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Sub-Sahara Africa & Decolonization. Decolonization and the Third World. The Third World consisted of nations in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East that had: lagged behind countries in the West in economic and political development

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Decolonization and the third world
Decolonization and the Third World

  • The Third World consisted of nations in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East that had:

    • lagged behind countries in the West in economic and political development

    • or had been kept under the political and economic thumb of foreign powers

    • or had been directly colonized.

Factors leading to decolonization
Factors Leading to Decolonization

  • After World War II, decolonization and national liberation became major agents of change in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

  • After the world struggle against dictatorship, many leaders argued that no country should control another nation.

  • Others questioned the high cost and commitment of holding colonies.

  • Nationalist movements among native peoples.

Internal challenges
Internal Challenges

  • Tribal allegiances

  • Under developed education system

  • No tradition of ongoing political leadership in modern times

  • Religious differences

  • Diverse geography and climate

  • Established social hierarchies

Polygenic theory
Polygenic Theory

  • Polygenism is a theory of human origins positing that the human races are of different lineages.

  • What does this mean?

  • Who thought this way?

  • Why is it important to Africa?

  • 1700s through early 1900s - White European “scientists” declare there to be several different species of human in which Caucasian people were at the top of in terms of evolutionary development.


Effect of wwii
Effect of WWII

  • Post-WWII - a focus on self-determination in Europe

  • Colonialism seemed to contradict the spirit of the Allies fight against Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy

  • Over 200,000 Africans had fought in Europe and Asia for the Allies’ freedom and democracy – most noticed the contradiction

Effect of wwii1
Effect of WWII

  • Surge of anti-colonial nationalism after 1945. Leaders used lessons in mass politicization and mass mobilization of 1920’s and 1930’s.

  • Three patterns:

    • Violent Revolutions and

      Civil War (China, Algeria,

      Angola, Vietnam)

    • Non-Violent, negotiated

      independence (India, Ghana,


    • Both violent and non-violent

      methods (Kenya, Congo,

      Egypt, South Africa)

Impact of the cold war
Impact of the Cold War

  • Soviet pushed anti-colonial movement - offered assistance

  • United States wanted access to African markets (why were they closed before?) AND to prevent the spread of communism.

  • When West refused to help nationalists, they turned to the Soviet Union


Non-Violent Movements



  • Kwame Nkrumah


  • “Freedom Now” from British rule

  • Pan-African Congress


  • Influenced by Gandhi

  • “Positive Action” movement

  • Strikes and boycotts

  • Civil disobedience

Kwame nkrumah what is his vision
Kwame NkrumahWhat is his vision?

  • Unify Africa politically and economically (Pan-Africanism)

  • Harness vast natural resources in Africa

  • Lessen influence of West

  • Positive economic influence


Non-Violent Movements



  • 1957 – Independence granted – 1st sub-Saharan nation to gain independence

  • Nkrumah becomes 1st Prime Minister

  • Formation of Organization of African Unity in 1963 (OAU)

    Major Problems:

  • Nkrumah makes himself “President for life” in 1964

  • Economic downturn – general unrest

  • Overthrown by Military coup – led to suspension of constitution and banning of political parties

  • 1992 – new constitution, multi-party politics, elections – continued poverty


Both Violent and Non-Violent Movements



  • Jomo Kenyatta


  • Independence from Britain

  • Wanted to unite all Kenyans, Kikuyu and non-Kikuyu

  • Get back fertile highland farmland


Both Violent and Non-Violent Movements


  • Presence of settlers prevented smooth transition of power.

  • Jomo Kenyatta used non-violent protests

  • Kenya (20,000 Europeans only) led to violent revolt.

  • Mau-Mau Revolt, 1952, led by Kikuyus suppressed by British.

  • 1963 independence granted to black majority, led by Kenyatta.


Both Violent and Non-Violent Movements



  • Clash between white settlers and Nationalists

  • Harambee, “Pull Together” peaceful protest

  • Mau Mau Rebels – Violent campaign

  • British jailed many – Kenyatta for 7 years


  • 1963 – Kenya gets Independence

  • Kenyatta – First President

  • Ethnic groups continued to work together

    Major Problems:

  • Difficulty of Ethnic diversity and Tribalism

  • One party/Kikuyu domination

  • Government corruption


Both Violent and Non-Violent Movements



  • Patrice Lumumba and Mobutu Sese Seko


  • Gain Independence from Belgium

  • Create a National Party that represented and united the Congo, the non-tribal Movement National Congolais (MNC)

  • Create a constitution and have free elections


Both Violent and Non-Violent Movements



  • Anti-colonial strikes and riots led to Belgium granting Congo Independence

  • Patrice Lumumba became first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped to win its independence.

  • Ten weeks later, Lumumba's government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis. He was subsequently imprisoned and murdered under controversial circumstances.


  • 1965 – Mobutu Sese Seko takes over the nation and rules as Military dictator for 32 years

    Major Problems:

  • One party state

  • Government corruption – “Kleptocracy”


Violent Movements



  • Ahmed Ben Bella


  • Independence from French Rule

  • Arab Nationalism


  • FLN (National Liberation Front)

  • Used violence, guerilla warfare, Terrorism, Torture

  • 8 year civil war 1954-1962


Violent Movements



  • 1962- Algeria won its Independence

  • As many as 300,000 died

    Major Problems:

  • Religious and ethnic conflict

  • Rise of Islamic Salvation Front (FIS)

  • Ethnic minority Berbers – ongoing autonomy campaign

  • Social and infrastructure problems (unreliable electric and water supply


Violent Movements



  • The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), proclaimed the country's first president, Dr Agostinho Neto,


  • Independence From Portugal


  • 1961 – War of Independence began after Portugal refused to give Angola self-rule

  • UNITA disputed the MPLA's rule, and civil war broke out almost immediately. With the Soviet Union and Cuba supporting the Marxist MPLA, and the United States and South Africa supporting the anti-Communist UNITA, the country became a cold war battleground.


Violent Movements



  • Up to 1.5 million lives may have been lost - and 4 million people displaced - in the quarter century of fighting

  • 1992 – Shift to multiparty Democracy – Free elections

    Major Problems:

  • Constant civil wars and violence

  • Poor infrastructure and technology

  • Famine due to corruption and mismanagement of oil revenue

Factors that impacted the economic and political success of newly liberated nations
Factors that Impacted the Economic and Political Success of Newly Liberated Nations:

  • Did the nation fight to become free?

  • How enlightened had the colonizing power been? Had it educated a native elite, leaving behind politicians, economists, and trained personnel with practical skills?

  • Were there serious ethnic, cultural, or religious divisions?

  • Did a country have natural resources to exploit? Did the government exploit them efficiently or were they unable to diversify its economy?

  • Did a newly liberated country take sides in the Cold War, i.e. the United States or the Soviet Union? Superpowers often intervened in the affairs of decolonized nations.

Varying transitions of freedom in africa
Varying Transitions of Freedom in Africa Newly Liberated Nations:

  • For the most part, decolonization in the parts of African that had been British and French went smoothly.

  • Both Britain and France prepared their colonies for freedom by educating native elites, allowing greater native representation in transitional governments, and minimizing the possibility of interethnic conflict.

  • The worst transitions to independence were made by Belgian and Portuguese colonies who had been exploitative and did not prepare colonies for independence.

South africa the exception
South Africa- Newly Liberated Nations: The Exception

  • White minority gain independence in 1910 - some 4 million whites

  • In 1948 the government enacted an extreme form of racial segregation called apartheid

  • The African National Congress (ANC) opposed measures

South africa the exception1
South Africa- Newly Liberated Nations: The Exception

  • Gov’t takes strong anti-communist stance - West ignores apartheid

  • Nelson Mandela sentenced to life in prison for ANC actions

  • 1980’s apartheid ends

  • Mandela becomes first African president

  • Relatively peaceful transfer of power

Problems facing independent africa
Problems Facing Independent Africa Newly Liberated Nations:

  • Intertribal and interethnic conflict: Nearly all African wars have been fought within national borders, not between different countries.

  • Uncontrolled flow of small arms and light weapons: Thousands of children have been forcibly drafted into militias and paramilitaries.

  • Treatment of women: In African’s more developed countries and especially in cities, women have attained a certain degree of economic and social equality.

  • However, progress has been slow and women are still dominated by men, especially in rural areas.

Violence caused by colonialism
Violence Caused by Colonialism Newly Liberated Nations:

  • Southern Sudan Northern Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Sierra Leon, Somalia, etc…

  • Why?

Conclusions Newly Liberated Nations:

  • Decolonization was sometimes a violent process- dependent in large part on how many settlers had come to the colony.

  • In many parts of world, decolonization was not revolutionary. Power passed from one class of elites to another. Little economic and social reform occurred.

  • Significant challenges faced independent nations.

  • Western economic dominance of the global trade system continued unabated. WHY?