Decolonization or Independence Movements in Asia, Africa, & the Middle East 1920s – 1980s
Overview By the mid-20th century, many colonies in Africa, Asia & the Middle East had “freed” themselves from European dominance. Decolonization is the term historians have used to describe this process
WHY?: Causes of Decolonization What forces led to the end of European colonial empires? • Education & information acquired by Asians & Africans. • “Lessons” on equality, democracy, revolution, government, natural rights, etc. caused people to take action for freedom. • World Wars • Asians and Africans questioned European “progress” • The winners of both wars talked of freedom . . . Some acted on it. • Nationalism!
Decolonization: HOW The many differing African & Asian groups used a variety of elements in their efforts to gain independence. Some of these include . . . • Nationalism • Military force / violence • Mass demonstrations • Economic boycotts • Government representation & democratic processes • Indigenous religious beliefs & symbols • The wealth & power of the African and Asian middle & upper class.
Colonial Repercussions of the WWII • Some defeated powers forced to give up colonies. • North Africa was able to exploit German occupation of France to build institutions of self-government. • Economically, Britain, Belgium & Netherlands devastated by war, difficult to re-establish colonial rule. • War’s principal victors – U.S., U.S.S.R. & China – follow anti-imperialist stances. • UN (post WW2) provides a forum for decolonization process. • India (1947) & Ghana (1957) sponsor anti-imperial movements.
EFFECTS of Decolonization Were mixed • Problems remained • Economic Dependency • Little industrialization • Poverty • Tribal, racial, religious differences
Decolonization in INDIA
Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi • Passed English bar - lawyer for Indian merchants in South Africa. • Gandhi’s answer to a spiritual theory of social action – Satyagraha - “soul force”. A tactic using nonviolent resistance or civil disobedience.
A ‘Revolution’ in Indian politics • Gandhi’s Satyagraha - “What do you think? Wherein in courage required – in blowing others to pieces from behind a cannon, or with a smiling face to approach a cannon and be blown to pieces?...Believe me that a man devoid of courage and manhood can never be a passive resister.”
Gandhi in India • 1915: back in India - Dressed in traditional clothing- crisscrossed India on third-class trains listening to common people to understand their plight. • Urged a boycott of British goods, jobs & honors.
The British Back Down • 1931 - released Gandhi from jail & negotiated with him as an equal. • 1935 - Indian got a new constitution. • 1942- called on British to “Quit India” – civil disorder campaign – arrested & jailed.
The Muslim League • Led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876-1948) • Feared Hindu domination of an independent India ruled by Congress Party. • Made Muslim separation from Hindu majority a nationalist issue. • In 1940 Jinnah told a Muslim League conference that Britain should give Indian Hindus & Muslims separate homelands – Gandhi appalled “victory of hate over love”
Independence But Partition • Britain agreed to speedy independence in 1945, but murderous clashes between Hindus and Muslims in 1946 led to a delay. In the end... • India’s last Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten (1900-1979) proposed partition. Both sides agreed. • One fifth of humanity gained independence on August 14th 1947.
The Tragedy of Partition • Massacres and mass expulsions. • 100,000 slaughtered & five million refugees • Gandhi said “What is there to celebrate? I see nothing but rivers of death.” • Gandhi was gunned down in January 1948 by a Hindu fanatic, while announcing a fast to protest Hindu persecution of Muslims.
Modern India • Largest democracy in the world • Jawaharlal Nehru became the first prime minister for the next 17 years • Democracy, Unity, & Economic Modernization Challenges: • Kashmir= years of conflict that continues today • Cold War alignment= NON Alignment Movement • Industrialization= slow but coming • Social and cultural issues= continuous challenges with progress • Caste system • Economic • Women’s rights
Kashmir • Border both India & Pakistan • Hindu leader with large Muslim populations • 1947-Pakistan invaded leading Kashmir to align with India fighting cont.’d until 1949. Cease fire lead to 1/3 control by Pakistan 2/3 by India. • 1962- China seized part of Kashmir • 1972- Indian and Pakistani forces fought again • Today: tensions continue and flare up intermittently
Nehru’s Family Rules • 1964 Nehru dies • Congress Party left with no strong leader • 1966 Indira Gandhi becomes Prime Minister (Nehru’s daughter) • 1980 re-elected(after a short period out of office) • Increased food/grain production • Faced a threat from Sikh extremist agitating for an independent state • 1984 500 were killed in a violent demonstrations • 2 months later her Sikh bodyguards shot her • 1984-89 Rajiv Gandhi leader / charged with corruption • 1991 killed by a bomb while campaigning near Madra
Both suffer from religious & ethic conflicts Pakistan (1947) & Sri Lanka (1948) Pakistan • 47’ Divided E/W; Separated by India • Ethnically/culturally different; same religion • 1971- W. Pakistan became independent Bangladesh • After 1958 Pakistan went through a series of military coups • Ali Bhutto lead after the civil war • 77’ Gen. Zia removed him • Bhutto later executed for corruption • Gen. Zia dies in a plane crash • Benazir Bhutto elected 2 ‘Xs • 96’ removed from office after period of disorder • More military coup ensued • Benazir Bhutto ran again in 07’ she was assassinated Sri Lanka ¾ = 16 mill Buddhists 1/5 = Tamils (Hindu) Tamil militants want a separate nation 83’ India tried unsuccessfully to help disarm the Tamils to end the violence. May 2009 Tamil “Tigers” leader killed, they lose, civil war over!?
Summary: Decolonization in India • Nationalist protests & revolutionary activities led to repression by British officials in the 19th & 20th c. • Gandhi launches a nationalists movement against British rule using civil disobedience • World Wars & broken promises by the British led to a greater desire for Independence as Hindu-Muslim splits became more pronounced. • 1947 – India was granted independence by the British. • Partition of India & E. & W. Pakistan “resolved” the religious conflicts • Period of Political turmoil followed
Trends (general similarities):What trends did you notice with these countries and the Decolonization process? India • Economic: lack of industrialization • Political: ?s of who will rule; how will they rule=conflict • Social: Ethnic/religious conflicts • Muslim • Hindu (incl. Tamil) • Sikh Look for such trends in the problems facing decolonizing countries • Economic • Political • Social
Colonization in Africa • Europeans had divided up the continent • Exploited the resources • Left the region unprepared (no experience) to rule themselves In addition, … • Borders imposed by the Europeans caused many problems (Berlin Conference of 1884) • Separated similar cultures • Enclosed traditional enemies
Independence Two major methods in Africa: • Negotiated Independence: Long or short term deal between European power and African colony • Incomplete Decolonization: White settler minority population given political power over black majority
The Road to Independence • Interwar years: an educated middle class began to develop • Went to US for college • Influenced by American Culture (Harlem Renaissance, Black activist & leaders) • Pan African Congresses 1919/1921 • Negritude Movement began in among French speaking Africans/lead by Leopold Senghor • Celebrated African culture, heritage, & values • WWII African soldiers fought along side Europeans • Became unwilling to accept colonial domination • Europeans began to ? The cost of mainitaining the colonies
Decolonization in Africa:Post WWII Europeans were ready to decolonize • When? British wanted to Prepare the colonies for self rule • How? Allowed more Africans to be elected to the legislative Council • Africans wanted elected, not nominated rep.s • Where? Gold Coast first • Kwame Nkrumah (US ed. & Former teacher) began Non violent protest for elected rep.s • Strikes, boycotts • When? Succeeded in getting INDEPENDENCE in 1957 • Renamed: Ghana (1st African lead country to joint the British Commonwealth) • Nkrumah became first Prime Minister
Ghana.asf Independent Ghana 3:45-8.42 • Nkrumah = 1st Prime Minister & then President for life • Pushed thru expensive development plans & econ. Projects • Roads, schools, healthcare facilities • These $$$ projects quickly crippled the country & STRENGTHED his opposition • Influenced by Marcus Garvey (separatist who wanted Africa for Africans) • Helped organize Pan African meetings in 1945 & 53. • 1963 he influenced the development of the (OAU) Organization of African Unity • Criticized for spending too much times on Pan African efforts & neglecting economic problems • 1966 while he was in China the Ghana army & police seized power • 1966-Present: has gone back & forth btwn military & civililand gov’t.s & it continues to struggle for economic stability. 1979 an Air Force pilot Jerry Rawlings seized power & again in 1981. 2000 the first open election was held
Independent Kenya • British settlers controlled prime farmland in North & fiercely resisted Decolonization there • Forced to accept Independence due to: • the strong, popular leadership of Nationalist Jomo Kenyatta (Kikuyu educated in London) & • The rise of the Mau Mau secret society made up of mostly Kikuyu farmers forced out by British farmers • Mau Mau’s aim: frighten the white farmers into leaving • Kenyatta was not a Mau Mau but he did not oppose them either • 1963 Independence was granted but only after 10,000 Kenyans & 100 whites were killed • Jomo Kenyatta became President • Worked to unite the various ethnic /language groups • Nairobi (capital) grew into a major business center
1978 Kenyatta died • Succeeded by Daniel arap Moi • Faced more & more opposition to ONE Party Rule • University strikes and protests = DEATHS for some students & put pressure on Moi to move more toward Democracy • 1990s economy suffered / ethnic conflict cont.d / charges of corruption toward Moi’s govt • 2007-08: evidence of election corruption and ethnic violence blackened the election
Belgian Congo • Most Exploited African Colony • Ruthlessly plundered for resources (rubber & copper), slave labor, drained wealth • No social services & no preparation
History congo (Zaire).asf Independent Congo :56-1:49; 1:49-2:39 • 1960- granted independence • Renamed Zaire 1967-95 Tumultuous process • Internal conflict & Outside (UN & USSR) intervention • Patrice Lumumba 1st prime minister • Ruled a divided country (He controlled the North) • In the SE (Mineral rich Katanga region / copper) • Moise Tshombe declared SE independent of the rest • Tshombe backed by Belgian mining co. • Lumumba 1st asked UN for help against Tshombe, then he turned to the USSR • Colonel Mobutu (first working for Lumumba) led a military coup to over throw Lumumba & turned him over to Tshombe • Lumumba was murdered shortly after • Tshombe ruled briefly until 1965 when • Mobutu overthru him & seized power in a bloodless coup
Mobutu • Ruled 32 yrs • Used a combo of force, 1 party rule & bribes • Zaire’s mineral wealth & natural resources made it 1 of the richest in Africa • Under Mobutu it became 1 of the poorest • He is believed to have looted the country for billions • Mobutu resisted many attempted rebellions & ethnic clashes • 1997 Laurent Kabila took over after a 7 month long civil war • Banned all political parties • Promised transition to democracy & election by 1999 • Never Happened • Country is in constant state of rebellion
Algeria Colonization • France was the primary colonizer in North Africa • Population: • 1 million french colonists / 9 million Arab & Berber Muslims • Colonists were unwilling to leave w/o a fight • France attempted assimilation but not a reality
Independents Algeria • 1945- French troops fired on Algerian nationalist who were demonstrating--killing thousands of Muslims & 100s of Europeans • 1954 -Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) moved to fight for independence • FLN used guerrilla tactics at home but diplomacy (talk) internationally • French sent ½ million troops to stop them • Both sides committed atrocities • European settlers began calling for De Gaulle to return as president in France to restore order in the colonies
De Gaulle & Algeria • 1958- De Gaulle returned to power • He concluded that Algeria count not be held by force • France let go of most of its African possessions • 1962- a referendum set up the conditions for independence • Transfer of power planned • March -750,000 settlers fled Algeria July 1962 = Independence • Ahmed Ben Bella (FLN leader, imprisoned by French) became prime minister & then President • Reestablished order • Began land refors • Developed new plans for education • 1965- he was overthrown by his Chief of Staff!
Secular & Religious Conflict over Power • 1965-1988- attempt to modernize & industrialize • were undermined when • world oil prices plunged (1985-86) • Unemployment & broken promises lead to an Islamic revival • Riots in 1988 against the secular govt occurred • Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) won in 1990 & 91 elections • Ruling govt refused the election results • Civil War broke out Islamic militants vs govt • The War continues of & on today • & the international community is working on an agreement
Angola • Portugal = 1st to imperialize Africa; and the last to leave • Made no preparation to assist their colonies into independence • No education; health facilities & little commerce • However, some Angolans did gain an education & they heard about other African countries gaining independence & became inspired
Independent Angola • 1960s- 3 Revolutionaries Groups emerged. • Each supported by different foreign powers • Portugal sent 50,000 troops to down the rebellions • $$$$$ costing ½ of Portugal total nation budget $$$ • Discontent WITHIN Portugal over colonial wars led to the military toppling the govt. there! • 1975- Portuguese withdrew from Angola w/out formally handing power over to any one group • Lack pf preparation for independence was made worse when a Communist (MPLA) group seized of power next • Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) took control of the capital & declared itself the rightful government
Civil War in Angola • MPLA got help from Cuba & the USSR • FNLA (National Front for the Liberation of Angola) got help from Zaire and the US [they faded away] • The MPLA was also opposed by UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) who got help from So. Africa & the US • 1988- the US with consent from the USSR pressed for a settlement among the MPLA, UNITA, So. So. Africa & Cuba • 1989 a Cease fire went into effect • 1995 the parties began discussion about representation of EACH group in the govt. • Negotiations broke down and a long bloody cifil war continues today. Multiple elections have been planned & then postponed. Including one in Jan. of 2010
Results of Decolonization • Elites gained power • Initial political parties reflected ethnic, regional, or religious groups • Power was often gained by corrupt African “strongmen” (dictators) who ignored the social needs of people • Economic dependency continued. • Political turmoil and instability continued