European Colonial Rule, 1880-1940: The Impact of the West on India, Southeast Asia, and Africa

European Colonial Rule, 1880-1940: The Impact of the West on India, Southeast Asia, and Africa

European Colonial Rule, 1880-1940: The Impact of the West on India, Southeast Asia, and Africa

European Colonial Rule, 1880-1940: The Impact of the West on India, Southeast Asia, and Africa

Synopsis

"[This] book deals with case studies of the effects of colonial rule on India, Burma, Ceylon, Malaya, Indonesia, Egypt, the Maghred, and Africa south of the Sahara between 1880 and 1940. Von Albertini emphasizes events and facts.... The result is a thesis that is very skeptical of the theoretically heavy but factually lightweight dependence school, which pictures colonial rule as 'the development of underdevelopment.' With precision and clarity Von Albertini reiterates an older, more commonsense judgment, stressing that underdevelopment is better than no development and that there is no reason to suppose that the Third World would be more developed without colonial rule than it now is. The translation... is... excellent, as are the maps and bibliography. College and university libraries." - Choice

Excerpt

This book presents the colonial histories of most present-day Asian and African states with a colonial past. To attempt this, and within a relatively limited compass, is a presumptuous undertaking. It calls for some justification. My decision flowed naturally from several years' studies of modern colonial history and the fact that no such general account exists. My original interest lay in European history. The impact during the late 1950s, however, of the Vietnam and Algerian wars and of black African independence movements led me to believe that the Third World, a concept then coming slowly into use, would eventually assume major political significance. European recovery from the ravages of World War II was complete, an economic boom was under way, and the cold war fronts were stabilized. It was only natural and proper that we Europeans were, as historians, primarily concerned with our own past and future, but I believed that the framework within which we considered these matters had become too narrow. The "world history of Europe," to use the sociologist Hans Freyer's happy phrase, had ended. Political, economic, and military power had shifted from the European center to the two great powers on the periphery of Europe, and within a relatively short time the Asian and African peoples had freed themselves from colonial or semicolonial dependency. As independent states they faced the daunting tasks of achieving their own national identities, catching up economically and technologically with the industrial nations, and assuming their places in the community of nations. I still continued to study the questions of development policy and assistance, but came to view the problems confronting the former colonies as staggering if not indeed insoluble. It thus seemed reasonable to predict that the Third World and the whole complex of the problems of underdevelopment would more fully engage our interest sooner or later. Indeed, what lay in the offing seemed to me of greater urgency and importance for our future than the ephemeral "politics of the day" in the historically stabilized and prosperous nations of the West. As a historian, I first directed my attention to decolonization, which was then nearly complete. I then began, however, to treat various aspects of colonial policy in my seminars and . . .

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