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To what extent was Tanzanian independence dependant on the personality of Julius Nyerere?

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Introduction

Sanya Aurora DP-1 Q- To what extent was Tanzanian independence dependant on the personality of Julius Nyerere? During the period of British decolonisation, African countries experienced a more delayed decolonisation than colonies such as India and Malaya. From 1950 to 1960, there was a sudden rush of African decolonisation. The decolonisation occurred during the pitch of the Cold War, and was kicked off by the war over the Suez Canal, where Egyptian forces defeated France and Britain. The above are definitely factors that lead to decolonisation all over Africa. Also Britain had no real incentive to hang on to most of their colonies in Africa, no political or economic reasons. When speaking of Tanzania, or Tanganyika as it was called before joining with Zanzibar in 1963, and the process of independence, the name Julius Nyerere jumps to mind. This essay will throw light on the above mentioned factors, and will investigate the extent to which Julius Nyerere was responsible for Tanzanian independence. The method of government was different in Africa than it had been in India, principally because the colonies were so different. Britain got off to a late start in the race for colonisation, and there was a scramble for Africa, as there were a lot of countries there which had yet to be colonised. Many of these African countries had little or no natural resources, very little infrastructure and no educated middle class, unlike India, where there had been infrastructure previously, and where the British made investments. ...read more.

Middle

Britain however did not allow its colonies to trade with America. Thus they were very much in favour of decolonisation. They did not want Britain in control of possible markets. 1 Another factor that led to the sudden decolonisation across Africa, Tanganyika included, was the Suez crisis in 1956.3.The war for the Suez Canal was between Palestine and Israel. Gamal Abdul Nasser supported Palestine, as he wanted to unite all Arab states against western imperialism. Although he did not support communism, he bought weapons from the USSR to support Palestine. So France, Britain and the US considered him a supporter of communism. They marched to the Suez Canal, but were defeated by Nasser. However the damage was done. There were several implications of this incident that could have been factors of the decolonisation of Africa. France and Britain were observed to be acting like old imperialistic powers. This caused a great deal of anger and dissatisfaction, as there had been a promise to gradual self rule. The fact that Nasser defeated France and Britain gave inspiration to the African countries. It was a case of relative deprivation. They now realised that the West could be defeated by Africans. There was a growth of nationalist thought. However it was also observed that France and Britain were defeated by violent methods. Again a danger of violence was prevalent. ...read more.

Conclusion

Britain would have had no inclination to hold on to it for very long. However, Nyerere determined the nature of independence. He is probably the reason why decolonisation was not as violent as it was for the neighbouring countries. He also determined the type of government that would follow. This is similar to Gandhi in India, another personality to whom the 'Great Man Theory' could apply. Without Gandhi, there still would have been nationalism, and independence would probably have come about due to this nationalism, the decline of the Britain and the bi-polar world. However the last two factors held much more weight in the case of Tanzania, and the British did not want to hold on at all. Gandhi spread awareness to the masses and he stopped communal riots wherever he could. With Tanzania, it was not so set in stone. There was no excess of tribalism, and there were no white settlers. The British had mainly their own reasons to decolonise. Yes, independence would have eventually come about, but Julius Nyerere's contribution to the independence movement cannot go uncredited. He promoted unity in all of Africa, making Swahili the national language. While it is not quite possible to say, without doubt, that violence would have spread in Tanzania without TANU, it may well have. Julius Nyerere pulled together all the flitting nationalism into an organised forum, so what can be said with reasonable certainty is that the nature of Tanzanian independence would have been very different without the personality of Julius Nyerere. ...read more.

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