Decolonization and the Rise of the Third World

Topics: British Empire, World War II, Colonialism Pages: 7 (2036 words) Published: February 24, 2012
Decolonization and the Rise of the Third World

Where the Major factors leading to the first wave of decolonization in the 1950’s and 60’s

Contents Page

Introduction 2 History and origin of Decolonization 3 The Major factors leading to the first wave of 4 Decolonization in the 1950’s and 60’s



In Order that we may satisfactorily answer this question, we must first of all define what is meant by ‘Decolonization’ and how relevant it is when discussing historical factors and International relations of the world’s history, once this has been established and we are coalesced to the term used, it becomes quite clear that decolonization changed the landscape of world politics in the Third World.

We must also consider the History and origins of decolonization like its geography, ethnicity and other elements if wish to discover a complete picture of political events and actions.

I shall this essay by defining the general case of decolonization and its impacts on world history especially in the third world and the major factors leading to the first wave of decolonization in 1950’s and 60’s. I will be looking at 3 major factors leading to decolonization, firstly the decolonization in Africa, decolonization in Asia and the Middle Eastern decolonization.

If we now consider the definition of decolonization as defined by John Hargreaves: ‘Decolonization according to Hargreaves ‘implies intent: the intention to terminate formal political control over specific colonial territories and to replace it by some new relationship into the hands of their colonial subjects, which will form as a long term process towards self government’ (Hargreaves, 1996, p. 2),

The process of decolonization after the Second World War was one of the most important political or perhaps the greatest consequences of world history, between 1947 and 1962 we witness a rapid widespread effort to dismantle the Europeans empires around the world, some of which had existed for centuries.

In 1945 European powers were in decline and nationalism was growing rapidly amongst the colonial subjects, British and European power experienced some major unexpected challenges at the end of the Second World War which left them financially weak to support expensive military overseas commitments but yet still relying on its empire to produce financial dividends.

Europe and the US as described by Vadney still claimed ‘most of the third world as colonies or protectorates, these included virtually all of South-East and South Asia, most of Africa, numerous strategically significant islands in the Pacific and some parts of the Middle East’ (Vadney, 1998, p. 88).

However the great imperial powers were beginning to be weakened when nationalistic sentiments were growing in the colonial countries, there were significant domestic consideration that also played a part in this, leftist politics i.e. Social democracy had no interest in empire either ideologically or politically, they were movement within this country that pushed for decolonization, this led to a number of European powers, at a very rapid rate to transfer the political authorities which they exercised into the hands of colonial subjects. History and Origin of Decolonization

As John Darwin stated
‘the course and outcome of the second world war would have led to the rapid termination of the European colonial empires in Africa and elsewhere’ (Woods, 1997, p. 202).

In 1945 they were only 51 recognised states according to the original membership of the united nations by 2006 they were already 192 united nations members in the world. The disappearance of the European empires was a political phenomenon not an economic one, the process of decolonization was articulated on...

Bibliography: Darwin, J. ‘Africa and World Politics Since1945’ in Woods, N. (ed) Explaining International Relations Since 1945, Oxford: OUP.
Hargreaves, J.D. ( 1989), Decolonisation in Africa, 2nd ed., London: Longman.
Strang, D. (1991), Global Patterns of Decolonization, Vol. 35, No. 4: pp. 429-454.
Tignor, R.L. (2005), The Cold War Dimension of Kenyan Decolonization, Vol. 46, No. 2: pp. 360-361
Vadney, T. (1998), The World Since 1945, 3rd edn.. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Winks, R.W. (1976), Decolonization and Informal Empire Vol. 81, No. 3: pp. 540 556.
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