chapter  17
25 Pages

Africa: decolonization and independence, 1945–2007

War and the machinations of international capitalism? Or is it that the factors that have led to endemic corruption and instability are inextricably linked to its colonial past?

z The end of empire Apart from the campaigns in East and North Africa, Africa largely escaped the fighting that ravaged the world between 1939 and 1945. The continent was not, however, by any means isolated from the war, for the Allied need to mobilize colonial resources to defeat the Tripartite Powers led to a number of significant developments. The most obvious was that the loss of the raw materials of SouthEast Asia in 1941-42 necessitated the rapid expansion of production of resources such as rubber and tin in the African colonies. In addition, the war was important because it saw an even more extensive mobilization of the population than had occurred in 1914-18, some 374,000 Africans being recruited into the British armed forces alone. Those who served overseas were often changed by the experience, returning home more politically conscious than before and keen to achieve European standards of living.