Decolonization after WWII
Decolonization refers to the changes in the economic and political relations between colonies and their masters. It often refers to the state of independence among African and Asian state after the Second World War. Colonies were able to achieve decolonization through different processes. First, a country like Algeria used protracted violence because colonial rulers were fully opposed to full independence. Second, some countries used negotiations and accommodation to achieve their independence. A good example is Singapore which later on formed voluntary organizations with its colonial masters. However, there are some countries that resolved to remain colonies and a perfect example is Gibraltar.
The Second World War was the most significant factor that facilitated decolonization because it weakened European powers and even ended some of them. Consequently, international relationships changed and states became very hostile to colonialism. One of the most common case examples in the study of decolonization is Japan. Japan was one of the countries that were terminated by the Second World War. Prior to the war, the country had a lot of possessions in its colonies including China, Burma, and Korea. However, all these colonies were independent by the end of the Second World War. Italy is also one of the colonizers that lost its colonies. It lost Libya among other small empires around the world.
Colonies experienced industrialization and economic development during the Second World War. These factors accelerated the process of decolonization because most of them became economically sustainable. Colonies played a great role in the Second World War by supplying their colonial masters with both raw materials and military personnel. For example, India provided Great Britain with approximately two and half million soldiers. Furthermore, it also manufactured ammunitions that the Allies used to fight in the South-Asian region. The end of the Second World War saw India become one of the largest industrial economies in the world.
The end of the Second World War also led to a reversal of roles between colonies and their rulers because of improved economic strength. For instance, India now became a creditor to Great Britain from being a debtor before the end of the war. Therefore, the economic strength of colonies allowed them to increase their participation in the political arena to fight for independence. The loss of India was the initial sign that the British Empire was collapsing. After a short period of time, the British also lost Egypt in 954. Thereafter, other colonial powers started losing their colonies and by 1975 most of the colonies were independent.