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
|Decolonization 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:
|Culmination 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.
|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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