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Raymond F. Betts considers the 'process' of decolonization and the results that have left a legacy of difficulties, drawing on quite a few examples together with Ghana, India, Rwanda and Hong Kong. He examines:
- the results of the 2 international Wars at the colonial empire
- the expectancies and difficulties created via independence
- the significant demographic shifts accompanying the top of the empire
- the cultural studies, literary events, and the quest for ideology of the demise empire and the newly self sustaining nations.
With an annotated bibliography and a chronology of political decolonization, Decolonization offers a concise, unique and multi-disciplinary advent to this debatable subject and analyzes what the long run holds past the empire.
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Extra info for Decolonization (The Making of the Contemporary World)
The last brazen imperialist act in the manner of nineteenth-century European power politics was over. In retrospect the failed invasion urges the historical conclusion that this was the precipitant that brought colonial empire to an end. But such an interpretation asks too much. As humiliating as it was, as strongly opposed as it was by former colonial territories now sitting as sovereign nations in the General Assembly of the United Nations, the quickly aborted invasion only signaled the obsolescence of imperialistic tactics and the weakness of the two THE POSTWAR SITUATION 35 formerly great colonial powers in face of a new world of superpowers and international public opinion.
The pace of decolonization, in the main concluded in twenty-five years, was in some measure a function of a time of rapid communications in which words and images reached far and arrived swiftly, “impacting,” in our current idiom, a large audience. In this era newspapers and journals proliferated, radios and movie houses became commonplace in the colonial world, both reinforcing and expanding the activities of the colonial intellectual elite and generating a public awareness, through spoken word and image, among the vast, still illiterate populations.
Few supporters of empire at the time of that written assessment would have disagreed with the first part. The second part, however, only rang with truth after World War II. 3 Instability and uncertainty The postwar situation The historian’s famous caution about ex post facto assessments should be borne in mind in any consideration of the rapid end of colonial empire. Because all of these European empires “fell” quickly, rather like houses of cards (but hardly in peaceful play), one can easily assume that the result was preordained or, at the very least, an expected outcome.