Between the two world wars, colonialism reached its zenith. Geographically first: at this time, colonial empires were indeed established in every continent, notably in Africa where France and Britain had the lion's share. Economically speaking, the context of economic slump and protectionism during the thirties had increased the dependence of the western powers towards their colonies. The First World War was absolutely no caesura concerning colonialism: the triumph of the colonial powers was surely partly built on their colonies' contributions and efforts during the war. But this was seen as evidence of their loyalty towards their colonial masters and their behaviour was alleged to confirm that white colonialism was well-funded. On the other hand, the Second World War was synonymous with a dramatic expansion of the fights to the colonies, notably in Africa, which emphasized the emerging strategic and political importance of these areas, in addition to the economic dimension.
[...] The reason behind the American anti-colonialism was historic. The US used to be a colony which had fought for its independence, so how could they be colonialist them? This might be fairly seen as simplistic and reducing. Indeed, the Americans have in a sense colonised and slaughtered the Indians of America. Nevertheless, the American anti-colonialism is deeply rooted in traditional US values (such as liberty, egalitarianism, etc.) and showed itself with the principle of the “open claim for the end of monopoles, import controls and high tariffs in order not to disadvantage their economy. [...]
[...] But as long as communism did not threat their interests, the US carried out very strong anti-colonialist policies. A striking illustration of this behaviour is what happened in Northern Africa: the US was openly in favour of the end of these protectorates. As for the USSR's anti-colonialism, it seemed much more uncompromising. International communism actively participated to the formation and the logistic backing of the African freedom fighters. USSR also supported more structured organizations, such as the League against Imperialism and Colonial Oppression, Messali Hadj's Northern African Star and René Maran's Ligue Universelle de Défense de la Race Noire. [...]
[...] From Tangier or Cairo in the North to Capetown in the South, from Cape Guardafui in the East to Cape Verde islands in the West, Africa is one and indivisible.” Pan-Africanism is an ideology which promoted dignity, freedom, autonomy and unity of African peoples across the world. The contents of Pan-Africanism were actually pretty weak, but the main problem of this (these) movement(s) was about its unity. There were indeed three trends in Pan-Africanism (the Conservatives, the Moderates and the Radicals) which were mainly divided on the issues of the nature of the process of liberation of the African continent and of the territorial partition of the continent. [...]
[...] The encyclical of 1926 named “Resum Eccesia” promotes the creation of a large indigenous clergy in Africa. Pie XII was directly concerned by the first wave of decolonisation. He produced the encyclical dei Domuni” (April 1957). Its main ideas were to refuse any hierarchy concerning different cultures, to recognize the harm made by Western countries to their colonies and to promote a progressive access of these colonies to independence. In this affair, we can explain this attitude with the fact that the Church did not want to be amalgamated to Western civilization and, consequently, be rejected by the Africans. [...]
[...] The demographic boom that began during the first half of the XXth century, notably in Maghreb, is one of the reasons behind the rise of African nationalisms. The economic transformations during the slump of the 3O's had terrible repercussions on the Black continent: impoverishment in the countryside, fall of the wages, urban crisis (ghettos, etc.), etc. But it also led to the emergence of a cultured class, which could give a political sense to anti-colonialist feelings. Finally, another major explanation for the emergence of such nationalisms is he increasing importance of communism in Africa before the Second World War. [...]
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