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Lecture 11

Lecture 11-Cold War and Decolonization.docx

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Carleton University
HIST 1707

History Lecture 11 Cold War and DecolonizationThe Berlin wall was taken down in November 1989 Its something we always refer to because it didnt actually come down They let people cross it and people could climb on it and party on it It was a revolution that ultimately resulted in the collapse of the Soviet Union The US won and Capitalism won The end of the cold war had a profound effect across the world especially in the colonial world What happened was with the end of the Cold War the colonies were no longer of interest to the superpowers They lost their political appeal and they found themselves essentially overnight irrelevant They had no more funding and political support and the rivalry was replaced with complete indifference This abandonment of colonial interest is especially prominent in the Horn of Africa As soon as the war ended both sides dropped all support for Ethiopia and Somalia The powers no longer having to support the client war turned their attentions elsewhere The US started to focus on the War on Terror and that has continued right up till now The bright side is that the dictators who were propped up by Washington and the USSR had no means of enforcing their rule and the political situation changed positively in some colonies That doesnt stand true for all of them As we talked about last week the process of throwing off the yoke of colonial rule in Asia and Africa started right after WW2 By the midseventies most of the world was liberated This was at the exact same time as the cold wars escalation They influenced each otherIn another way its coming full circle back to the colonial scramble in the Berlin Conference in the 1880s where the Europeans talked about how they were going to split up Africa In some ways decolonization was very similar It was poorly planned rushed and equally complex in how it placed out and its consequences There are three main reasons for decolonization First colonial subjects wanted decolonization and independence and they began working for it Second WW2 led to a decline in the capacity of Europeans to resist Third European powers decided it was in their best interests to let their colonies goThe desire to escape the rule of European powers spiked after WW2 Colonies were furious ndwith how Europe behaved after the 2 war The war was hugely costly in both life and money and the West was putting forward democratic rhetoric They said that it was antidemocratic and racist and that the fascists were evil This was the ideology that Africans and Asians heard and experienced And after the war Europeans started tightening their grip on their territory The colonizers were working even harder after the war than they were in the 30s as a means of stopping the spread of communism and recovering their economies Britain had fought off the Nazis alone in the battle for Berlin and other economies like France took a beating So all these powers saw the colonies as very important to the process of rebuilding their economies They saw them as even more vital as commercial territory They saw them as potentially valuable sources of the usual stuff cheap labour resources and captive markets This was of course incredibly hypocritical It further eroded any respect colonized people had for their colonizing masters
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