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Paper Topic:

`Western Civilization` assignments

Author Name

January 21 , 2008

Decolonization and the 21st Century World

1 . Why did decolonization take place ? How did British and French decolonization differ ? Trace the history of the dissolution of the British and the French colonial empires

Increased economic , political and technological integration on an international basis - a process termed globalization - has paved the way for decolonization over a long period of history . The more apparent reasons have been the two world wars which led to the rapid disintegration of the European empires . Resistance to colonialism intensified after

the First World War . The war-weakened tried to renegotiate the terms of the empire . After the Second World War the older forms of empires became infeasible . In some cases decolonization came spontaneously after the war when the imperial powers , depleted of their financial and human resources simply withdrew trying to cut their losses in other cases well-organized anti-colonial movements forced the imperialists out and in still other instances the western powers got embroiled in long and violent struggles with rival local powers European representatives and settlers

The French experience of decolonization differed in two central aspects from that of the British . First the French tended to hold on to their relationship with the former colonies . This gave rise to what is known as neo-colonialism . They kept on extending support to the local political factions of their choice , and deriving financial benefits from lucrative contracts . Secondly , the French experience of decolonization was bloodier , more difficult and more damaging to their prestige than in the case of the British as proved by the examples of Indochina and Algeria

The first important British colony to win independence after the Second World War was India . India became independent in 1947 and was divided into the two countries of India and Pakistan . The West African colonies gained independence in the middle of the 1950s . This was followed by Malaya which became Singapore and Malaysia . The Mau Mau rebellion of Kenya forced the British to finally give up the country . In the 1950s Britain began to withdraw from naval and air bases around the world because they were becoming too expensive to maintain . More than half of the remaining British processions regained their independence in the space of five years in the later half of the decade . Though the British held on to Egypt , it gained its independence in 1952 . In Rhodesia thought the white Rhodesians declared independence in 1965 , it was only in 1980 that the new state of African-dominated Zimbabwe finally came into existence

In the case of France , Indochina regained independence in 1954 after a long and bloody struggle and was divided into four countries . Similarly Algeria followed the same bloody path , and finally became independent on July 1 , 1962

2 . What are the greatest problems facing the world at the beginning of the twenty-first Century

The greatest problems facing the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century are degradation of the global environment population explosion , the possible contradictory effects of new technology...

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