Differing interpretations of the history of the United Nations on the one hand conceive of it as an instrument to promote colonial interests while on the other emphasize its influence in facilitating self-determination for dependent territories. The authors in this book explore this dynamic in order to expand our understanding of both the achievements and the limits of international support for the independence of colonized peoples. This book will prove foundational for scholars and students of modern history, international history, and postcolonial history.

chapter |19 pages


part I|59 pages

The politics of oversight

chapter 1|17 pages

National prerogatives versus international supervision

Britain’s evolving policy toward the campaign for equivalency of United Nations’ handling of dependent territories, 1945–1963 1

chapter 2|21 pages

A challenge to the system

The South West Africa question and the United Nations Trusteeship Council

part II|67 pages

Decolonizing global governance?

chapter 4|22 pages

The United Nations between “old boys’ club” and a changing world order

The South African-Indian dispute at the United Nations, 1945–1955

chapter 5|22 pages

“A crisis of confidence”

The postcolonial moment and the diplomacy of decolonization at the United Nations, ca. 1961 1

part III|85 pages

Unraveling empire

chapter 7|20 pages

The Trust Territory of Somaliland, 1950–1960

Trusteeship or colony?

chapter 8|35 pages

The United Nations and Portuguese colonies, 1961–1962 1

Information gathering and the evolving interpretation of Article 73(e)

chapter 9|28 pages

The United Nations and West Papuan self-determination

Lingering conceptions of “civilization” in the decolonization process