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Presentation on theme: "THE END OF EMPIRE: DECOLONIZATION AND POSTCOLONIAL IMMIGRATION"— Presentation transcript:

Postimperial Europe c Superquiz Section IV

2 Buchi Emecheta (1944-) Buchi Emecheta (1944-) emigrated from Nigeria in 1961 left her government office job to follow her husband to England Her husband pursued a Western education upon arriving in London Emecheta supported her family just as she had done in Nigeria She has since become a successful novelist Emecheta represents the migration that resulted when colonies gained their independence following World War II

3 Conditions and opportunities in London did not meet the expectations of immigrants
This situation rang especially true for colored immigrants Emecheta encountered hiring and housing discrimination She later wrote that almost all notices contained the phrase “Sorry, no coloureds” Emecheta began to think she should be ashamed of the color of her skin Emecheta also encountered difficulties obtaining health care for her five children and herself Her husband left Emecheta for another woman which left the family with no support Emecheta realized she was a second-class citizen in both Nigeria and England

4 Buchi Emecheta (1944-) She then secured a job in the library at the British Museum Emecheta began writing fiction in the 1970s Her work focused on the African past as well as women immigrants to Europe The novels In the Ditch (1972) and Second Class Citizen (1974) helped Emecheta rise to international fame She published the autobiography Head Above Water in 1986 Negative feelings toward immigrants increased as European empires ended, even as Emecheta gained literary success  Negative feelings toward immigrants increased as European empires ended, even as Emecheta gained literary success

5 The changing European landscape
The three decades following World War II saw Europe lose almost its entire empire War so severely weakened imperial powers that empires began disappearing soon after the conflict’s end Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Portugal slowly recovered from their war efforts The war also bankrupted Europe A new generation of leaders emerged in the colonies during World War II To some extent, Europe had never fully controlled its colonies Resistance remained a constant threat and European powers struggled to maintain control over foreign peoples A peaceful status quo was rarely maintained except by those who became rich from interactions with imperialists Decolonization evolved as empires grew Liberation movements kept Europeans alert and aware throughout the 20th century Colonial resistance only increased as Europeans continued their violence against colonial subjects

6 Immigration to this dynamic continent
Tens of thousands of colonial subjects immigrated to European capital cities These native peoples adopted the doctrines of opportunity and equality previously preached by the West Immigrants sought political asylum and safety from civil turmoil as well as economic opportunity Europe needed workers to rebuild the continent following World War II This labor shortage dramatically reshaped Europe during the second half of the 20th century Many immigrants were admirers of British or French culture, eager to get a taste of the real thing Buchi Emecheta immigrated to England full of hope, as did countless other immigrants

7 European self-assessment
The disintegration of empire forced Europeans to look at themselves in a new light They lost the traditional idea of dominant imperialism These citizens became dependent on cheap labor Soldiers and former colonial administrators returned to Europe Neighborhoods changed into immigrant microcosms People from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Cameroon especially established their own communities in Europe Artists produced films capturing nostalgia and memoirs incorporating violence, racism, and the loss of white supremacy “New Europeans” such as Buchi Emecheta also contributed to this self-assessment Multiculturalism and citizenship were brought to public attention The end of empire transformed Europe as well as the entire world

8 Decolonization Europeans both wanted and expected to keep their empires following World War II The weakness of Europe following the war as well as the mobilization of colonial resistance ended European political domination

9 Decolonization occurred in two waves
This process refers to the elimination of imperial rule The first wave occurred right after the end of World War II Burma, Sri Lanka, India, and Palestine gained independence during this period209 The ability of Britain to maintain its colonies collapsed Resistance from the colonial leadership and masses further weakened the British Empire Lebanon and Syria quickly gained independence from France France only relinquished Vietnam and Algeria after much violence The second wave of decolonization began in Ghana in 1957 Decolonization fervor soon spread throughout sub-Saharan Africa Some states once again quietly received independence while others endured violent European attempts to retain political power The process of decolonization had mostly come to an end by the 1980s Britain lost the most through these developments

10 Bonds of economics, society, and culture remained strong between Europe and its former African and Asian colonies Both sides received some shelter from the Cold War These bonds also allowed the development of neo-imperialism This relationship saw industrialized Western nations economically exploit the newly politically independent countries

11 The Legacy of War and the End of Empire
The end of World War II Winston Churchill primarily sought to protect and strengthen the British Empire during World War II The extended conflict had the exact opposite effect on every imperial power Asian and African soldiers revealed the farce of European supremacy These forces experienced slaughter and depravity on a larger scale than in World War I Colonial troops discontent with empire met plenty of opportunity African forces often came in contact with highly politicized African-American or Indian troops Many African soldiers also met other Africans, leading to a growth of pan-African Ideology Soldiers often learned about complex technology that imperialists had kept out of their hands Colonial troops also improved their reading and writing through the war effort

12 Communique of the Pan-African Congress, 1945
‘‘We are unwilling to starve any longer while doing the world’s drudgery in order to support by our poverty and ignorance a false aristocracy and a discredited imperialism.’’

13 Discrimination ran rampant throughout World War II
African soldiers constituted roughly 20% of the Free French forces in the war They participated on the front lines as much as their European counterparts Ceremonies celebrating French cities’ liberation made these troops invisible No Africans could be seen in the company of troops that celebrated the liberation of Paris Indian soldiers actively participated in the defeat of Japan They merely looked on to the ceremonial return of Indonesia to the Dutch and Vietnam to the French Returning veterans who suffered discrimination joined civil rights and liberation movements African American soldiers did the same in the United States

14 The progress of war destabilized the already weak system of colonial control
The height of World War II combat saw the colonies mostly running themselves Forced labor and conscription of millions of colonial subjects aggravated tensions against imperialism Forced labor during World War II provoked the deepest and longest-lasting hatred toward imperialists This involuntary servitude served as a rallying cry for independence It also constituted the subject of countless films and novels Pay differentials between British and Indian soldiers sparked riots near the end of the war One Caribbean school teacher informed his high school students that, “When white men kill each other, it is a blessing for blacks”

15 Colonial entrepreneurs flourished under the desperation of the Allies
The imperial powers were too engrossed in the war effort to compete with or prohibit entrepreneurial ideas Converting raw materials into finished goods in the colonies also saved money on shipping to hard-pressed imperial powers India subsequently developed an aircraft industry during World War II Enterprises such as steel, iron, and oil flourished alongside the growth of banking, finance, and trade outside of Europe Wealthy manufacturers and landowners joined groups supporting colonial independence after the war effort to support their newfound business independence

16 Problems of the Lower Classes
The problems brought by World War II to lower colonial classes only exacerbated their dislike for imperialists Colonial citizens especially felt the impoverishment that accompanied World War II The imperial powers did not consider the well-being or economic development of colonies a high priority during the war Colonies subsequently experienced rapid urbanization, social upheaval, and famine between 1939 and 1945 The disruption of trade caused grave poverty throughout Africa and other colonial regions Rural peoples flocked to cities to free themselves from the financial uncertainty of plantation life World War II simultaneously increased discontent with imperialism and created favorable conditions for revolt Urbanization, the uneven increase in individual wealth, and advanced industrialization allowed the colonies to rebel soon after the war effort

17 Colonial Rebellion Algeria, Vietnam, Indonesia, and many other colonies experienced widespread rebellion soon after the conclusion of World War II Many colonized leaders assumed that the end of World War II meant the end of empire Liberation from Europe, however, sometimes took decades to achieve

18 The end of South Asian empires…
South Asia constituted the first major region to achieve its independence from Europe British interference and violence characterized this process Protests erupted in the region in 1945 and 1946 The first such protest responded to the British prosecution of Indian soldiers who had not supported the Allies Subsequent rebellions addressed landowning rights and work conditions

19 The British had previously proposed several self-serving, self-government plans for South Asia
One plan called for the creation of distinct countries based on religion This option made little practical sense due to the mixture of religions present in South Asia

20 Mohammed Ali Jinnah Mohammed Ali Jinnah of the Muslim League called for his followers to advocate for an independent Muslim nation Hindu and Sikh shopkeepers were subsequently murdered throughout northwest India and beyond

21 Chaos and Violence Another plan constituted the development of a loose confederation of small, independent states Regional leaders became inspired by this plan These leaders mobilized their supporters, including wealthy landowners The British would have greatly benefited from a South Asia comprised of weak nations dependent on British political and economic power Resistance to this plan constituted months of chaos This chaos consisted of violence, increasing murder rates, and the flight of millions of South Asians trying to find refuge among people of similar religion

22 Mahatma Gandhi and other politicians traveled across South Asia in an attempt to calm tensions and promote harmony across religions and economic classes

23 chaos in the Indian subcontinent led to British withdrawal
In 1947, Pakistan was created for Muslims, with an independent India becoming a Hindu state Religions remained intermingled throughout South Asia India remained within the British Commonwealth The trading reach of India reached far and wide India remained plagued by ongoing violence and religious jurisdictional disputes Emigration increased as a result of these factors Small states within India also did not know how to relate to the central Indian Government A radical Hindu assassinated Gandhi on January 30, 1948

Superpowers soon competed for influence in India, Pakistan, and smaller states in South Asia Britain’s domination over 500 million South Asians came to an end

Economic connections replaced the British political grip on Asia The British did retain Hong Kong in East Asia International businessmen sought to reestablish the globally-funded British economic prosperity of the pre-World War II era

26 East Asian Empires Mao Zedong ( ) and other Communists defeated the corrupt Nationalist government in China Jiang Jieshi headed the Nationalist party The United States financed this opposition to the Communists

27 East Asian Empires Communist rule
abruptly ended the political and economic influence of Europe and the United States in China gained support from its focus on the plight of peasants

28 MAO ZEDONG Mao emphasized the differences between his version of Marxism and those of Stalin and Lenin The Chinese undeveloped industrial proletariat set China apart Mao did follow in the footsteps of Lenin and Stalin through his collectivization of agriculture, rapid industrialization program, and brutal repression of privileged classes The Western powers in NATO only saw Mao as another Stalin

29 The Chinese China had few ties with the West until the 1970s
Hundreds of millions of Chinese experienced political and social turmoil under the brutal schemes of Mao’s government The Chinese Revolution spurred both the United States and the USSR to increase their involvement in Asian politics The Cold War complicated decolonization for both Europeans and colonial subjects

30 The USSR v. United States: an indirect confrontation in Korea
After Korea’s liberation from the Japanese, the peninsula had split in two at the 38th parallel Soviet-backed North Korea invaded American-backed South Korea in 1950 The United States maneuvered the United Nations Security Council into approving a police action against North Korea This action set a precedent for European intervention in the 1990s The Americans deployed 400,000 troops to South Korea to help repel the North Korean invaders These combined forces pushed far into North Korean territory Once they neared China’s border, the Chinese army came to the aid of North Korea 2.5 years of stalemate followed A peace agreement was signed in 1953 Korea remained divided at the 38th parallel, its prewar border

31 Southeast Asian empires
The Korean War provided a push for independence in Southeast Asia The region provided high stakes in the Cold War, leading to a high number of deaths The peasant armies commanded by the Communist leadership of Ho Chi Minh caused the French to surrender Indochina Indochina incorporated Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos Indochina had suffered under the sharp fall in agricultural prices during the 1920s and 1930s The toll of World War II after this economic depression hit Indochinese peasants hard Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh soldiers fought the French army and big landlords in the south The United States began funneling money into the French side of the revolution Officially, the United States retained its anti-imperial position The guerilla tactics of the Viet Minh forces pushed the technologically superior French army to withdraw after the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954


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