• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11

Assess the Extent to which the Different Powers Prepared 'Their' African Colonies for Independence.

Extracts from this document...


Paul Gillen Contemporary Africa Module Essay Tutor: Jill Payne Assess the Extent to which the Different Powers Prepared 'Their' African Colonies for Independence. Many believe, in historical and political circles, that the decolonisation of Asia was the beginning of the decolonisation of Africa. It began with the New Delhi Conference (1949) and culminated in the Bandung Conference which created the wish of African and Asian countries to 'study and examine their mutual and common interests'. Even though the member states at the conference were drawn between the politics of the west and the socialist bloc, it still came down to the opposition of colonisation. There were no political or military repercussions but more a sense of psychological results, as L. Sayer refers to it as the 'Bandung thunderstorm'. The movement soon gathered pace and extended its influence to those countries who did not even attend who then began to aspire to the general nationalistic feeling throughout the 1950s and 60s. In this essay I will assess the extent at which the different colonial nations prepared their empires for decolonisation. The colonial powers that I will look at will include; Britain, France Belgium and Portugal, with the main focus lying on the dominant two of Britain and France. In each case I will look at; the problems faced by the colonial powers (inside and outside the colonies), the political, social and economical institutions which were left for the African states, and finally I will look at the short term and contemporary impacts of the colonial power's efforts. I will begin by looking at the British preparations for their colonies. The classic British doctrine was to evolve their colonies over time into self governing bodies, and whilst this had happened in the majority of British protectorates it had not even begun in Africa. After World War II the Atlee government brought African affairs to the forefront of British Foreign policy and recognised the African states rights to self determination through political, social and economic progress1. ...read more.


It was the first of the North African protectorates to be colonised and was firmly etched on the French romantic mind where many painters, poets, adventurers and novelists would describe this part of the French 'Orient'6. The attachment to the protectorates did spread further than romanticism. In relation to the rest of Africa, excluding the apartheid south, these Northern states had excelled themselves underneath French rule and the French did not wish to lose places they had a distinct hand in the transformation and modernisation of, not to mention the risk to the huge amount of French nationals there. They wished for limited political autonomy for the natives and believed that Europeans should, in all circumstances, partake in the running of if not being the sovereign power. Post 1950 however there was successive national fronts and no matter which way the French interpret it, the general belief is that they were forced to give up sovereignty. This can be shown by the independence of Morocco and Tunisia occurring within two years of each other in 1956 and 1958. In dealing with this issue you cannot help but relate to the issue of the Algerian/French conflict. A bloody and vicious war fought over the separation of Islam and Arabic from the state and the French government's protection of the French settlers, which stood at roughly one eight of the Algerian population. The significance of the length, and its utmost irony, is that French decolonisation began and ended with Algeria. The conflict was so significant that it almost resulted in revolution on the streets of Paris. When Algeria became a sovereign state in July 1962 it was a result of compromise between the FLN and France which again shows how the French wished to hold on in some way, shape or form in its colonies. In this case the French maintained interest in the Algerian oil fields whilst gaining a naval base at Mels-el-Kebir7. ...read more.


Along with this you had the fact that forty per cent of Angola's imports and a third of Mozambique's were provided by Portugal13. Under Salazar industrialisation in Portugal was taking off and the economy was now being based more towards Europe, this was further compounded by Portugal's admission to the European free trade area. However with the former beliefs in their minds the Lisbon governments became more determined to defeat the armed resistance movements in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau. In a strange series of events, especially in Angola where even the Cuban army became involved, Portugal was not powerful enough to keep control and lost her last colony, Angola, in 1974.14 In conclusion when we look at the styles of the four main imperial powers in Africa we can see four distinctive elements. Britain was in favour of 'indirect rule' and managed disengagement. Indirect rule was ruling through existing structures and were very much hands off with the local elite simply being transferred with a few exceptions. France, in learning from its mistakes in Algeria and Indochina (Vietnam), by the 1960s pulls out very quickly but, like Britain, left a French educated elite and since then has had a very active African policy. In many respects I think most people would agree that they haven't really left at all. Belgium seems to have panic as policy. At the first sign of nationalistic rustlings they freak out, try poorly to sort things out and pull away and leave a huge mess that the UN usually has to sort out in the following years. Portugal follows the way of intransigence and flight when dealing with her colonies. As mentioned Portugal itself was bordering on poverty and the colonies were healing for the national moral. When disputes broke out they fought until they could do no more and were forced to leave, militarily and economically ruined. Again a political, social and economic mess was left in their wake. With foresight, not many colonies were properly prepared. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Politics essays

  1. UN (MODEL) Opening Speech - Republic of Congo - Economic Committee - Diamond Trade

    of the market but in a multi billion dollar industry this means that there are hundreds of millions of dollars available to purchase arms in these conflict zones.

  2. Identify the problems that 2 African countries have faced since Independence. To what extent ...

    and Uganda and the problems they faced after independence. After gaining independence in 1960 from the Belgian colonists, the Congolese inhabitants were immediately exposed to racial turmoil. The first major problem that was faced by Congo was the bloodshed that was caused by racial tension between the European settlers and the Congolese.

  1. To what extent was there a 'post war consensus' between 1945-1970.

    Conservatives favoured private sector enterprise and the Labour Party favoured the public sector, with high levels of state intervention and provision. Each party interpreted their social and economic policies according to these ideological ideas and therefore they always had differences in their policies.

  2. To what extent was Northumberland more successful in solving mid Tudor political problems than ...

    Although the reforms pleased Protestants, the majority of the country was still essentially Catholic. However, this legislation was not met with rebellions akin to those of 1549, perhaps a reflection of Northumberland's ability as a governor, or for more practical reasons of social lethargy following the turbulence and unrest of 1549.

  1. To what extent was religion the main causeOf rebellion in the reign of Henry ...

    many felt that standing up to the Kings new policy was all they could do - they had nothing left to lose. They didn't have the skills in the fast paced world and had no financial means to survive and were on very poor pensions.

  2. South Africa 1945-1994 The end of Apartheid.

    For sanctions to actually be made effective can take a long time for example sanctions in Rhodesia in 1960's and 1970'5 only made the white government collapse after 15 years and a civil war costing 30,000 lives. This questions us as to whether sanctions really were effective or not and

  1. Conflict Analysis: Angola

    The Peace Process hung on a thread for several years. Throughout this time there were blatant violations of the process on both sides, especially in the realm of arms purchases to which the UN turned a blind eye4. As the two sides became better armed, so their attitude towards the peace process became weakened.

  2. How far were Gandhi's actions after 1920 responsible for Indiagaining her independence in 1947?

    chance of gaining any resolution to his wishes, his timing could not have been any worse; it was na�ve to assume, as Nanda did, that concessions could be made at such a time when the British government had more pressing concerns with domestic policy than abroad.

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