Decolonization and the Rise of the Third World Where the Major factors leading to the first wave of decolonization in the 1950’s and 60’s Contents Page Introduction 2 History and origin of Decolonization 3 The Major factors leading to the first wave of 4 Decolonization in the 1950’s and 60’s
Conclusion Bibliography Introduction In Order that we may satisfactorily answer this question, we must first of all define what is meant by ‘Decolonization’ and how relevant it is when discussing historical factors and International relations of the world’s history, once this has been established and we are coalesced to the term used, it becomes quite clear that decolonization changed the landscape of world politics in the Third World.
We must also consider the History and origins of decolonization like its geography, ethnicity and other elements if wish to discover a complete picture of political events and actions. I shall this essay by defining the general case of decolonization and its impacts on world history especially in the third world and the major factors leading to the first wave of decolonization in 1950’s and 60’s. I will be looking at 3 major factors leading to decolonization, firstly the decolonization in Africa, decolonization in Asia and the Middle Eastern decolonization.
If we now consider the definition of decolonization as defined by John Hargreaves: ‘Decolonization according to Hargreaves ‘implies intent: the intention to terminate formal political control over specific colonial territories and to replace it by some new relationship into the hands of their colonial subjects, which will form as a long term process towards self government’ (Hargreaves, 1996, p. ), The process of decolonization after the Second World War was one of the most important political or perhaps the greatest consequences of world history, between 1947 and 1962 we witness a rapid widespread effort to dismantle the Europeans empires around the world, some of which had existed for centuries.
In 1945 European powers were in decline and nationalism was growing rapidly amongst the colonial subjects, British and European power experienced some major unexpected challenges at the end of the Second World War which left them financially weak to support expensive military overseas commitments but yet still relying on its empire to produce financial dividends.
Europe and the US as described by Vadney still claimed ‘most of the third world as colonies or protectorates, these included virtually all of South-East and South Asia, most of Africa, numerous strategically significant islands in the Pacific and some parts of the Middle East’ (Vadney, 1998, p. 88). However the great imperial powers were beginning to be weakened when nationalistic sentiments were growing in the colonial countries, there were significant domestic consideration that also played a part in this, leftist politics i. . Social democracy had no interest in empire either ideologically or politically, they were movement within this country that pushed for decolonization, this led to a number of European powers, at a very rapid rate to transfer the political authorities which they exercised into the hands of colonial subjects. History and Origin of Decolonization As John Darwin stated ‘the course and outcome of the second world war would have led to the rapid termination of the European colonial empires in Africa and elsewhere’ (Woods, 1997, p. 02). In 1945 they were only 51 recognised states according to the original membership of the united nations by 2006 they were already 192 united nations members in the world. The disappearance of the European empires was a political phenomenon not an economic one, the process of decolonization was articulated on compromise and collaboration with lengthy political and military struggle which made negotiation possible.
The political and military struggle was a very violent process that was impacted and fought within the context of the cold war. The nationalistic and social democracy movement within the colonial countries began to pursue decolonization. Various European countries began to embrace elements of social democracy and these movements became very important within European politics after the end of the Second World War.
The nationalist demand for Independence were also fuelled by acknowledging this very simple dynamic, which was while the European power were fighting against fascism during the second world war, they were in essence fighting for democracy by referring to the Atlantic charter and at the same time they were denying those same rights to their colonial subjects, this contradiction gave the nationalist more ammunition to continually press for decolonization.
According to Vadney ‘another factor to consider during the process of decolonization in the third world was the war between the Allies and the Axis, both sides relies on their colonial subjects to help with the war effort and this also spurred the growth of Nationalist and sometimes revolutionary agitation in the third world’ (Vadney, 1988, p. 93) . As described by John Darwin France the second greatest European colonial power had been crushingly defeated in 1940 in a devastating blow to the prestige usually thought an indispensable ingredient of colonial authority’ (Woods, 1997, p. 202). The Japanese victories in Malaya, Burma, Philippines and the Dutch East Indies during the Second World War showed the weakness of the European colonial powers to the third world and would encourage anti-colonialism and also demonstrated the capacity of a non white country to overwhelm the imperial powers of Europe and America. Decolonization in Africa
Britain wanted Africa’s decolonization process to be a gradual and transfer of power in order to protect and install democracy, but Harold Macmillan the British Prime Minster at time in his ‘wind of change speech’ to the South African Parliament “The wind of change is blowing through this continent. Whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact. ” (H. Macmillan, 1960, Wikipedia) This speech would mark dramatic change of political shift; he was suggesting the growing consciousness of nationalism in Africa was the Main force behind the speedy process of decolonization.
The Nationalist movements from the soil of Africa had crucially intensified the pressure on their colonial masters to accede independence. Liberation movements from all parts of Africa were becoming very popular with the masses which enable them to have influential powers. The western education of the movement leaders were put to good use by employing western liberal ideas which the colonial masters professed to uphold against their oppressors.
Kamuzu Banda led Central Africa Federation, Julius Nyerere for the Tanganyika Africa Union, and Kaunda continued with the campaign in Rhodesia where he pointed out the hypocrisy of the British signing up to Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948. The masses in the continent were becoming increasingly unhappy living under exploitation and oppression in the hands of the British government whose justification were based upon flawed and trite arguments accompanied by brute force.
An example of this was the Mau Mau 1951 rebellion in Kenya which gave an impetus for resentment because of the white farmer’s occupation of fertile soil of the motherland; the Kikuyu tribe dominated the Mau Mau group killing anybody who opposes them including the Kenya white community and the British government, the British launched a military campaign which was indeed successful, this led to the arrest and detention of Jomo Kenyatta a prominent Kenya nationalist and several tribesmen but this war proved to be an expensive military campaign for the British which made them doubt the validity of such and expensive war and as to whether such a policy would be repeated across Africa. This will contribute to Kenya’s rapid decolonization through KAU (Kenya Africa National Union) with its leader Jomo Kenyatta and the Pan-Africa Federation created with his counterpart Kwame Nkrumah; both were great and powerful orators capable of addressing the masses with their denunciation of colonial oppression and their continued call for freedom and land.
The western education of the movement leaders were put to good use by employing western liberal ideas which the colonial masters professed to uphold against their oppressors. Kamuzu Banda led Central Africa Federation, Julius Nyerere for the Tanganyika Africa Union, and Kaunda continued with the campaign in Rhodesia where he pointed out the hypocrisy of the British signing up to Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948. Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana was the first to achieve independence; this was an inspirational moment for the rest of Africa that strengthened Harold Macmillan’s so called “wind of change”, after 1957 we see the domino effect of as the early 1960’s saw Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia following Ghana’s footstep of achieving independence. Decolonization in Asia
Another major factor to consider leading to the first wave of decolonization will be the Asian continent, particularly the decolonization of India in 1947, as I have previously mentioned, the British Empire experienced some major challenges at the end of the second world war, because the first and second world war left it financially weak to support military oversea commitments. The relationship between Indian was ultimately about economics, India provided raw materials for British needs run by administrative boards of British Industrialization which means that Britain stops India from producing goods to compete with the British Markets. Indian had a thriving cotton textile industry before the British invasion.
The Indian cotton industries was being used for British raw materials and turn into cheap clothing in Britain and consequently exported back and sold to Indians, this was all part of Britain harnessing of the Indian raw materials for British benefits. Many Indians objected to this absentee capitalism that suppressed the Indian economy and they also objected to what they simply labeled the alien culture that disregarded their native culture. The independence movements in India were becoming more vocal about the plight of India; and resistance will eventually come from the Indian National Congress led by Mohandas Gandhi, this movement became the focus of resistance.
The Indian National congress was formed by Indians technocratic elite, they have been concerned by the racial issues inherent within the British absentee capitalist control of India. The main goal of the movement was to establish free and democratic Indian through political means. The tension between the Indian movements and Britain increase after the Second World War, the Indians provided valuable military help in the fight against Japan especially in Burma, Britain promised Indian independence once the war had ended, but Britain did not fulfill their promise, which led to a peaceful Indian protest led by Mohandas Gandhi, he turned the Indian National Congress from an elite organization of westernized Indians into a mass movement of resistance against the british. Process towards self-government
The Atlantic charter agreed by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in August 1941, intended as a demonstration of growing co-operation between Britain and America, the charter outlined principles of order for the post war world, which included the ending of further territorial expansion of other countries and recognition of the right of all people to choose their own government. There were significant disagreement about the definition of the charter, when Churchill served noticed to the British House of Commons that the charter only applied to the victims of Nazi aggression, Roosevelt refused, claiming the charter applied everywhere, Britain was pressurised to abide by the terms of the charter. This major disagreement reflected America’s interest in seeing the breakup of Europe’s empires. This proved an especial embarrassment to Britain when Afro-Asian Nationalist leaders including Nnamdi Azikwe (Nigeria), Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana) and Mohandas Gandhi (India) and other Afro-Asian radicals claimed it should apply to the colonies in the form of responsible self government’ (Wilson, 1994, p. 78) Bibliography Darwin, J. ‘Africa and World Politics Since1945’ in Woods, N. (ed) Explaining International Relations Since 1945, Oxford: OUP. Hargreaves, J. D. ( 1989), Decolonisation in Africa, 2nd ed. , London: Longman. Strang, D. (1991), Global Patterns of Decolonization, Vol. 35, No. 4: pp. 429-454. Tignor, R. L. (2005), The Cold War Dimension of Kenyan Decolonization, Vol. 46, No. 2: pp. 360-361 Vadney, T. (1998), The World Since 1945, 3rd edn.. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Winks, R. W. (1976), Decolonization and Informal Empire Vol. 81, No. 3: pp. 540 556.