Essay: Second World War Acted as a Catalyst

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Second World War acted as a catalyst for decolonisation.

The Second World War acted as a catalyst for decolonization

A mention of the British Empire creates the image of a once dominant country across the world. However, the British Empire is now a matter of history owing to several realizations that weakened the country and led to the end of the Empire. Indeed, the Second World War was a great determinant of the fate of the British Empire across the world. Britain emerged from the war totally weak and economically unstable contrary to its original position as a superpower across the world. The traditional British navy which had actually been a sign of its dominance and strength had certainly become obsolete owing to the great advances realized in naval warfare during the war

. In a way, the economic strength of Britain was in a regrettable recession while the country was losing grip of its territories across the world. Despite contrary arguments, it must be stressed that the two world wars played a significant role towards the decolonization of the British Empire.

Indeed it is a matter of argument on whether Great Britain had the obligation of letting of some of its territories and focusing on the reconstruction of the country. More importantly, several argument arise on the whether Britain would have effectively reconstructed itself without decolonizing most of its territories. The idea of decolonization of Great Britain was not certainly a much supported affair across the country

. Several arguments abound regarding the imperatives of decolonization ad how the country could manage to get through without the much needed resources from its territories

. In a way, the idea of decolonization was in most cases a bitter reality that had to be swallowed. Given the very critical global environment that characterized the post-war world, it would be prudent to argue that most European powers realized that they could no longer be supported in the ideas of colonization. The process was nevertheless a gradual affair especially in Africa where the most of the colonies had no efficient capability to manage their affairs in case the colonizers left abruptly.

Pre-war colonial world dominance

Seemingly, much of the strength of Britain came as a result of its large naval force which was presumably the largest in the world. Indeed, British dominance in global affairs was always much unchallenged in the period prior to the Second World War. Much of the impetus toward British involvement in the East emerged from the Ottoman Empire's entry into World War I

. The major objective in this regard was to ensure a postwar dispensation of the Middle East in order to quash the dominance of the Ottoman Empire. It is felt that this was the major reason why the European powers aggressively partitioned the region amongst themselves.

As a matter of opinion, much of the success of the British Empire and its dominance across the world was basically as result of the efficient strategies that were always in place regarding the future of this empire. The military strategists had the objective of putting the whole world under the British Empire and this gave much impetus towards the global conquest that characterized the empire in the post war era. In this regard, it was believed that any country that could effectively seize the Eurasian land mass and put it under its control could effectively conquer the whole world and put it under its influence. Indeed, the British military strategists reasoned in that direction. In terms of ruling the entire world, the British opinion had it that culling of the global masses would effectively solve the equation. In this regard, it was seen that after conquering the world, the populations would be made peasantry poor and ignorant so as to limit any chances of revolt against their masters (Boyce 112). Much of these thoughts were certainly common preoccupations of the British military strategists who were in charge of the global conquests and amassing the territories across the world. While some of these ideas might appear bizarre, it must be realized that they actually provided a sense of direction and strength through which British dominance across the world actually grew. At this time, much of the Middle East and the whole of Africa were under European domination with Britain and France being the major players.

Similarly, the success of the British Empire could also be attributed to the indignant and obdurate British imperialists who envisioned nothing less than a whole world under British rule. While such mindsets had the effect of guiding the colonization path, they were often dotted with plans of de-industrializing the British Empire so that rebellions would effectively be mitigated

. The outbreak of the World War I was partly a consequence of the fight for dominance of global affairs by European countries

. The war certainly marked an end to the Age of Imperialism and nationalism thereby gained root in sections of the European colonies across the world. These areas included India, Egypt, Sudan and the Pacific Rim.

Nationalism and Decolonization

By 1945, the total number of people who were under British colonialism actually numbered over seven hundred million across the world. However, in a period of less than two decades thereafter, the number had reduced to a mere five million people. In any case, it raises the question of what might have accounted for that dramatic liquidation of the British influence in that short time frame

. More still, it creates the need to determine whether Britain decided to willingly dismantle its empire or it was compelled by circumstances. In reality, this decolonization is a subject of myriad arguments which seek to find the true meaning and sense of the end of British dominance across the world. In addressing these fundamental concerns, the aspect of African nationalism and changes in national ideologies come into much play. The rise of nationalist movements across British colonies in Africa ended the much awaited horizon of change

. In a way, the British policy makers perceived the whole idea of decolonization as a matter of redeployment of colonial power. In a way, it can be seen that Britain had much influence on its former colonies even after the decolonization process

The British devolutionary schedule was much disrupted by the rise of African nationalist movements which demanded the end of colonial dominance in the continent. British colonialism was much supported by the United States even after the World War II. This was basically as a way of checking and limiting Soviet expansion across the world which was of great concern to the United States. However, in the 1950s, much of the Cold War policies of the United States collided with British expansionist strategies

. In this regard, it was seen that the expansion of the British Empire was basically creating a lot of nationalist movements which were then getting support from the Soviet Union. It is therefore a matter of fact that nationalist movements in Africa and in other British colonies across the world had a lot of influence on the aspect of decolonization as they actually spurred the process of decolonization. In light of such nationalist movements, it was certainly felt that decolonization was almost the only alternative as a way of creating peace and stability across the world

Effects of Decolonization in Britain

Indeed, several arguments abound on the effects of decolonization on the internal working of the Great Britain. Contrary to previous thoughts, decolonization actually affected British politics and culture. Much of the present British political ideas with regard to devolution, race relations and constitutional reforms were actually shaped during the decolonization period when such issues played center stage in global affairs

. The country had to effectively adjust itself following a decline in its global influence as a result of the decolonization process. In terms of cultural influence, it was seen that the general British opinion that was previously realized from most Britons had subsequently diminished as a result of the decolonization. The global decline created the need to focus much attention on the internal affairs of the country as opposed to the previous global affairs. In this regard, decolonization certainly changed many aspects of the internal proceedings of Britain

For Argument

As a matter of argument, it is realized that World War II basically contributed immensely to the decolonization process in the world. The British military and economic might was much weakened by the Second World War. The new climate that emerged was thereby very hostile to the process of colonialism and this led to the decline of the British colonial influence and the beginning of a long of decolonization process. Many Africans actually took part in the war in several areas and were thereby exposed to many realities in global happenings. In that regard, these Africans were able to learn about European weaknesses contrary to the general opinion back home on the supremacy of the white men. These Africans thereby began the process… [END OF PREVIEW]

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