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Lecture

HIS344 - November 1, 2011.pdf


Department
History
Course Code
HIS344Y1
Professor
Vasilis Dimitriadis

Page:
of 4
HIS344
Lecture – November 1, 2011
•last week thaw, reduction of friction between US and SU
•change of course in Russian foreign policy, rejection of Stalinism major departure from foreign policy of
past eight years – rejection of existence of two hostile camps
•Khruschev agreed to reduce tensions offered Americans number of concessions, proving his good faith
– sat down with Eisenhower to discuss German issue and disarmament
•Eisenhower too offered olive branch
•atoms of peace rejected
•open skies rejected
•tension seriously reduced
•just at moment that Americans may have had moment of triumph (poland and Hungary), British and
French carried out action of their own (Suez crisis) – ruined moral high ground of western world
•conclusion: showed SU as champion of underdogs, undeveloped world; Brit and French no longer great
power – blow to their prestige
clear-cut confirmation that Britain and France no longer mattered
•today: we look at the consequences of these developments
•first and most important consequence of suez crisis: new wave of decolonization took place in the third
world (specifically, in Africa where Suez canal located)
first wave after world war impossible for Brit and France to hold down entire empire, Middle
east took first steps too during this wave
after 1956, it was turn of Africa clearly the decline of Brit and France was great factor in that -
no longer supported by US, no longer great powers – opened up new possibility for subjugated
states to see full independence
ongoing cold war by 1956, for eight years at least you have serious conflict between US
and SU – this decade also demonstrated fact that no one could no longer ignore – world no
longer dominated by several great powers as it had been before but rather that it was a
bipolar world – one dominated by US, the other by SU – this confrontation and political
struggle for domination is new factor in decolonizations
•every newly emerging state was confronted by option whether to pursue US
support for independence of SU support for independence – second wave of
colonization applied almost totally to Africa alone
•Soviet union parted with foreign policy of Stalin Khruschev applied 'new look'
what did that entail? Idea of peaceful co-existence (was primary objective of new look
accommodation with US – terminate friction, allow each system to live by it's own rules, etc.)
in addition to that, Khruschev also did not renounce idea of cultivating allies for first time in the
new area – Middle East in general and black africa in particular – 'this is the only way to undermine
capitalism without challenging it, to undermine US without directly challenging them' – by
supporting development of new independent states, by supporting their struggle to gain
independence, we are striking blow at capitalism, limit markets of capitalism – if capitalism does
not have these markets, it means we will have them and our case will be improved – this was very
much confirmed by study written by former ambassador to Britain – wrote letter in December 1955
in which he claimed that the next arena of struggle was decolonization – every single state gaining
independence meant blow at capitalism (denying support and resources – in the end, this row of
states will strike blow in Europe – domino effect and eventually US capitalism will collapse as
well)
•when you have such an idea to avoid direct challenge but still challenge US in such a way, they were
alarmed – they recognized this approach of new foreign policy, recognized that by gaining support of third
world, SU is aiming at nothing by destruction of west and US in particular
•unlike americans, Russians never had same ability, economic assets to offer assistance to newly emerging
independent states – that being the case, the Russians had to make selection, couldn't do same thing as
Americans and offer money to entire continent so had to chose few states Russian support – by turning
these states into windows of socialism (three or four in africa), the very fact itself will drop the rest of the
continent – those states would become beacon os socialism and would make the rest of the continent to
follow their example
to achieve this, Khruschev also decided to create elite of these states by offering free university
education in them – by offering to help these states create their own intellectuals, they would help
these states stand up on their own
•US could not challenge SU because they had serious problems of their own that hindered their ability to
tackle SU challenge head-on - what were these challenges?
Recognition of Washington that Su did have a point France and Brit were imperial powers and
still at this point tried to hold on to remnants of empire – still tried to hold on to what they had – by
that being the case and the americans supporting both France and britain, they could not do the
same as SU – put US in difficult spot in terms of political and diplomatic developments – if they
supported independence movements, they would have undermined the very two states that were
seen as most important states of NATO in western Europe (in other words, they would at the same
time undermine France's and Britain's position and the very organization that they created) –
dilemma: how to support independence movements without undermining Britain and France – was
almost impossible to solve thus the americans decided to pursue a rather timid foreign policy – did
criticize the Brit and France but made no move to undermine their power in africa
Americans advocated need to allow these states (former colonies) to gain independence but only at
the right time – time had to be determined to be advantage of the west – to make sure no communist
would gain upper hand in these movements – also had to make sure that even when there was
resistance movement, only power would be given to the right people so timing as well as right
people was crucial to avoid any left-leaning or communist to come to power while supporting
independence movements in africa – this too a problem for america to decide – there were two
kinds of individuals that sought to achieve independence at cost of Brit and/or french (african
nationalists and african anti-colonialists – often overlapped) – some pursued independence because
they cared about nationalist goals, wanted own states – others were anti-colonialists which often
meant that they also had left-leaning programs (not necessarily communist) – difficult to
differentiate between the two
thus, difficult for americans to come up with clear-cut policy this situation further compounded
by development of third world in April 1955 – for first time, 26 newly emerged independent states
decided to hold conference in Indonesia – essence of conference was complaint that all these
emerging states were asked to follow either american path to development of soviet path and they
claimed this was unfair – instead world coming to their aid without any political conditions offering
support, they were asked to follow one or the other – most of criticism was addressed to the West
(the Americans) but eventually at end of conference, communism lumped in there with capitalism
and was seen as hindrance to independence of many states – this conference set stage for future
development of entire movement (non-align movement – neutral states)
complicated both SU task as well as american task because now these new states had
option – did not have to accept american or SU support conditions, etc.
SU still seen as champion of subjugated states so they still had easier task from
beginning, Russians never anticipated to support entire continent – this made is easier for
Russians to offer assistance to selected states
•Vietnam France losing; early 1950s in great stress in Morocco and Tunisia
in both states, independence movement of homogenous nature and both agreed to follow gradual
progression of independence – once war was over and Americans put under great stress to support
Arab nationalism then the Arabs would fall in with SU and turn against the US – the Americans
were already in bad books of Arab world because of their support for Israel
•African states not as advanced needed French support still
•1960 could not afford to fight African states - offered technical, administrative support independence
would be given but they would still be part of the French union
•French empire in Africa fell apart
•fact that France agreed to it so quickly because none of these states ever belonged to metropolitan France
african states had to be given up because were never part of France – France did not have power to fight
on without British support or US support
•by 1960, French empire ceased to exist
•Spaniards also had part of Morocco but having seen French evacuation/decision to allow independence,
spain could not hold on to it's own part and followed suit – evacuated their area
•Portugal very small state, still holding down humungous parts in Africa (angola) despite American
pressure, international situation – were hellbent to hold on – told American that Portugal would never give
up angola even if it meant a third world war
for Portuguese, Angola was more important than Berlin
eventually the Americans decided to pursue action by which they would support resistance
movement and would openly criticize Portugal in the UN and Europe but would not raise finger to
help resistance movement
goes against what they did to French in Morocco and Tunisia or to Britain in Suez
•for decade, Portugal managed to hold on (until 1970s)
•Belgium decided to follow footsteps of French and grant independence to Congo essence is that just as
Americans suggested – timing was crucial – in this case, happened under worst circumstances
•finally, the British too, even though they lost their colonies in other ares, were still adamant to hold on to
remaining empire in central africa – seen in London as issue of prestige – if they allowed last hold of
empire to collapse, Britain would be lost, would lose great power status and thus, they sought to hold on –
they could never do it militarily (would create backlash)
initially offered commonwealth status would mean British still leading state many states did not
want that so British decided to take different approach – multi-racialism – all states would be
allowed to gain independence but when power was transferred, it would have to be based on the
races inhabiting that state not on majority votes, basic element of western democracy yet the British
said no, this is not good (no one man, no vote) – knowing that black people would gain power – in
their system, blacks would have one vote, whites would have one vote, etc. - but since whites
formed minority, in parliament they would come to form majority (two votes) – everyone saw
through it and rejected this approach and demanded democracy (one man, one vote) and by early
1960s British realized that they could no longer delay the transfer of power unless they wanted to
end up like France in Algiers – agreed to transfer power and these states to gain full independence
– with that, British empire ceased to exist and thus the second wave finished by about 1963/64 –
by this point, there were at least 26 new states created in africa and almost all of them joined the
Indonesia conference and joined non-aligned movement – creating that movement did not now
mean that we had tri-polar world – these were still the poorest states and were dependent on aid
from US or SU – even though they formed a great bloc, they did not have diplomatic or political
prestige or power
•two very specific cases of decolonization both great tragedies classic examples of what could go wrong
– in first case, Algiers - prolonged session of granting independence, conflict lasting over a decade,
allowed Russians to come in and gain foothold on African continent; second, Congo, just as tragic, a
conflict that still goes on today because of these developments – is too quick a transfer of power that
created the problems
•Algiers French tried to hold on to empire had not so much difficulty giving up Tunisia or Morocco
(neither seen as crucial or strategic as Algiers nor were either part and parcel a part of France)
Algiers was far more a part of France since 1830, the others were protectorates
Algiers seen as one in the same provinces of French state
what complicated French situation even further was that unlike other French colonies, in Algiers,
more than a million French citizens lived there for decades if not a century – for French to pull out
of such a vital place was just beyond belief – in any case, for French was unacceptable idea
promise by atlantic charter of self-determination
France committed military heavily to Algiers no chance that French would give it up
•in 1954, FLN created and denounces gradual independence approach guerilla war, force hand of France,
make world take a position (hopefully on their side) – FLN must internationalize the conflict
Algiers not part and parcel a part of France two vastly separated people, separated by sea
how do you internationalize the situation the only way was to result to terrorism lashed our
against French citizens rather than french military – raised international awareness
to the surprise of all, conference of 1955 (Indonesia) FLN scored diplomatic coup by being
recognized as french delegation – given international recognition separating them from the French –
French thereafter suffered greater scale of attacks – ever since FLN recognized internationally,
attacks against French rose 300 percent