial zones, they will be here. Indeed, the major political movement of the region in 1933 was for full French Citizenship and Statehood rather than the Colonial Protectorate (Departmental) status they were existing under. Germany has historically been whittling out pieces of Middle Africa and has succeeded in taking several smaller regions through political and legal (Court) actions.
Italian East Africa will not exist by that name until 1936 when Italy invades Ethiopia and slaughters 30,000 civilians. Prior to that they held the colonies of Italian Somaliland and Italian Eritrea which will later be incorporated into Italian East Africa. For story purposes though, you can fudge history a few years! During this era they had there noses in EVERYTHING that happened in Africa, always looking for opportunity.
I am certain that Cyagen
can give us better insight into French affairs of that era, hopefully he will chime in here!