• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Within the context of 1880-1980, to what extent did British actions accelerate British decolonisation in Africa?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Within the context of 1880-1980, to what extent did British actions accelerate British decolonisation in Africa? In the later years of the 19th century the scramble for the African continent by Western imperialist powers was reaching its climax. It appeared that the "dark continent" was to be no longer "dark", but to be the product of Western colonial expansion with several European countries dividing up the land. No where was this more apparent than with Britain whose Empire was at its height at the turn of the century. Egypt, for instance, was a colony for 40 years (1882-1922) with its pinnacle at the turn of the century; however the decolonisation of the country as early as this is an anomaly in itself as only South Africa had previously been granted independence by the British, albeit as a self-governing dominion. In a bizarre turn of events which historians still debate today, the Empire crumbled and by the 1970s only two African states remained British colonies: Rhodesia and South West Africa. The Empire had taken the best part of a century to amalgamate, yet was mostly swept away in just over a decade. Many reasons have been proposed for the vast acceleration of decolonisation including economic difficulties at the metropole (Cain and Hopkins)1 and the rise of local nationalist movements (Hodgkin)2. More recently the actions of the British have been cited as a possible factor for the acceleration of decolonisation in Africa, marking a change in the historiography of the period. Turner3 and Lapping4 are promoters of this theory, which is gaining credence in the academic world. The 1945 election of the Labour party is a watershed in decolonisation acceleration. WW2 had recently ended which marked a shift in British culture and society, including a changed attitude to Empire. Interestingly, whilst many of the new Cabinet were anti-imperialists, the new government did not have a direct plan to fully decolonise. ...read more.

Middle

There are two key elements of the crisis which paved the way to said factors: the deception employed by the imperialist powers of Britain and France, plus the apparent overreaction to a simple act of nationalisation by a head of state. Both these factors led to the reputations of the countries involved and international relations been damaged, as well as a decrease in trade. Britain was the driving force behind the attack hence she was particularly wounded with the political and economic fallout: for one, the special relationship with the United States was harmed (Secretary of State John Foster Dulles claimed the British government had explicitly "lied to [him]"17) and, more critically for this inquiry, her reputation within the African continent was damaged. Britain looked small and corrupt, a mere shadow of her former colonial self; she was attempting to throw her imperialist weight around in a world which it didn't seem to fit. Nasser had successfully stood up to the Western powers and won, thus undermining Britain and France, plus providing inspiration to the many oppressed colonies. However, it is possible that the reaction did not provoke the level of international condemnation that is contemporarily considered, showing a difference in historiography. To the African colonies, former British dominions that had experienced colonialism and anti-imperialist powers such as the USA, then yes, it is likely that Britain's reputation was damaged. However, to other imperialists it is possible that the government simply appeared to be standing firm with a tyrant. World War 2 had been won only 11 years prior, hence the memory of what tyrannical dictators can achieve was still fresh in most leaders' minds. Eden may have appeared noble and selfless, "destroying not just his own political career but a carefully-crafted reputation built up over more than 20 years"18 for the greater good of a safer world, or at least a more economically stable Great Britain. ...read more.

Conclusion

1 Cain, P. J. & Hopkins, A. J., 1993, British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990 2 Hodgkin, T., 1956, Nationalism in Colonial Africa 3 Turner, B., 2006, Suez 1956: The Inside Story of the First Oil War 4 Lapping, B., 1985, End of Empire 5 White, N. J., 1999, Decolonisation: The British Experience Since 1945, Pg 32 6 Thorn, G., 2008, End of Empires: European Decolonisation 1919-80, Pg 16 7 McLaughlin, J. L., 1994, The Colonial Era: British Rule of the Gold Coast 8 Ferguson, N., 2004, Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World 9 Rohrer, F., 10/05/2006, BBC News [Online] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4757181.stm] [Accessed 25/04/2010] 10 Chamberlain, M.E., 1985, Decolonisation: The Fall of the European Empires, Pg 35 11 Hobson, J.A., 1902, Imperialism: A Study 12 Lenin, V., 1916, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism 13 Darwin, J., 1984, British Decolonization since 1945: A Pattern or a Puzzle?, Pg 197 14 Cain, P. J. & Hopkins, A. J., 1993, British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990 15 Cain, P. J. & Hopkins, A. J., 1993, British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 16 Beckett, F., 2006, MacMillan, Pg 97 17 Wilby, P., 2006, Eden, Pg 79 18 Wilby, P., 2006, Eden, Pg 128 19 White, N. J., 1999, Decolonisation: The British Experience Since 1945, Pg 85 20 White, N. J., 1999, Decolonisation: The British Experience Since 1945, Pg 128 21 Wilby, P., 2006, Eden, Pg 96 22 White, N. J., 1999, Decolonisation: The British Experience Since 1945, Pg 84 23 White, N. J., 1999, Decolonisation: The British Experience Since 1945 24 Turner, B., 2006, Suez 1956: The Inside Story of the First Oil War 25 Lapping, B., 1985, End of Empire 26 White, N. J., 1999, Decolonisation: The British Experience Since 1945, Pg 48 27 Thorn, G., 2008, End of Empires: European Decolonisation 1919-80, Pg 50 28 White, N. J., 1999, Decolonisation: The British Experience Since 1945, Pg 49 29 Lapping, B., 1985, End of Empire, Pg 227 30 Thorn, G., 2008, End of Empires: European Decolonisation 1919-80, Pg 50 31 Lapping, B., 1985, End of Empire, Pg 227 ?? ?? ?? ?? - 2 - ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    History of british race relations

    3 star(s)

    By 1900 it wasn't usual to see large parts of these inner-cities to be entirely Jewish. To the English locals the Jewish immigrants presented a peculiar spectacle. They saw the culture and lifestyle to be somewhat strange and they found the religion they practiced to be alien and different.

  2. Constitutional Nationalism succeeded in achieving its aims whereas revolutionary nationalism failed and cultural nationalism ...

    After Gladstone's ultimatum, the split with the Liberals led to a split within the IPP itself with 37 MPs backing Parnell and 45 going against him. This was a huge failure for Parnell as it meant his party had deserted him and everything that he had worked for in the Party had failed.

  1. Assess the significance of Indian nationalism in the period 1845-1947 in changing Britains relationship ...

    There were occasions when Britain seemed to be giving in to the nationalist pressures; the agitations caused by the Partition of Bengal led to the Morley-Minto reforms, which allowed the elections of Indians into legislative councils for the first time, and the nationalist demands of the Home Rule Leagues led

  2. How far & to what extent was Louis responsible for the turn of events ...

    Louis, still desperate for funds, refused to admit defeat. Brienne attempted to bypass the notables and estates general by presenting the proposals to the parlements. At the same time, he staved off bankruptcy by taking out more loans (very hard to come by now) at massive interest rates. This failed, the parlement 'reluctantly' finding that it lacked the necessary authority to make the changes needed.

  1. The British reforms to change India failed because the British would sometimes use force ...

    During the First World War, India went through an economic boom. More and more Indian cotton was being sold to be used for war uniforms in western countries. These bright years lead the Indians to believe that the British government might reward them for their loyalty.

  2. How popular was the policy of Imperialism in England in the period from 1880 ...

    and saw it as the only answer for Britain to beat of competitions from other nations threatening Britain's economic world dominance. The popularity of the empire in the view of the public's was at great variance as most of the time it varied in opinion in dependence of events at a given time.

  1. How Successful was Edward Carson in His Defense of Unionism During The Third Home ...

    The signing was the culmination of a weeklong of events that took place throughout the province starting off in Enniskillen. Through the monster demonstrations and lofty speeches that Carson delivered with magnificent orating skills, the religious, peaceful element to the signing at City Hall, Carson won a huge propaganda victory.

  2. How much support was there for imperialism between 1880 and 1902?

    Many imperialistic views were taken up by the media, which was a good way of sending out imperialistic propaganda to the country; it could reach everyone ranging from upper class to working class. An education act was passed in 1880 stating that primary school was compulsory for everyone.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work