Analyze the decline of colonialism in the post-World War II period.
premises of Atlantic Charter, colonial nationalist movements, cost of maintaining colonies, views towards colonialism by the US and Soviet Union
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Colonialism declined at the end of the Second World War largely as a result of nationalist movements in the colonies. Independence in Asia began with the end of British rule in India, largely the result of the work of Mohandas K. Gandhi. Vietnam had declared its independence after the French were ousted by the Japanese during World War II. Ho Chi Minh forced the Japanese out and issued the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence, similar to the American Declaration of Independence. The French tried and failed to take back Vietnam which was divided into North and South Vietnam by the Peace Conference of 1954.
Decolonization in Africa was more complicated. France granted independence to Morocco and Tunisia in 1957. In 1960, the so called "Year of Africa," thirteen former French colonies were freed. Problems erupted as many former African colonies had white majorities which insisted on controlling the government; and because Independence was granted along political lines established by European imperial powers with no regard to local tribal and ethnic differences. The result was prolonged bloody fighting.
The United States and Soviet Union took no position on colonization; but with the Cold War in full operation, each pressured newly independent countries to take sides in the conflict. The result was something of a bi-polar world in which almost all countries took sides. There were exceptions. India attempted to remain free from either side through the Non-Alighment movement under Nehru. Abdel Gamal Nasser of Egypt believed that the cold war was another form of imperialism and also attempted to remain non-aligned with some success. The other areas of the Middle East were not so lucky. When Israel became independent in 1948, the Palestinians were offended. The U.S. tended to side with the Israelis and the Soviets with the Palestinians. They thus became thoroughly involved in cold war politics.
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