Decolonization of Africa [1945 - 1975]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 24, 2022, 12:04

After the end of World War II and between 1950 and 1975, a strong wave of nationalism swept across Africa, resulting in a common objective for all Africans to fight for their freedom. The war had serious military, economic, psychological, and political ramifications, resulting in the transition from colonial governments to independent countries.

Decolonization of Africa

Threatened by post-war debt, European powers could no longer afford the resources needed to maintain control of their African colonies. This allowed nationalists to negotiate the Decolonization of Africa very quickly and with minimal casualties. The European countries lacked the wealth and political support necessary to suppress revolts.

Further, they faced opposition from the new superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, both of which had been opposing colonialism. This gave impetus to the process of Decolonization of Africa, and thus the continent was liberated from the shackles of slavery.

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Decolonization of Africa and its Aftermath

The process of decolonization largely took place after the end of the Second World War. During this time, roughly from 1945 to 1975, countries gained independence through various means, including nonviolent pressure and resistance, diplomacy and negotiation, and violent armed conflict. Every country's struggle was different, but some common trends can be traced.

The Decolonization of Africa had far-reaching consequences on the economy, resulting in weakened growth. It was often marred with political turmoil, unrest, and revolts. Lack of infrastructure, unorganized labour, and hordes of other related issues impoverished the African states beyond imagination. Despite being rich in cash crops and minerals, the African states could hardly process the goods themselves, leading to inevitable dependence on other economies.

Though colonialism left the African nations beleaguered and tormented, the Decolonization of Africa was not smooth either, as independent countries struggled immensely to join the mainstream in all its glory. The belief that nothing can be better than freedom, however, kept motivating the nations.

Colonization of Africa

Colonization is characterized by centuries of tyranny and the genocide of indigenous people, augured by white supremacy, greed, hegemony, racism, and capitalism. Talking about the colonization of Africa, the reasons were mainly economic, political, and religious. An economic depression was invading Europe, and powerful countries such as Germany, France, and Great Britain were losing their wealth.

The period between 1870 and 1914 was significant as European countries like Italy, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, etc., vied for control of almost all of Africa by securing as much land and natural resources as possible.

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FAQs on Decolonization of Africa

Q 1. What caused the Decolonization of Africa?

World War II led to the Decolonization of Africa by affecting both Europe and Africa militarily, psychologically, politically, and economically. The war helped build strong African nationalism.

Q 2. When did the Decolonization of Africa start?

The Decolonization of Africa began between 1945 and 1975.

Q 3. What were the main reasons for the Decolonization of Africa?

Consequent to the ravages of the war, European powers could not afford the resources needed to maintain their African colonies. They also lacked the wealth and political support needed to suppress revolts. Further, they faced opposition from the new superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, both of which had been opposing colonialism.

Q 4. Was the Decolonization of Africa easy?

No, it was not. The Decolonization of Africa was often marred with violence, political turmoil, unrest, and revolts. Although most African countries were rich in cash crops and minerals, they could not process these goods themselves.