Decolonization or Nationalistic Self-Determination Movements

A typical understanding of the term decolonization could mean undoing colonization. It includes all the activities that a country may have done to free itself from powers of their colonial masters (Wong 253). Politically, decolonization could also mean gaining independence or an autonomous rule of a country without external influence and this is when a country is regarded as a sovereign state.

In addition, the term may refer to the effort of dismantling neo-imperial empires that were started in Africa and Asia before and after the Second World War. Critically, it has been observed in most cases decolonization could be gained through peaceful negotiation; in practical decolonization was gained through violent revolts and resistance the colonizers.

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Such revolts or decolonization movements were mostly started by strong people in the colonies that had seen the need for their countries to be free from influence of colonizers. This paper looks into decolonization efforts that were muscled by Kenyan movements against colonization in Africa, Egypt revolts against Britain rule also in Africa and Russian revolts in the former USSR that caused their independence and freedom from influence by European colonies.

In addition, the paper looks into the effects that the movements had in national self-determination efforts; the movements have improved or hampered attaining of self determination by many countries.

To begin with, we shall start by looking at decolonization movements in Kenya; it was colonized by the Great Britain during the infamous scrabble for Africa (Majdalany 75).

The revolution was started at around 1952 to 1960 before the country gained independence. Despite the fact that the rebellion did not get the intended support from the locals, there was a massive support of the natives living in the central region of the country. The main reason for the massive involvement of central Kenya’s natives being much involved in the movement is since the region was regarded the most productive by then and therefore it was heavily habited by the Europeans (Majdalany 76).

According to the British colonials’ description, the decolonization movement was biased and regarded the movement primitive and emotional since it was devoid of reasoning.

However, Mau Mau leaders, as the leaders revolt was popularly known, had a different presentation to make about the group; they were of the opinion that the movement was the most legitimate in the voicing of the needs and the grievances of the whole country (Branch 342).

However, there is distorted information that is being obtained from focusing too much on the gains that had been made by the Mau Mau Movement to insinuate that the group was squarely dominated by the natives from central Kenya and that the group was only located in this particular region.

Another mistake made when analyzing decolonization movements in Kenya is the fact that very few documentations were made on the other non-Mau Mau movements that were also started to fight for independence. The start of the uprising was specifically instigated by the fact that the British settlers had forcefully acquired ownership of the lands that were formally owned by the natives (Majdalany 77).

In addition, there were reported cases of forced labor in the farms owned by the colonialists. There were smaller movements that had been accused of rebelling settlement of British farmers in the lands that formally belonged to different communities (Majdalany 77).

In addition, Mau Mau was also revolting against high cases of deaths that had been caused by the European settlers as they forced their way into the highland settlement farms.

British colonizers had gained their interests as early as 1895 when Kenya was considered a British protectorate. They showed their interests into the country as British missionaries who got different reception from the various communities in Kenya (Branch 342). There are those that welcomed them and there are those of the opinion that European immigrants wanted to harm the peaceful integration of the communities who inhabited the targeted regions.

Another incident that instigated the start of rebellion was financial deprivation of the natives by the British settlers (Branch 342). Settlers had amassed huge chunks of land to themselves leaving natives landless and all they could do was work in the farms owned by the Europeans and take home meager resources or at time get nothing in return (Branch 344).

At around 1952, the violence had been at its peak and the governor of the British Protectorate Company, had to write to the Colonial Secretary indicating that the condition of the uprising was dangerous and the security of the British settlers was at stake (Branch 343).

As the fight and the uprising continued, there were increased cases of attacks on the British forces; the then British governor to Kenya declared a state of emergency. Despite all the efforts by the British government to control the spread of the violence and the uprising gaining fame, there was massive loss of land and resources that were owned by the British settlers (Majdalany 78).

The movement had graduated from a primitive uprising to a guerilla warfare that had seen the British army give up the hunt. Unfortunately, Mau Mau uprising was almost crushed in 1952; but later, there were peaceful negotiations that commenced the processes of achieving independence; British colonials relegated their rule over the country.

Similarly, the Soviet Union had decided on the ways of getting over colonial involvements in running of the region by forming the communist party which was the great USSR (Wong 253). The union had made sure that European colonizers would only get a controlled access and running of the protectorates.

To control the spread and growth of European influence, there was the formation of leaders Marxist-Leninist; the Marxism theory supposed that imperialism in a country normally encourages capitalism and a society could be divided into classes depending on what one owns and what one can be able to control (Wong 255). Having instilled such ideas among the natives, it would be simpler to force for independence among the habitants of the land since the ruling class create a point to stir violence among the natives.

The European colonies did not like the idea of socialism; and hence conflict ensued; the Soviet leaders had the capabilities of starting a cold war to the colonialists. As the fight for independence continued, there was increased response against the cold war; it was massively progressing and giving leaders of the Soviet Union more grounds over their colonizers (Wong 255).

The need for cold war had spread to other parts of the world and they were regarded as the best strategies that the oppressed in the world would have felt satisfied and part and parcel of the organization and the management of the countries’ affairs. On the same note, the Americans were of the opinion that cold war would be the best option of dealing with colonialism.

The other attempt to take care of colonization was the Nikita Khrushchev’s shoe banging incident that occurred during the United Nations meeting aimed a discussing colonialism. The incident was an eye opener to a number of countries that had followed the idea of cold war towards colonialist and thereby gaining their independence.

On the same note, Egypt in Africa had gone through similar movements that were against colonial rule in the land. There were a number of incidents that caused Egypt to be at its present state in terms of dealing with the European colonies (Mayer 82).

There were several movements; one of the movements was the Urabi Suez revolt that was meant to conserve the integrity and the ownership of property by the Egyptians who believed that what they owned was meant for them.

In 1882, there was an Anglo-Egyptian war that was composed of violence in the streets of Alexandria and the rioters attacked the Italians, Greeks and the Maltese businesses (Mayer 84). British colonizers were of the opinion that the Egyptians would have given into the efforts by their army to take over the management of the Suez Canal.

After the attack in which the Urabi conquered the Colonizers, Egypt became a colony of Britain until 1954 (Mayer 85). Despite the fact that Urabi’s revolt was defeated, it was able to stand as a landmark towards other consequent revolts intended to free Egypt from the influence of British colonialism (Mayer 87).

The other example of a revolt movement was the Suez crisis which was started as a way of frustrating Britain from gaining control of Suez Canal. After the Second World War, Britain was of the opinion that it would be beneficial to them if they gained control of Suez Canal which joined Africa, the Middle East and Asia (Kyle 253).

This had prompted Egyptian government to sign a peace treaty with the British colonies. As British colonials attempted to disarm violent groups in Ismailia, there were casualties and this prompted violence that caused deaths of some foreigners including some Britain nationals (Kyle 253).

During the revolt, there were deliberate actions by the Egyptians to avoid any relations between the country and the rest of Middle East countries. These efforts bore fruits and the British government could no longer have control over Suez Canal and as a result it relinquished it back to Egypt.

All the above named countries have on one time benefited from the revolts and the anti-colonialism movements. However, the movements have hampered the nationalization of the economic and political mechanisms of these countries (Kyle 253).

In the case of Kenya and the Mau Mau, leaders who were prominent in the country distorted the initial intention of nationalizing the country’s economic growth after independence. However, the movement helped citizens of the country appreciate every countryman as having participated towards independence (Branch 400).

On the other hand, USSR revolts and anti-colonial movements affected the management of the huge region under the Soviet Union. This brought about the disintegration of the union to the present federal countries that have individual managements (Wong 257).

The movements lacked policies of management; there was a unilateral system of making of decisions in the region. Despite the fact that the movements seem to have affected the integration of the national agendas, Egypt seems to have benefited from the movements due to the eventual nationalization of Suez Canal (Wong 257).

In conclusion, decolonization movements were perfect means of controlling and gaining independence from European masters. The movements were mostly fueled by oppression and lack of freedom among the natives. However, the movements came with some negative influences that contradicted the initial goals of forming them.

Works Cited

Branch, Daniel. Defeating Mau Mau, Creating Kenya: Counterinsurgency, Civil War, and Decolonization. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Print.

Kyle, Keith. Suez: Britain’s End of Empire in the Middle East. New York, NY: I.B. Tauris, 2003. Print.

Majdalany, Fred. State of Emergency: The Full Story of Mau Mau. Boston, BO: Houghton Mifflin, 1963. Print.

Mayer, Thomas. The Changing Past: Egyptian Historiography of the Urabi Revolt, 1882-1983. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1988. Print.

Wong, Kwok Chu. “The Jones Bills 1912-16: A Reappraisal of Filipino Views on Independence.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 13.2 (1982): 252-269. Print.