How did imperialism change the modern world?

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The imperial powers who dominated the developing world left their languages there. People all over the world speak such languages as English or French due to the colonial powers that ruled those countries for years. Imperialism also played a major role in drawing the maps of the developing world. The maps of the modern Middle East were drawn according to the mandates of the victorious Allied Powers, not according to the religious differences of the people who lived in the region. The map of Africa was drawn arbitrarily as well, with nearly the whole continent being used for the benefit of European powers. Imperialism played a role in World War I as it was one of the factors that led to the naval arms race between Britain and Germany. Both Britain and France were able to use indigenous peoples from colonies to help fight in the trenches of Europe and abroad. Imperialism also played a role in World War II as Japan sought to become the primary power in Asia at the expense of European colonial powers. Imperialism also played a role in the Cold War as new nations seeking to gain independence, such as what would become North and South Vietnam, looked to the Soviet Union and the United States respectively to provide international legitimacy, arms, and money. Imperialism has been one of the dominant forces shaping world geography and politics.

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There are many ways in which we can say that imperialism changed the modern world.  Let us look at a few of them.

  • Imperialism helped make African countries poor and chaotic.  Imperial powers ran African countries for their own good, not that of the native people.  They created economies that focused on helping the Europeans’ economies.  They failed to educate Africans well.  They failed to train Africans to take part in government.  Thus, when they gave the African countries independence, the countries had weak economies and were not very likely to have strong and competent governments.
  • Imperialism helped make non-Westerners resent the west.  The West colonized many countries around the world.  The people of those countries often resent the West for having done this.  They feel that the West abused them and used them for the West’s own good.  Even countries like China, which are now strong, still resent many Western countries for not treating them with respect in the past.
  • Imperialism helped bring about two world wars.  The competition for empire between various European countries was one factor that helped cause WWI.  After WWI, Japan wanted an empire to match those of various European countries.  This helped cause WWII.  These two wars did much to shape the world we live in today.

All of these are important ways in which imperialism affected the world we live in today.

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