February 21, 2024

HPAS/Allied Mains 2022 Answer Writing Challenge Day 41 : Model Answer

Question Explain how culmination of  the Second  World  War  resulted  in  decolonisation  across  many parts of the world. (8 Marks 120 words)


Understanding of question: Briefly mention the status of colonizers and the colonies before the World War II. Highlight the factors that emerged during and post-world war that led to decolonization process across the world. Conclude the answer mentioning the consequences of the decolonization 
IntroductionDecolonization  is  the  process  by  which  colonies  became  politically  independent  of  the  colonizers. Before the Second World War, Britain and France were the largest empires having major colonies in Africa and Asia. However, the setback caused during the World War II and the spread of nationalism in the colonies that gave stimulus to the process of decolonization: 
Main BodyCulmination of the world war and the decolonization process

a.       Setback to notion of European invincibility: An  Asian power – Japan- inflicted defeat on the Britain,  Holland  and France  and  occupied their  territories  (Malay,  Singapore  and  Burma).  This gave a psychological setback to the Europeans and boosted the nationalists in the colonies.

b.       Nationalist  Movements  in  the  Colonies: The  struggle  for  freedom  was  ongoing  much  before WWII  in  several  colonies  like  India  and  Vietnam.  However,  it  was  the  outcome  of  the  war  that gave final impetus for political independence in these colonies.

c.       Exposure  to  outside  world: Participation  in  war  exposed  many  Africans  and Asians  to contradictory  social  and  political  conditions  at  home  and  outside  world.  They  also  found  it ironical  that  they  were  fighting  a  war  to  free  these  European  countries  when  they  themselves could barely consider themselves free. This hypocrisy of Europeans was exposed by Gandhi and Nehru in India, Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana and Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya.

d.       European policies: In an attempt to assuage popular sentiments in the colonies during the war, European  powers made  promises  of  independence.  This  encouraged  colonies  to  expect independence  as  soon  as  the  war  was  over.  For  example,  the  British  government  promised  to give the responsible government in India.

e.       Military  and  economic  downfall: The  war weakened  many  European  states – militarily  and financially. They  lacked  military  strength  to  hold  on  to  their  colonies  in  the  face  of  really determined  campaigns  for  independence.  Also,  the  administration  of  these  colonies  became  a costly affair.

f.        Outside  pressures: The United States wanted the end of imperialism and colonialism because delay  in  granting  independence  could  lead  to  development  of  communism  in  these  colonies.  Further,  US  considered  these independent  colonies  as  a  potential  market.  Similarly,  USSR denounced imperialism.

Conclusion Between  1945  and  1960,  three  dozen  new  states  in  Asia  and  Africa  achieved  autonomy  or independence from their European colonial rulers.  There was no one process of decolonization. In some  areas,  it  was  peaceful,  and  orderly.  In  many  others, independence  was  achieved  only after a protracted revolution. 
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