In what ways did the colonial experience and the struggle for independence shape the agenda of developing countries in the second half of the twentieth century?
To what extent did the experience of the former colonies and developing countries in the twentieth century parallel that of the earlier “new nations” in the Americas in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries?
How would you compare the historical experience of India and China in the twentieth century?
How has the experience of modern development in the third world differed from that of the capitalist West and the communist East?
What was distinctive about the end of Europe's African and Asian empires compared to other cases of imperial disintegration?
What international circumstances and social changes contributed to the end of colonial empires?
What obstacles confronted the leaders of movements for independence?
Was India's freedom struggle a success? Consider the question from several points of view.
What was the role of Gandhi in India's struggle for independence?
What conflicts and differences divided India's nationalist movement?
Why was African majority rule in South Africa delayed until 1994, whereas the overthrow of European colonialism had occurred much earlier in the rest of Africa and Asia?
How did South Africa's struggle against white domination change over time?
Why was Africa's experience with political democracy so different from that of India?
What accounts for the ups and downs of political democracy in postcolonial Africa?
What obstacles impeded the economic development of third world countries?
In what ways did thinking about the role of the state in the economic life of developing countries change? Why did it change?
In what ways did cultural revolutions in Turkey and Iran reflect different understandings of the role of Islam in modern societies?
• Colonization and decolonization created a new national identity, which took shape in opposition to the imperial power. Central to this agenda was the establishment of stable governing institutions and a new civil society.
• Economic development provided the second critical element in the agenda as newly free states sought both to increase production and to distribute the fruits of that growth to raise living standards, a central promise of independence movements.
• All sought to define their states following periods of dominance by European powers;
• they claimed international status equivalent to that of their former rulers;
• they often secured freedom through revolutionary struggle;
• they sought to develop their economies, which were heavily influenced by their past and continued interactions with the industrial nations of the west.
• In the early part of the century, both India and China found themselves under considerable Western influence, with India being part of the British Empire and China partially occupied by several European powers;
• India in the second half of the century maintained a democratic government, while China adopted a communist government.
• India maintained private property, even if the state provided tariffs, licenses, loans, subsidies, and overall planning; the Chinese adopted a communist approach to industrialization before slowly shifting to a more capitalistic approach.
• Both grew rapidly in the final decades of the century to emerge as economic powers.
• The third world drew on both capitalist and communist economic models rather than coalescing around one or the other.
• Unlike the capitalist West and, to a lesser extent, the communist East, the third world had to contend with a colonial legacy that often left its societies with few of the resources needed to modernize, as they possessed low rates of literacy, few people with managerial experience, a weak private economy, and transportation systems oriented to export rather than national integration.
• Never before had the end of empire been so associated with the mobilization of the masses around a nationalist ideology;
• nor had earlier cases of imperial dissolution generated such a plethora of nation-states, each claiming an equal place in a world of nation-states.
• In terms of international circumstances, the world wars weakened Europe, while discrediting any sense of European moral superiority;
• both the United States and the Soviet Union, the new global superpowers, generally opposed the older European colonial empires;
• the United Nations provided a prestigious platform from which to conduct anticolonial agitation.
• In terms of social circumstances, by the early twentieth century in Asia and the mid-twentieth century in Africa, a second or third generation of Western-educated elites, largely male, had arisen throughout the colonial world. These young men were thoroughly familiar with European culture, were deeply aware of the gap between its values and its practices, no longer viewed colonial rule as a vehicle for their people's progress as their fathers had, and increasingly insisted on independence now;
• growing numbers of ordinary people were receptive to this message.
• Leaders had to organize political parties, recruit members, plot strategy, develop an ideology, and negotiate both with one another and with the colonial power to secure the transition to independence;
• in some regions—particularly settler-dominated colonies and Portuguese territories—leaders also directed military operations and administered liberated areas;
• beneath the common goal of independence, anticolonial groups struggled with one another over questions of leadership, power, strategy, ideology, and the distribution of material benefits.
• The freedom struggle was a success in that India secured political independence from Britain.
• However, it was not a complete success for Gandhi, as his vision of one India was thwarted by religious divisions between Muslims and Hindus.
• Those killed or displaced during the partition of India also must have seen the freedom struggle as less than a complete success.
• He pioneered active and confrontational, though nonviolent, strategies of resistance that underpinned the Indian independence movement;
• he became a leader in the Indian National Congress during the 1920s and 1930s;
• he played a critical role in turning the INC into a mass organization.
• Not all nationalists accepted Gandhi's nonviolence or his inclusive definition of India.
• Some militant Hindus preached hatred of Muslims.
• Some saw efforts to improve the position of women or untouchables as a distraction from the chief task of gaining independence from Britain.
• There was disagreement about whether to participate in British-sponsored legislative bodies without complete independence.
• A number of smaller parties advocated on behalf of particular regions or castes.
• There was a growing divide between India's Hindu and Muslim populations, which led to arguments that India was really two nations rather than one.
• Black South Africans' freedom struggle was against their country's white settler minority, rather than against a European colonial power;
• the intransigence of the sizable and threatened settler community played a role in the delay;
• the extreme dependence of most Africans on the white-controlled economy rendered individuals highly vulnerable to repressive action, though collectively the threat to withdraw their essential labor also provided them with a powerful weapon;
• race was a much more prominent issue in South Africa, expressed most clearly in the policy of apartheid, which attempted to separate blacks from whites in every conceivable way while retaining their labor power in the white-controlled economy.
• In the opening decades of the twentieth century, the educated, professional, and middle-class Africans who led the political party known as the African National Congress sought not to overthrow the existing order but to be accepted as “civilized men” within that society. They appealed to the liberal, humane, and Christian values that white society claimed. For four decades, the leaders of the ANC pursued peaceful and moderate protest, but to little effect.
• During the 1950s, a new and younger generation of the ANC leadership broadened its base of support and launched nonviolent civil disobedience.
• In the 1960s, following the banning of the ANC, underground nationalist leaders turned to armed struggle, authorizing selected acts of sabotage and assassination, while preparing for guerrilla warfare in camps outside the country;
• the 1970s and 1980s saw an outbreak of protests in sprawling, segregated, and impoverished black neighborhoods as well as an increasingly active black labor movement.
• The South African freedom struggle also benefited from increasing international pressure on the apartheid government.
• The struggle for independence in India had been a far more prolonged affair, thus providing time for an Indian political leadership to sort itself out.
• Britain began to hand over power in India in a gradual way well before complete independence was granted.
• Because of these factors, a far larger number of Indians had useful administrative or technical skills than was the case in Africa.
• Unlike most African countries, the nationalist movement in India was embodied in a single national party, the INC, whose leadership was committed to democratic practice.
• The partition of India at independence eliminated a major source of internal discord.
• Indian statehood could be built on cultural and political traditions that were far more deeply rooted than in most African states.
• Some have argued that Africans lacked some crucial ingredient for democratic politics—an educated electorate, a middle class, or perhaps a thoroughly capitalist economy.
• Others have suggested that Africa's traditional culture, based on communal rather than individualistic values and concerned to achieve consensus rather than majority rule, was not compatible with the competitiveness of party politics.
• Some have argued that Western-style democracy was simply inadequate for the tasks of development confronting the new states;
• creating national unity was more difficult when competing political parties identified primarily with particular ethnic or “tribal” groups;
• the immense problems that inevitably accompany the early stages of economic development may be compounded by the heavy demands of a political system based on universal suffrage.
• Widespread economic disappointment weakened the popular support of many postindependence governments in Africa and discredited their initial democracies.
• The quest for economic development took place in societies divided by class, religion, ethnic groups, and gender and occurred in the face of explosive population growth;
• colonial rule had provided only the most slender foundations for modern development to many of the newly independent nations, which had low rates of literacy, few people with managerial experience, a weak private economy, and transportation systems oriented to export rather than national integration;
• development had to occur in a world split by rival superpowers and economically dominated by the powerful capitalist economies of the West;
• developing countries had little leverage in negotiations with the wealthy nations of the Global North and their immense transnational corporations;
• it was hard for leaders of developing countries to know what strategies to pursue.
• At the opening, people in the developing world and particularly those in newly independent countries expected that state authorities would take major responsibility for spurring the economic development of their countries, and some state-directed economies had real successes.
• But in the last several decades of the twentieth century, the earlier consensus in favor of state direction largely collapsed, replaced by a growing dependence on the market to generate economic development.
• At the dawn of the new millennium, a number of Latin American countries were once again asserting a more prominent role for the state in their quests for economic development and social justice.
• The cultural revolution in Turkey sought to embrace modern culture and Western ways fully in public life and to relegate Islam to the sphere of private life. With that in mind, almost everything that had made Islam an official part of Ottoman public life was dismantled, and Islam was redefined as a modernized personal religion, available to individual citizens of a secular Turkish state.
• The cultural revolution in Iran cast Islam as a guide to public as well as private life. With this goal in mind, the sharia became the law of the land, and religious leaders assumed the reins of government. Culture and education were regulated by the state according to Islamic law.