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The metropolitan theory of decolonization holds that the "metropolis" is the important actor in this process. It holds that decolonization happened, in essence, because the colonizing country wanted it to. Therefore, we have to look for why countries would have wanted to decolonize in Africa.
There were three main causes of decolonization from this point of view. They were:
- Changing attitudes in the West. After WWII in particular, people in many Western countries started to move away from racist thinking. It gradually became unacceptable to hold the idea that Africans were incapable of ruling themselves.
- World War II. The war was important mainly because it made the US very important. The US had stipulated in the Atlantic Charter that it felt that colonialism should end. This helped to push other Western nations to decolonize once the US was the dominant power in the world.
- The Cold War. The Cold War caused a need for democratic countries to compete for the affections of countries in the Third World. Decolonization was therefore attractive to Western countries. By setting their colonies free, they could look as if they were friendly and benevolent towards Third World countries.
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