Influence of External Forces and the Rise of Nationalism

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Influence of External Forces and the Rise of Nationalism and the Struggle for Independence
This topic discusses the foreign contribution to nationalism and decolonization in Africa. It was this external contribution that led to African countries gaining their independence.
Role of the principal of self determination in the development of nationalism and the struggle for independence
The principle of self determination was among the 14 points of the US president Woodrow Wilson on which Versailles Treaty of 1919 was made. The principle state that, “Rights of all people to choose the form of government under which they will live.” The principle of self determination advocated for the restoration of sovereign rights and self government to people who have been colonized.
The following were the role of the principal of self determination in the development of nationalism and struggle for independence:
1. Raised awareness
The principle of self-determination brought awareness to African nations by recognizing that colonialism was a bad thing and did not deserve to be in Africa. That is why these nations started movement to end colonialism.
2. It promoted unity
Principle of self-determination unified Africans so that they can fight colonialism. For example, political parties like CPP (Ghana) and TANU (Tanganyika) and militant movements like the Maumau in Kenya were formed to end colonialism.
3. Commitment of the UN
The principle of self determination was incorporated into the UN Charter. By doing that, the UN had to take responsibility to ensure the respect of the principle by challenging colonialism for the colonial subjects to attain self governance.
4. Attracted the attention of the superpowers
The USA and USSR approved the principle of self determination. They influenced decolonization of Africa for their own interest.
5. It inspired Africans to demand participation in the colonial government
Africans demanded for constitutional reforms to allow or increase their representation in the legislative councils and participation in colonial administration. This was good foundation for nationalism and independence as it gave them experience and desire for self rule.
6. It magnified Pan Africanism
After the principle of self-determination, pan Africanism gained power to continue with their movement. For example, the Manchester (1945) and Accra conference (1958) demanded immediate decolonization of Africa.
How some nationalists in Africa used the principle of self determination to demand for their independence in their countries
1. Formation of political parties
Political parties like CPP (Ghana), TANU (Tanganyika), KANU (Kenya) and many others were formed by African nationalist to mobilize masses in the struggle for independence. The parties were an expression of national consciousness and a will for self determination.
2. Demand for fair representation in the legislative councils
Africans demanded equal representation in the legislative councils with the Europeans. The aim was to defend their interest and rights.
3. Militant nationalism
The unwillingness of some colonial powers to grand independence forced nationalists in some colonies to turn to militancy. For example, Maumau movement in Kenya.
4. Approached the UN
The UN gave hand to assist in the decolonisation through her decolonisation committee by pressing colonial powers grand independence to African countries.
5. Conference and demonstration
Nationalist leaders organized conference and demonstration. For example, after the invasion of Ethiopia, West  African students organised street matching in Nigeria, Lagos to demonstrate their bitterness against imperialism.
6. Formation of pressure groups
This included welfare associations and religious movement that rose to fight for Africans socio-political and economic rights. Their attention was to liquidate colonialism and set African people free to decide on their own.
Role of Pan Africanism conferences in the development of nationalism and struggle for independence in Africa
Pan-Africanism is a movement that includes the unity of people of African descent throughout the world in revolutionary struggle for the total liberation of Africans from colonial rule and any kind of oppression.
The first Pan Africanism conference was held in London (1900), the second was held in Paris (1919), the third was held in London (1921), the fourth was held in London and Lisbon (1923), the fifth was held in New York (1927), the sixth was held in Manchester (1945).
The following are the role of Pan Africanism conferences in the development of nationalism and struggle for independence in Africa:
1. It strengthened the consciousness of blacks throughout the world
Pan Africanism awakened Africans to realize that they were being exploited and now was the right time to fight.
2. It provided a forum
Pan Africanism provided a platform for people to talk about their problems. For example, the Manchester congress proposed appropriate liberation strategies urging Africans to first use peaceful means until when they fail then resort to militant strategy.
3. It united people
Pan Africanism united Africans in diaspora and those in Africa. They became one and worked together to solve their problems.
4. It created nationalist leaders
Those who attended the Manchester Pan African conferences in 1945 like Nkrumah, Azikiwe and Kenyatta, came back to Africa in high gear to lead their countries to self rule.
5. Formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU)
Pan Africanism was the forerunner of the OAU. Among the major aims of OAU was to speed decolonization in Africa. To this end, OAU sponsored liberation movements in a number of countries such as Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.
6. It restored Africans dignity
It helped Africans see themselves as other people who needed respect.

Impact of the second world war on the development of nationalism and the struggle for independence
1. Decline of European economy
The second world war led to the collapse of the European economy. factories, farms and infrastructure were destroyed. For reconstruction, they intensified exploitation of the colonies. The result of all was escalation of anti-colonial feelings in the colonies.
2. The ex-soldiers
Africans who participated in the second world war, got new experience. Also, they found that whites were cowards, weaker than they had previously thought. On returning home they started movements like the Maumau in Kenya by men like Dedan Kimathi and the FLN in Algeria by Ahmed Ben Bella to overthrow colonialism.
3. Emergence of new superpowers
The second world war made USA and USSR superpower. They de-campaigned colonialism using their Veto power. Also their supported African nationalism both morally and materially. For example, the USSR gave financial and military support to liberation movements of many states like Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.
4. Formation of the UNO
UNO was formed immediately after the World war II to replace the league of nations which failed to keep world peace. In the respect to the right of self determination, UNO formed the Decolonization Committee and Trusteeship council which were assigned duties to press colonial powers to grant independence to their colonies.
5. Independence of Asians countries
The war led to attainment of self rule of Asians countries soon after its end: Indonesia in 1945, India and Pakistan in 1947 and Burma in 1948. Because the war was directly fought in these countries and weakened their colonial matters militarily and economically. Their independence was a boost to independence in Africa.
6. The Bandug conference and NAM
The second world war resulted into the dangerous cold war. To fight imperialism, the Afro-Asian conference was convened at Bandug in 1955 and 1961. Non Allied Movement was formed. The two forged Third World solidarity against colonialism and neocolonialism.
Contribution of the economic decline of European capitalism in facilitating decolonization of Africa
1. Excessive exploitation of the colonies
After the collapse of the European economy, they began to exploit Africans to recover from war losses. For example, land alienation increased and intensive labour exploitation was introduced. This aroused grievances among the Africans who began to fight for their independence.
2. Rise of USA as a leading capitalist power
After the USA became superpower, Europe become dependent on USA for financial aid. USA used this chance to condition the European nations to decolonize Africa.
3. Economic weakness
The economic crisis affected the colonists in their homes and in their colonies. Thus, they decided to decolonize Africa so that they could build their own home economy that had collapsed. They were no longer able to run their colonies.
4. Rise of anti-colonial groups in Europe
Anti-colonial feelings emerged among politicians, bourgeoisie, socialists and the public who now saw colonies as a burden since some were not resourceful and metropolitan tax payer’s money was spent on running them.
5. Military weakness
The colonial power who directly involved in the war: Britain and France were militarily weak after the war. Their military weakness gave morale to Africans to intensify liberation campaigns like the Mau Mau in Kenya and FLN in Algeria.
6. Change in ideology
The heavy economic burden faced by colonial powers, Britain and France, compelled them to shift their minds from colonial policy in favour of neo-colonialism.
Role of USSR in the process of decolonization of Africa and nationalism struggle for independence
1. Provision of military support like guns and bombs that were extended to African fighters.
2. Condemnation of colonialism on the world scale like in the UNO, where Russia used her veto power against colonialism.
3. Giving training to nationalist fighters.
4. Provision of moral support. They encouraged the fighters to keep on fighting and never to give up.
Role of USA in the process of decolonization of Africa and nationalism struggle for independence
1. USA condemned colonialism on the world scale in the international tools like the UNO.
2. Provision of moral support.
3. Provision of material support. For example, she supported Jonas Savimbi in Angola.
4. The use of marshal plan. This was an economic recovery plan introduced by the USA to the European nations affected by the Second world war in 1947. One of the conditions for the European countries to get loan was decolonization of African and Asian countries. This pressure made them accept to prepare their colonies for independence.
Contribution of the independence of India and Burma to the development of African nationalism in the struggle for independence
India got her independence in 1947 and Burma in 1948. The independence of those Asians countries was of great impact to the struggle for self rule in Africa as explained:
1. Indian independence was of a great lesson and very inspirational to African nationalist fighters
Mahatma Gandhi believed in the use of non violence and taught so the Indians. Through this method they were able to drive the British out of their land.
Many nationalists like Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Julius Nyerere of Tanganyika and others copied non violence method and they got their independence early.
2. Moral support
For example, Gandhi paid visits full of inspiration to the fighters in Africa. He sat with and gave speeches that enlightened a lot of them. This was a moral support and Africans came to believe that if it was possible to the Indians then it could no doubt at all be possible to the oppressed Africans.
3. Africans nationalists learned from the independence of India that unity would do it all
They had to bring together their people and go as one to face the British.
4. Asian independence weakened European imperialism
Asian countries like India and Burma were rich European foreign economically. They were source of market, cheap labour and raw materials. Their independence was a blow to European economies.
5. Pressurized UNO
Independence of Asian countries pressed the UNO to push colonial powers to grant independence to colonies. Using the UN platform, they condemned colonialism as an abuse of fundamental rights of nations.
6. Formation of NAM
The independence of Asian countries strengthened the Afro-Asian solidarity, leading to the Bandung Conference of 1955 which laid foundation for formation of NAM in 1961. NAM condemned imperialism and laid down strategies and solicited for support to fight colonialism.

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