The End of Empire in French West Africa: France's Successful Decolonization?

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By Tony Chafer

That allows you to repair its world-power prestige after the humiliation of defeat and profession, France was once desirous to keep its in a foreign country empire on the finish of the second one global conflict. but simply fifteen years later France had decolonized, and by means of 1960 just a couple of small island territories remained less than French control.The strategy of decolonization in Indochina and Algeria has been broadly studied, yet less has been written approximately decolonization in France's biggest colony, French West Africa. right here, the French procedure used to be considered as exemplary -- that's, a gentle transition effectively controlled by way of good intentioned French politicians and enlightened African leaders. Overturning this obtained knowledge, Chafer argues that the swift unfurling of occasions after the second one international battle was once a fancy , piecemeal and unpredictable approach, leading to a 'successful decolonization' that was once completed principally unintentionally. At independence, the winners assumed the reins of political energy, whereas the losers have been frequently repressed, imprisoned or silenced.This very important booklet demanding situations the normal dichotomy among 'imperial' and 'colonial' background and may be of curiosity to scholars of imperial and French historical past, politics and diplomacy, improvement and post-colonial stories.

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Eighty – The New Political Context forty two. For additional dialogue of this ambiguity, see M. Michel, Décolonisations et emergence du stages monde (Hachette, 1993), p. 196; J. -R. de Benoist, op. cit. , p. 163. forty three. M. M. E. Videgla, ‘Le rôle des intellectuels dans le mouvement de l. a. décolonisation de l’ex-Dahomey’ (MA dissertation, collage of Benin, 1980), p. seventy nine, quoted by means of C. Akpo-Vaché, L’AOF, p. 257. forty four. l. a. Communauté, 9–10, 30 January 1947. – eighty one – –3 – ‘Decolonization via Assimilation’: The fight for Emancipation, 1946–50 The 4 years from 1946–50 have been a interval of coverage sclerosis in French West Africa. instantly after the second one international conflict France had it seems that made a great commence in laying the rules for its venture of establishing a ‘modern’ Africa inside of a reformed colonial process. among 1946 and 1950, even if, no new coverage projects of similar value have been introduced. Colonial officers in either Paris and Dakar sought after a interval of stabilization and consolidation after the upheavals of the battle and its speedy aftermath. yet this used to be to disregard the effect of advancements over the former ten years, the mixed impression of which was once, at the one hand, to weaken French authority and, at the different, to deepen African resentment in the direction of colonial rule and raise strain for reform. even supposing this didn't bring about violence and bloodshed in AOF at the scale skilled in Indochina and Madagascar, the interval used to be still marked via an intensification of competition to the colonial regime. there have been large-scale moves (the first of those, the overall strike of January 1946, used to be mentioned within the prior bankruptcy) and diverse smaller moves; the colonial professionals have been accused of sabotaging schooling and a energetic crusade built all through French West Africa for the ‘decolonization of education’; the lengthy crusade for the adoption of a brand new Code du Travail (Labour Code) and for the extension of citizenship rights past the political to the industrial and social fields, all started; and the interval culminated with violent protests in Côte d’Ivoire, because of which a few 20 Africans died, one more a hundred have been wounded and a number of other hundred have been arrested. even if this was once a interval of coverage inertia in AOF, the coverage box can't be missed thoroughly. As Kenneth Robinson has said: ‘in the politics of the colonial state of affairs, a minimum of in different spheres of political motion, conduct of brain are very important whether “policies” are not’. 1 the purpose this is that, no matter if new regulations weren't being made, we nonetheless have to comprehend the mind-set of coverage makers and officers, because it used to be this that – eighty three – The finish of Empire in French West Africa conditioned their attitudes to African calls for and helped make sure professional discourse. This in flip had an effect at the behaviour and responses of African competition pursuits. the method was once a dynamic one, within which the govt., colonial officers and African political leaders and social activities have been continually interacting and reshaping each one other’s agendas.

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