Decolonization Following WWII - Elrick Social Studies
Transcript Decolonization Following WWII - Elrick Social Studies
WHY NOW? HASN’T COLONIALISM
BEEN GOING ON FOR A LONG TIME?
• Yes! The short answer is because of World War II. This was the first
time many colonial subjects saw “poor Europeans.”
• Surge of anti-colonial nationalism after 1945. Leaders used lessons in
mass politicization and mass mobilization of the 1920s and 1930s.
• Three major patterns:
– Civil War (China)
– Negotiated independence (India and much of Africa)
– Incomplete decolonization (Algeria, Southern Africa, Vietnam)
GLOBAL EVENTS INFLUENTIAL IN DECOLONIZATION
• Imperialism (1800’s)
• Growing Nationalism
• World War I (1914-1918)
• World War II (1939-1945)
• Cold War (1945-1991)
COLONIES AS OF 1914
WORLD WAR I
• Promises of self-determination- Remember Wilson’s 14 points?
• Use of colonial soldiers in trenches- First time seeing poor Europeans, vulnerabilities
• Locals filled posts left by colonial powers during war- Lack of structure
• Financial strain on empire- Colonies cost money
• Treaty of Versailles
WORLD WAR II
• Increased nationalist uprisings following WWI and as a result of the
• Costs of empire- It’s all about the money!
• US support of anti-colonial liberation movements- Remember selfdetermination despite being an imperial nation themselves
• Atlantic Charter (1941) “right of all people to choose the form of
government under which they live”
• Soviets condemned colonialism
ATLANTIC CHARTER, 1941 CHURCHILL
SIGNS FDR IS SICK
• Provided inspiration a blend of capitalist and socialist economies and agendas.
• Provided arms to those who sided with one or the other (proxy wars and arms races).
• Encouraged violent recourse for some as a result of the power politics of cold war
C H A I R M A N M AO
CHINA IN 1949
GANGHI ON THE
S A LT M A R C H
C A M B O D I A , L AO S ,
BRITISH EMPIRE IN AFRICA
END OF WORLD WAR II
• 1941: Atlantic Charter written by Roosevelt and Churchill, affirming all
other nations have the right to self determination.
• By the end of World War II, colonialism seemed to contradict the spirit
of the Allies fight against Nazi Germany and fascist Italy.
• Africans had fought in Europe and Asia for the Allies’ freedom and
democracy, and most noticed the contradiction.
WO R L D ”
Political cartoon, 1941.
A WO R L D AT WA R
Jagama Kello, left,
was fifteen when he
raised a force of
and led them
against the Italian
Ethiopia in World
I N WO R L D WA R I I
END OF WORLD WAR II
• Pan-Africanism: Movement in early 1900’s to support African pride and
decolonization of Africa. Early promotors included Jamaican Marcus Garvey to unite
all humans of African descent o support African culture and question West’s “civilizing
• In 1945, the 5th Pan-African Congress met and discussed the prospect of
independence. In attendance were a number of leaders who would eventually lead
W.E.B. DuBois (United States)
Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana)
Jaja Wachuku and Obafemi Awolowo (Nigeria)
Dudley Thompson (Jamaica)
Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya)
• In the years immediately after the war, several colonies had achieved independence
or were on the road to independence in north-east Africa– some peacefully, some
W. E . B . D U B O I S I N
END OF WORLD WAR II
• Started a new pan-African nationalism that
would spread throughout the continent
• In 1960 the United Nations General Assembly
passed Resolution 1514 that supported the end of
AFRICA UNDER COLONIAL RULE
• Africa under imperial rule
– Harsh treatment of African peoples
– Artificial borders
• Divided cultural groups
• United long-standing enemies
• Vestiges of the Berlin Conference
Africa’s Natural Resources:
Majority of world’s diamonds
Vast oil reserves
75% of world’s cobalt
25% of world’s copper
50% of world’s gold
33% of world’s manganese and uranium
• Immediately after World War II, France attempted to reassert dominance
– Violation of Atlantic Charter?
• The French saw violent reactions to this tactic in Tunisia and Algeria.
• Algerian Decolonization was especially violent. Frantz Fannon was an Algerian
psychiatrist who wrote about this effects of colonialism in his book, The
Wretched of the Earth. Member of the Algerian Liberation Front.
• He argues violence against the colonial power is necessary in decolonization.
He died tragically at 36 of leukemia in 1961 4 months before independence in
his country was reached. The US even flew him to Maryland for treatment.
• Fannon’s work influenced civil rights leaders like Malcom X in the United
States and Che Guevara in Cuba
• Though limited, the French colonies were given representation in
the French parliament in the Fourth French Republic in 1947.
• Despite a slight increase of advantages, most nationalists still sought
• Unlike other African colonies, Algeria was a settler’s colony
with nearly one million French immigrants.
• Clashes between white settlers and Africans would result
in the death of thousands before independence was gained.
FRENCH EMPIRE IN AFRICA:
• 1945-1958 – French Union – organization of French colonial possessions
• 1956 – Morocco and Tunisia independent
• 1958-1960 – French Community succeeded French Union – ended in 1960
with most French colonial possessions independent
• 1962 – Algeria independent
• Circa 115,000,000 French speakers in Africa (2009)
• Interaction with Europeans date back to the 1400s. What were
those interactions like?
• West Africans had adopted many elements of Western civilization.
• Early ties allowed more opportunities for education and
• Nationalists in West Africa drew from their own history and
• As a result, independence in West Africa was more “natural” (read:
slightly less painful) for both the Africans and European powers.
• Once Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast) became the first republic in
West Africa, the movements in neighboring British and French colonies
• Nigeria will become independent in 1960 and early on was pointed to as
an example of decolonization but the Biafran conflict and the role of
humanitarian aid complicates this.
• South Africa gained independence from Britain in 1910.
• White minority dominated political and economic institutions.
• Educated Africans began movements to gain power.
• The African National Congress (ANC) tried to reason with the
• In 1960, after a riot, the government instituted strict measures to
formally separate the races in a segregated system known as
• The colonies in central Africa were far less prepared for
independence in the material sense.
– Colonial practices had severely restricted access to education,
sanitary conditions, and public infrastructure
• Educational opportunities had been severely limited for Africans– in
the Belgium Congo, fewer than 120 Africans had a college
• In 1956, Belgium had only a vague 30 year plan for Congo’s
• By 1960, the Belgians had turned control over to Patrice Lumumba.
Twelve weeks later, the new leader of the Republic of the Congo
was deposed in a coup, and executed by a firing squad.
• Prime Minister Lumumba had hoped to reform the Congo and take advantage of its
vast natural resources.
• Two mineral rich provinces did not wish to be ruled by the republic and therefore
declared their own independence.
• When the U.N. and Western powers would not support the halting of the
secessionists, Lumumba turned to the Soviet Union, which sent military
equipment and advisors.
• Fearing a communist takeover, the United States encouraged General Joseph Mobutu
to take over.
• Over the years, Mobutu would be rewarded by loans and payments
from the West for his strong anti-communist rhetoric.
• As a dictator, Mobutu also embezzled millions of dollars, stifled
economic development, and oppressed his people.
• Rwanda had been colonized by the Germans and then the Belgians. They became independent
• The Belgians, in their scientifically racist minds had favored one ethnic group in colonial
administration (The Tutsis) over another (The Hutus).
• This racism created by European Imperialism lead to the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.
• Hutu nationalism grew during independence and in 1994 the Rwandan president’s plane was
shot down and he was therefore assassinated.
• Hutu groups then used state radio.
• Failures of Humanitarian Aid and non intervention- 800,000 estimated deaths.
• Presence of settlers prevented
smooth transition of power.
• Kenya (20,000 Europeans only)
led to violent revolt.
• Mau-Mau Revolt, 1952, led by
Kikuyus suppressed by British.
• 1963 independence granted to
black majority, led by Jomo
IN SOUTH ASIA
NEGOTIATED INDEPENDENCE IN INDIA
• Independence with little bloodshed in India and much of colonial Africa in decades following
World War II.
• Why? At what cost?
INDIA CASE STUDY BACKGROUND
• India and other Asian colonies were the first to establish independence movements.
• Western-educated minorities organized politically to bring about the end of modification of
INDIA: HISTORY OF THE MOVEMENT
• Indian National Congress party founded in 1885. (Elite group not
• Growth of Indian national identity- presented grievances to the
• Congress party attracted mass following which opposed shift from
the production of food to commercial crops.
• Gandhi and Congress leadership tried to prevent mass peasant
uprising (as was happening in China) by keeping power centered on
middle class leaders.
• Mohandas Gandhi and other western educated lawyers led peaceful
alternative. British Colonialism education, experiences in South Africa
• Nation-wide protest against colonialism through boycotts and campaigns
of civil resistance. This will late influence Dr. Martin Luther King in the
civil rights movement
• His efforts were not well received by the Muslims who formed a
separate organization in 1906, The Muslim League.
• Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Muslim League) insisted on partitioned state
(Hindu and Muslim).
CONTINUED INDIAN RESISTANCE
• Salt March, 1931
• Government of India Act 1935
• August 1947 Pakistan and
India gained independence.
• Mass killings of Muslims and
Hindus (1 million) followed
by mass migrations (12
million). (Gandhi fasted to
prevent war-> assassination)
• Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime
O R M Y I N T R O D U C T I O N B E T W E E N YO U
A N D P O S T- C O L O N I A L S T U D I E S
FALL OF EMPIRE: FALL OUT AND
• Colonial footprint,
• Problems of
• Problems of
CHALLENGES OF INDEPENDENCE
• Ethnic disputes
• Dependent economies
• Growing debt
• Cultural dependence on west->
religious revivalism as backlash
• Widespread social unrest
• Military responses to restore order
• Population growth
• Resource depletion
• Lack of middle class in some
• Education deficit and later, brain
• Neo-colonialism through economic
• Decolonization was sometimes a violent process- dependent in
large part on how many settlers had come to the colony.
• In many parts of world, decolonization was not revolutionary.
Power passed from one class of elites to another. Little economic
and social reform occurred.
• Significant challenges faced independent nations.
• Western economic dominance of the global trade system
continued unabated. WHY?