This article focuses on the Thiaroye massacre on 1 December 1944. Senegalese tirailleurs returning from Europe were killed by their officers simply for claiming the money they were owed. In this article I do not focus on the course of events, nor even on their political consequences, but rather on the way the events were explained by French authorities just after the tragedy. I take as my subject the biographies of several figures from the French state who were involved in the narration of these events. I try to see how these men were socialised in similar spaces. I am more specifically interested in the methods used by these administrations to write about the massacre. This article helps to better understand the French imperial state and the violence in the colonies and the link between military violence and political violence.