European Colonial Expansion since 1871

European Colonial Expansion since 1871

European Colonial Expansion since 1871

European Colonial Expansion since 1871

Excerpt

It is universally recognized that a conflict of empires is basic to the second World War, as it was to its predecessor of 1914-1918. Again and again Hitler has declared his determination "to break the British empire," which constitutes but a louder and less euphonious echo of William II's demand for "a place in the sun." Japan's aggression in the Far East and in the Pacific is actuated by her desire to displace the Western powers from that entire area and to become imperialist master there instead; while Mussolini has unceasingly announced it as his intention to restore the Mediterranean as a "Roman Lake." Whatever else the second World War also becomes, whether expressed in terms of totalitarianism against democracy, a social revolution against the established order, the demands of a "master race" for world conquest, its fundamental issue remains the struggle for colonial or overseas possessions that has been in progress during the last seventy years. For colonial empires signify power, prestige, economic advantage, trade, markets and raw materials, wealth--whether real or imagined. And it is from competition over these vital elements of national life that international rivalries have inevitably arisen and have as invariably led to war.

Such being the case, a fresh survey that strives to present an account of the modern colonial overseas empires constructed by the European powers since 1871 is perhaps appropriate, since even a limited knowledge of that history would seem essential to the understanding of the present crisis. The emphasis of this book, however, is not primarily upon the effect of expansion upon diplomacy and world politics, for that story has been often told by former studies, but rather is it upon the peoples concerned, the effect of imperialism upon indigenous cultures, the native policies of the colonial powers and the nationalist move-

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