Decolonization

Decolonization

Decolonization

Decolonization

Synopsis

The mid-twentieth century experienced the end of the colonial empire, a global phenomenon which left profound changes that have contributed to the shape of the modern international political, social and economic system.In Decolonization , Raymond Betts considers this "process" and the outcomes which have left a legacy of problems, drawing on numerous examples including Ghana, India, Rwanda and Hong Kong. It examines:* the effects of the two World Wars on the colonial empire* the expectations and problems created by independence* the major demographic shifts accompanying the end of the empire* the cultural experiences, literary movevments and the search for ideology of the dying empire and the newly independent nations.With an annotated bibliography and a chronology of political decolonization, Decolonization gives a concise, original and multi-disciplinary introduction to this controversial theme and analyses what the future holds beyond the empire.

Excerpt

"Decolonization" entered the lexicon in the 1930s but did not attain popularity until thirty years later. It is an awkward and inelegant word, therefore, in a way, appropriate to the subject it attempts to describe. Unlike the phrase "end of empire" which has a certain poetic economy suggesting a grand and sweeping occurrence, "decolonization" is work-a-day, rather like other "de" prefixed words that denote cleansing changes.

Decolonization was not a process but a clutch of fitful activities and events, played out in conference rooms, acted out in protests mounted in city streets, fought over in jungles and mountains. Its results pleased no one. It was too hastily done for some, too slowly carried out for others, too incomplete in effect for most. The subject is historically loose-ended; there is no end to discussion of it. Not only does the old historical problem of mechanical physics here arise again - the question of whether the European colonial empires were overthrown or collapsed because of their own weight - but continuing problems of political and social unrest, economic exploitation and cultural dissatisfaction beg this question: in what manner are these the outcomes of decolonization as an incomplete or failed exercise in the transfer of power and nation-building?

One matter is certain: in the political sense of the word, decolonization is over and done with. The exceptional moment announcing the fact occurred at midnight on June 30, 1997, the beginning of the first day of Hong Kong's reversion to China after a century-and-a-half of British control. The occasion was surrounded by several days of lavish parties, displays of resplendently attired honor guards, and many speeches. Particular events were the departure of the last British governor from the official residence in his Rolls-Royce sedan in a three-time turn of the circular drive as an expression of Chinese good luck and then a $13 million, hour-long fireworks extravaganza projected over

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