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#19: End of European Empires.pdf

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University of Toronto St. George
Doris Bergen

END OF EUROPEAN EMPIRES DECOLONIZATION AND THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM INTRODUCTION •The enormity of the transformation captured under this oblique term, decolonization •In the decades after WW2, European empires were dismantled rapidly •Europeans were forced to give up their hold on territories they had claimed, colonized, and controlled This process meant the emergence of scores of newly independent countries • •Much of this process was concentrated in the 1960s — in 1960 alone there were 18 new nations that appeared on the map •It was a change to peoples’ lives •Decolonization — the term implies the reverse of colonization as if both process were controlled by Europeans •Decolonization, or the gaining of independence, was not something that was granted by Europeans to the rest of the world — it had to be fought for and won •Decolonization was different in all cases B ATTLE OFA LGIERS •The most powerful anti-colonial statement on film •Algeria gained independence from France in 1962 •Based on the memoirs of the leaders of the National Liberation Front, Saadi Yacef •Used all non-actors R OAD TO INDEPENDENCE Factors that contributed to independence and the wars of independence — both • world wars, indigenous nationalist movements, and the force of violence W ORLD W ARS W ORLDW AR I •WWI did not end imperialism, but expanded it •The collapse of the Ottoman Empire meant that territories in the Middle East and North Africa fell under European control In other cases German holdings were taken over by other European powers • •WWI did provide that rhetoric of national self-determination that became quite important to nationalists movements during the inter-war period — for example Gandhi’s independence movement in India •Techniques that would later become important emerged in the period after WWI W ORLDW AR II •Decolonization really took affect after WWII •A number of ways in which WWII related to this change in colonization Large numbers of men from European colonial territories participated in the war • — these men returned to their homes with certain expectations and experience in training with arms END OF EUROPEAN EMPIRES DECOLONIZATION AND THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM • The experience of combat in WWII was very important for preparing the way to wars of independence — provided a threat for potential war • In East and Southeast Asia the expansion of the Japanese Empire had pushed out many of the European colonial rulers as the Japanese were in control of these territories • Westerners were displaced not by indigenous independent movements, but by Japanese occupiers — the Europeans had to fight to retain them or admit their losses • Japanese had used the language of the Asian cultural sphere — a language that promised the involvement • The first wave of independence came in Asian territories • Ho Chi Min’s Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Vietnam in 1945 • Everyone deserves freedom based on the Rights of Man • The French have violated humanity and politics — enforced inhuman laws • French withdrew from Indochina in 1954 • Vietminh INDIGENOUS NATIONALIST M OVEMENTS • The importance of a number of African and Asian leaders who had fought in Europe during the war — they brought with them traditions and languages to Europe, but also back home connections with European ideas and professions • Linked to a particular individuals or group of individuals played a crucial role not only in winning independence, but in shaping the future of the society • Kwame Nkrumah — a Ghanian statesman • Cited as the founder of pan-A
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