Bruce Morrison » The Colonies Become New Nations, 1945–Present

The Colonies Become New Nations, 1945–Present

The Colonies Become New Nations, 1945–Present

After World War II, independence movements sweep through colonies in Africa and Asia, and many new nations are formed.


Section 1: The Indian Subcontinent Achieves Freedom

Section 2: Southeast Asian Nations Gain Independence

Section 3: New Nations in Africa

Section 4: Conflicts in the Middle East

Section 5: Central Asia Struggles


Section 1: The Indian Subcontinent Achieves Freedom

New nations emerge from the British colony of India.


A Movement Toward Independence


Struggling Against British Rule

• Indian independence movement intensifies after World War II

• Country is split; much animosity between Hindus, Muslims

• Congress Party is leading independence party; most members Hindu

• Muslim League: group formed to protect Muslim interests -Muhammad Ali Jinnah—Muslim League leader

Freedom Brings Turmoil


Partition and Bloodshed

• British adopt policy of partition—splitting India into two countries

• India would be largely Hindu nation; Pakistan mostly Muslim

• Great Britain grants independence to both in 1947

• Millions leave their homes to resettle in Hindu and Muslim lands

• Hindu-Muslim violence erupts during this movement; one million die

• Indian independence movement leader Mohandas Gandhi assassinated - assassin opposed Gandhi’s support of Muslim rights


The Battle for Kashmir

• India and Pakistan fight over Kashmir, region in northern India

• Cease-fire in 1949, but battle for region continues


Modern India


Nehru Leads India

• Jawaharlal Nehru becomes first prime minister of independent India

• Rules for 17 years; pushes for economic and social reforms

• Leads alliance of countries that were neutral in Cold War


Troubled Times

• Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi, rules much of time from 1966–84

• Faces opposition from Sikhs, is assassinated by Sikh bodyguards

• Son Rajiv becomes prime minister, is assassinated in 1991


Twenty-First Century Challenges

• India is one of world’s most populous nations

• India faces various population, social, religious problems

• Continues struggles with Pakistan; both become nuclear powers


Pakistan Copes with Freedom


Civil War

• Pakistan begins as two separate and divided states

• East Pakistan more populous; West Pakistan houses government

• East Pakistan declares independence from West Pakistan in 1971

• Civil war erupts; East wins, becomes new nation of Bangladesh


A Pattern of Instability

• Many different governments rule Pakistan, none achieve stability

• Benazir Bhutto leads Pakistan in 1980s and 1990s; military now rules


Bangladesh and Sri Lanka Struggle


Bangladesh Faces Many Problems

• Bangladesh struggles with political instability, economic hardship

• Also endures many natural disasters: storms, cyclones


Civil Strife Grips Sri Lanka

• Island of Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, wins independence in 1948

• Population split between Buddhist Sinhalese and Hindu Tamils

• Tamils begin fighting for their own state; struggle continues today


Section 2: Southeast Asian Nations Gain Independence

Former colonies in Southeast Asia work to build new governments and economies.


The Philippines Achieves Independence


The United States and the Philippines

• U.S. grants independence to Philippines in 1946

• Grants aid to Philippines

• Insists on favorable trade laws

• Also insists on maintaining army, navy bases in Philippines

- bases key to U.S. competition with China, Soviets

• Many Filipinos oppose bases; U.S. gives up bases in 1992


From Marcos to Ramos

• Ferdinand Marcos rules Philippines as dictator from 1966 to 1986

• Corazón Aquino runs against Marcos in 1986 and wins

• Marcos refuses to step down; public outcry forces him to leave

• In 1992, Fidel V. Ramos succeeds Aquino as president


The Government Battles Rebels

• Current Philippine government battling rebel group, Abu Sayyaf - Muslim organization that wants to form its own state

• Group uses terror tactics; government gets U.S. aid in its fight



British Colonies Gain Independence


Burma Experiences Turmoil

• Burma (now called Myanmar) wins independence from British in 1948

• Military takes control in 1962, continues to rule repressively today

• Aung San Suu Kyi—activist often arrested for pro-democracy stance


Malaysia and Singapore

• Federation of Malaya created in 1957 - unites several lands, peoples

• Singapore breaks away in 1965 to become independent city-state

• Malaysia, Singapore build thriving economies


Indonesia Gains Independence from the Dutch


Sukarno Leads the Independence Movement

• Sukarno—leads independence, tries to guide the nation to a democracy

• Indonesia gains independence from Dutch in 1949

• New nation home to many groups; large Muslim population


Instability and Turmoil

• Indonesia grows politically and economically unstable

• Suharto—general who ends rebellion, takes power for himself (1967)

• Rules harshly for many years, forced by people to step down in 1998


East Timor Wins Independence

• Suharto seizes nearby island of East Timor in 1970s

• Indonesian officials rule island population harshly

• Citizens of East Timor vote for independence in August 1999

• Pro-Indonesian forces use violence to stop freedom movement

• UN forces eventually bring peace; East Timor wins freedom in 2002


Section 3: New Nations in Africa

After World War II, African leaders throw off colonial rule and create independent countries.


Achieving Independence


Growing Unrest

• Negritude movement—pre-World War II celebration of African culture

• War effort emboldens Africans; Europeans question colonial policy too

• Colonies take different paths to freedom; some peaceful, some violent

• Many African colonies become new nations in years after World War II

• Most new African nations struggle to become stable and strong


Ghana Leads the Way


The First Independent Nation

• British colony, Gold Coast, is first to gain independence in 1957

• Kwame Nkrumah—leader ousts Britain from Gold Coast

• Nkrumah serves as first president, attempts to modernize country

• His policies hurt economy; he is eventually ousted from power

• Army begins long rule in 1966; first free elections held in 2000


Fighting for Freedom


Kenya Claims Independence

• Jomo Kenyatta—leader of Kenyan independence movement

• Mau Mau—secret society of Kenyans who fight against British rule

• Kenya wins independence in 1963; Kenyatta becomes president

• Daniel arap Moi follows Kenyatta, ruling harshly, corruptly

• Moi resigns in 2002; new party gains power through free elections


Algeria Struggles with Independence

• Algeria wins independence from France in 1962 after armed struggle

• Ahmed Ben Bella—first leader of Algeria, overthrown in 1965

• Nation faces many problems; causes dissatisfaction among citizens

• Spurs rise of Islamic fundamentalists; group wins elections in 1991

• Government does not cede power, prompts continual civil war


Civil War in Congo and Angola


Freedom and Turmoil for Congo

• Congo wins independence from Belgium in 1960

• Army leader Mobutu Sese Seko rules from 1965 to 1997

• Rule is repressive and corrupt; overthrown by rebel forces

• Rebel leader takes control; rival groups continue to fight for power


War Tears at Angola

• Angolans fight for and win independence from Portugal in 1975

• Two rival groups battle for power; civil war finally ends in 2002


Section 4: Conflicts in the Middle East

Division of Palestine after World War II makes the Middle East a hotbed of competing nationalist movements.


Israel Becomes a State


A Jewish Nation

• Both Jews and Palestinians make historic claims to Palestine

• Jews exiled from land in second century - begin settlement movement in Palestine to create a state

• UN votes for formation of Jewish, Palestinian states in 1947

• Palestinians, nearby Arab nations reject creation of Israel


Israel and Arab States in Conflict


Wars Break Out

• Arab neighbors attack Israel the day after it becomes new nation

• Israel repels the attack, seizes additional territory


The 1956 Suez Crisis

• Arab-Israeli tension erupts into war again in 1956

• Conflict begins after Egypt grabs control of British-held Suez Canal

• Israeli troops seize back the canal with British, French support

• International pressure prompts Israel to return canal to Egyptians


Arab-Israeli Wars Continue

• Israel defeats Arab countries in Six-Day War of 1967 - gains key land: Jerusalem, Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, West Bank

• Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat launches Arab attack on Israel in 1973

• Israeli leader Golda Meir orders Israeli counterattack

• Israel recovers most territory; war ends in truce


The Palestine Liberation Organization

• Many Palestinians living under Israeli rule, want their own state

• Form Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO); Yasir Arafat leader


Efforts at Peace


Sadat Moves for Peace

• Egypt and Israel sign peace agreement, Camp David Accords, in 1979

• Egypt recognizes Israeli state; Israel returns Sinai region to Egypt

• Many Arab countries angry at Egypt; extremists assassinate Sadat


Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Increase

• PLO continues armed struggle for own state during 1970s and 1980s

• Palestinians launch intifada, or uprising, against Israeli rule in 1987 - campaign includes boycotts, demonstrations, attacks on army


The Oslo Peace Accords

• Secret talks result in Oslo Peace Accords in 1993

• Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin calls for Palestinian self-rule

• Self-rule to begin in West Bank town of Jericho

• Rabin is assassinated by Jewish opponent of Palestinian self-rule

• Peace plan stalls


Peace Slips Away


The Conflict Intensifies

• Steps to revive peace plan fail; Israeli-Palestinian hostility grows

• Second intifada arises in 2000; suicide bomber attacks on civilians

• Israel responds with greater armed force, halt dealings with Arafat


Working Toward a Solution

• Palestinians elect a prime minister to negotiate with Israel in 2003

• PLO and Israeli leaders agree to explore new U.S.-backed peace plan








Section 5: Central Asia Struggles

Lands controlled or influenced by the Soviet Union struggle with the challenges of establishing new nations.


Freedom Brings New Challenges


New Countries Emerge

• Soviet Union collapses in 1991; fifteen new nations emerge

• Among them are the nations of Central Asia, divided into two groups:

- Transcaucasian Republics—countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia

- Central Asian Republics—five countries east of Caspian Sea


Economic Struggles

• New countries are poor; most rely on Soviets for economic help

• Some nations working to use their oil supplies to boost economy


Ethnic and Religious Strife

• Some nations struggle with violence among ethnic, religious groups

• Muslims and Christians in Azerbaijan fought from 1991–1994


Afghanistan and the World


Struggle for Freedom

• Afghanistan sits below Central Asia, largely poor and rural land

• Becomes independent in 1919; attempts to create democracy fail


Pushing Back the Soviets

• Communist group with ties to Soviet Union takes control in 1978

• Rebels forces form mujahideen—holy warriors—to fight Communist rule

• Soviets invade Afghanistan in 1979, seek to make it part of empire

• U.S.-backed rebels fight well, eventually force Soviets to leave


Rise and Fall of the Taliban

• Numerous groups fight for power after Soviet forces leave

• Taliban—conservative Islamic group, wins control of country in 1998

• Imposes extreme Islamic law, provides refuge for terrorists

• U.S. demands Taliban give up terrorist leader Osama bin Laden

• Taliban refuse; U.S. invades Afghanistan, helps topple Taliban


Challenges Ahead

• New government forms, faces challenges in rebuilding war-torn nation