Independence Movements 1900-1949

Independence Movements
Sub-Saharan Africa Before Independence
 Africa was the last of the continents to come under
European rule
malaria prevented most explorers before 1850, when a
doctor discovered quinine as a prevention
1869 Opening of the Suez Canal (an excuse for British
invasion and occupation of Egypt when Egypt owed
them $)
Berlin Conference
South Africa formed from Dutch settlers (Afrikaners).
The discovery of diamonds lured the British, who came
in contact with the Zulu and war ensued. Britain won
but expected the Afrikaners to rule.
Sub-Saharan Africa Before Independence
• Few Europeans lived in Africa, yet their small presence had
great social and economic effects
railroads were built from the coast to internal mines to provide raw
materials to the industrial world; Africans were forced labor
Many Africans migrated to cities for opportunities, breaking up
families and creating segregated cities (worst in eastern and southern
Africa where whites lived)
Christianity came with missionaries and attracted Africans with
their mission schools (taught skills and literacy leading to
Islam continued to spread by Arab and African merchants
The contrast between liberal ideas in Western education
and the racial discrimination experienced by those
educated Africans led to the rise of nationalism
Sub-Saharan Africa: Independence
• A few nationalist organizations rose (African National
Congress in South Africa) but World War II had the most
profound effect on nationalism
increased forced labor, inflation, increased demand for
raw materials
Africans also listened to Allied propaganda about
European liberation movements, the fight against Nazi
racism, and new ideas spread across Africa
these spreading ideas alongside the rise of racism, cities,
and changes in religion awakened the next generation
that would demand independence
Sub-Saharan Africa: Independence
• Most of sub-Saharan African independence movements
were achieved through negotiations, but those with a
significant white settler minority had to resort to armed
Ghana won independence from Britain through an election
This led to Britain granting independence to its other West African
colonies, including Nigeria. (Kenya resisted, and the Mau Mau
movement had to be put down.)
French colonies were more reluctant to obtain independence, which
came slowly.
South Africa constructed a government based on apartheid, or racial
separation, promoting racism against the 74% of blacks there. The
ANC formed illegal resistance to apartheid for many years (1990.)
India Before Independence
• India was a colony of GB from late 1700s till mid 1900s.
Under its rule India gained many modernities: railroads,
cities, cotton and steel mills, a middle class.
This educated middle class became nationalistic, which Britain
recognized and granted India small amounts of autonomy-1885 the
Indian National Congress was formed, respectfully petitioning for
higher government positions for Indians
1896-1900 2 million people died of starvation because of drought;
most forests were cut for land, but each generation got less; the
economic development of Britain was unhelpful to most Indians
India Before Independence
Hindu Indians were divided into hundreds of
castes and occupations
¼ of Indians were Muslim and discriminated
the eastern area of Bengal was divided into two,
leaving the Hindus there outnumbered by
Muslims, beginning serious protests—
the All-India Muslim League was created in
India: Independence
• Nationalism grew as India’s steel production rose, and
when India supported Britain in WWI
Many Indians expected their support in WWI to be
rewarded with independence. Instead, millions died in
the flu epidemic and Indians were killed in protests by
the British
For 20 years after WWI India was on the verge of war,
prevented mainly by Mohandas Gandhi also known as
Mahatma “the great soul”, a western educated man in the
Indian National Congress.
India: Independence
In the 1920s the British began to give education, the
economy, and public works over to Indians; India began
to industrialize creating a class of wealthy Indian
Indians were allowed in regional elections but were
excluded from the viceroy’s cabinet, the center of power.
When the viceroy declared war in WWII without Indian
approval, many Indians left government. Britain
promised independence after the war, which Gandhi
declared as too little, too late.
India: Independence
• After WWII the British prepared for Indian
independence—complicated by Muslim-Hindu conflict
the Indian National Congress refused to share power with the
Muslim League; Ali Jinnah demanded a Muslim country: Pakistan
By 1947 the INC had accepted this divided India concept and two
governments were formed
Muslims and Hindus then fled from areas where they were the
minority, causing conflicts where there had been none for centuries
the Hindu state of Kashmir still contained a majority of Muslims;
annexed by India because it held the headwaters of the rivers that
irrigated most of the subcontinent.
The consequence of this annexation of Kashmir is the cause of
bitterness between India and Pakistan now
Latin America: Mexico
• Mexico underwent a traumatic social revolution while
Argentina and Brazil evolved more peaceably
Mexico: “so far from God, so close to the United States.”
The difference between rich and poor was wide in
Mexico was most influenced by Spain during colonial
times and then U.S. and Britain owned most of the big
companies afterwards. The middle class was small and
Under Porfirio Diaz there was much material progress,
but it benefited only a few businessmen. The average
Mexican’s standard of living dropped in 1910.
Latin America: Mexico
Revolution did not come through a well-defined party—it came through
a series of ambitious leaders: some famous ones: Emiliano Zapata and
Pancho Villa—peasant leaders.
Constitutionalists won the battles and promised universal suffrage and
one-term presidency, the end of Catholic church rule
In the 1920s Cardenas set into motion the reforms promised in
the 1917 Constitution
Mexico became a leading oil producer, but most was sold by U.S. and
British companies. In 1938 Cardenas seized the oil companies.
The Mexican Revolution accomplished these things:
more of the population could participate in politics; presidential terms
were six years, one time only; promises of free education, higher wages,
security for workers, redistribution of land; they were not all done
immediately, but laid the foundation for later industrialization
Latin America: Argentina
• the pampas (plains) contained numbers of cattle and sheep, producing
famous beef and wool, transported on American and British run trains
the urban middle class had gained the secret ballot and universal
male suffrage in 1916, and elected a politician they liked. During the
World Wars it prospered, trading with the U.S. and Europe.
the Depression hit Latin America hard—they couldn’t afford to trade
like before, and turned to leaders that promised to resolve their
economic problems.
Juan Peron, inspired by the Nazi victories in Europe, desired to take
over Latin America. He was elected as president in 1946 but was
unable to create a stable government, eventually overthrown by
another military coup
Latin America: Brazil
before WWI Brazil produced most of the world’s coffee
and cacao, using their money on lavish buildings and
1930 Vargas proclaimed himself president of Brazil. He
industrialized the country, created labor unions, pension
plans, but largely ignored the peasants
When he was limited by his own Constitution, Vargas
abolished it and declared himself supreme ruler. He
harmed Latin America with this example.

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