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Chapter 08. The World after the Second World War (Old NCERT World History Story of Civilisation by Arjun Dev)

Chapter 8. The World after the Second World War

The world has been completely transformed during the years since the end of the Second World War in 1945. Its political map has also changed. The influence and the domination which a few European imperialist powers exercised in the pre-war years became things of the past. A large number of nations in Asia and Africa which had been suffering under colonial rule emerged as independent nations . Together, they have become a major factor in the world. The United States had emerged as the biggest power after the First World War. The Soviet Union also emerged as a mighty power after die Second World War, in spite of the terrible devastation that she suffered during the war Before the Second World War, the Soviet Union was the only country in the world which professed socialism. After the war, a number of other countries joined her
The two world wars, fought within a brief period of about 30 years, resulted in the loss of millions of human lives. The danger of a new world war which would destroy human life altogether created a new awareness of the need for establishing lasting peace Peoples and nations made efforts in this direction by promoting mutual relations based on friendship and cooperation. They also created many new institutions and agencies for the purpose.
However, in spite of these efforts the period after the Second World War has been full of stresses and strains. It has seen many conflicts and wars in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed even though the world has escaped a large-scale conflagration
Since the late 1980s, further changes have taken place in some parts of the world. Some of the consequences of the Second World War and, in some cases, even of the First World War have been undone during the past five years. During this period, some of the issues which dominated the world and some of the forces and factors which shaped the world for about four decades after the war have become irrelevant. The threat of communism which had been a major factor in determining the policies of many countries since the Russian Revolution and, even more so, after the Second World War is no longer an issue. Communist regimes in the Soviet Union and in the countries of Eastern Europe have collapsed. The Soviet Union has broken up into 15 independent States. Many other changes have taken place the world over and it is possible to think of the period from the late 1980s as the one marking the beginning of a new phase in the history of the world after the Second World War.

Immediate Consequences of the Second World War

During the war, the major Allied nations had held many conferences and had issued declarations stating the principles which would form the bases of peace. The first major declaration had been issued by Britain and USA in 1941. It stated that Britain and the United States would not seek any territory. It also supported the right of every people to have the form of government of their choice. Early in 1942 was issued, as mentioned before, the United Nations Declaration. This Declaration supported the one issued by Britain and USA earlier. Another declaration stated that all the Chinese territories taken by Japan would be restored to her. In 1943, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, leaders of Britain, USA and the Soviet Union, respectively, met at Teheran. They declared their resolve to “banish the scourge and terror of war” and to create a world in which all peoples “may live free lives untouched by tyranny and according to their varying desires and their own consciences Early in 1945 when Germany was on the verge of defeat, the heads of the three big nations met at Yalta in the Soviet Union. Here they agreed on a number of issues such as how to deal with Germany and the non-German territories which had been liberated from Germany
The Yalta Conference also took the decision to set up a new organisation to replace the League of Nations. Subsequently, a conference was held at San Francisco, USA, from 25 April 1945. The conference was attended by 50 nations. On 26 June the conference adopted the United Nations Charter under which a new world organization was set up. This was the United Nations Organization which was based on the principle of “the sovereign equality of all peace-loving states”. The purposes of the United Nations Organization were to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations and to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character
To carry out these objectives, six principal organs of the United Nations Organization (now referred to as the United Nations or simply the UN) were created. These were1 (1) the General Assembly composed of all the members of the UN; (2) the Security Council composed of-five permanent members, viz. the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, France and China, and six others to be elected by the General Assembly for a period of two years. The Security Council was made primarily responsible for the maintenance of peace and security (. The number of non-permanent members was subsequently raised from six to ten); (3) the Economic and Social Council of 18 members to promote “respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all”; (4) the Trusteeship
Council; (5) the International Court of Justice, and (6) the Secretariat with a Secretary-General appointed by the General Assembly as its head. A number of specialized agencies of the UN were also created such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) (this body had been created after the First World War), etc. It was realized that unless all the permanent members of the Security Council, who were at that time the biggest powers, were agreed, no course of action for the maintenance of peace and security could be effective Hence it was provided that any decision of the Security Council must have the support of all five permanent members
The setting up of the United Nations was one of the most important consequences of the Second World War

The Potsdam Conference

Another major conference of the heads of government of Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union was held at Potsdam (near Berlin) from 17 July to 2 August 1945. The declaration issued by this conference mentioned the main aims of the Allies with regard to Germany which had already surrendered Germany had been partitioned into four zones, each under the control of Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union. The declaration stated that the aim of the Allied occupation of Germany was to bring about the complete disarmament of Germany, to destroy the Nazi Party and to prepare conditions for the creation of a democratic Germany. It was also decided to set up an international tribunal to bring to trial persons who had committed crimes against humanity Decisions were also taken regarding the border between Poland and Germany, and the transfer of the northern part of East Prussia to the Soviet Union and the southern part to Poland
The various conferences held during and after the war influenced the political developments after the war
Europe after the Second World War Many countries in Europe had been liberated from German occupation by the Soviet armies. These countries were Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia
The Communist parties and other anti-fascist parties in these countries had played an important role in the struggle against German occupation of these countries By the end of 1948, the governments of all these countries were dominated by the Communist parties. In Albania and Yugoslavia, the struggle against German occupation had been led by the Communist parties of these countries. In these countries too Communist parties formed the governments. The establishment of the Communist parties rule in these countries was a significant development after the Second World War Up to the Second World War, the only country in Europe, and the world, ruled by a Communist party was the Soviet Union Now a large number of European countries were ruled by Communist parties. In these countries, other political parties were either not allowed to exist or had only a nominal presence. The political power was exclusively in the hands of the Communist parties. The presence of Soviet troops in these countries ensured the continuance of the Communist parties monopoly of power. Sometimes
the Soviet troops were used to suppress movements which opposed the domination of Communist parties Within the Communist parties themselves, differences over policies were not allowed and the power within-the Communist parties became concentrated in a few hand s As in the Soviet Union, dissent even within the ruling parties was not tolerated and many veteran communists were shot or sentenced to long periods of imprisonment after fake trials. Sometimes these countries were branded as satellites of the Soviet Union. The Communist party of Yugoslavia was the only ruling Communist Party which refused to be dominated by the Soviet Union, but at the same time, the government of Yugoslavia did not allow other political parties to function
Within a little more than four years after the end of the Second World War, certain developments took place which resulted in the division of Germany. The four powers —3ritam, France, the United States and the Soviet Union-winch were in occupation of tour different zones of Germany followed different policies in dealing with the social, economic and political problems in their respective zones. In the British, French and American zones, the economic development continued on capitalist lines. The two major parties in these zones were the Christian Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party. Britain, France and the United States decided to merge the three zones under their control which were in West Germany and forma separate government there. In September 1949 these zones were united and a separate state in West Germany called the Federal Republic of Germany with its capital at Bonn came into being. In East Germany which was under Soviet occupation, the policies pursued were different from those that had been followed in the western zones. Lands were distributed among peasants and all the major industries were taken over from private hands and made the property of the state. In 1946 the Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party in the Soviet zone of Germany merged to form the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. In October 1949, the Soviet zone became a separate state called the German Democratic Republic. The Socialist Unity Party of Germany became the ruling party in the German Democratic Republic. Thus Germany came to be divided into two states, each following its own pattern of social, economic and political development. The division of Germany into two independent states, which lasted for over four decades, was a major consequence of the Second World War
In other parts of Europe also, important political changes took place. The Communist parties of France and Italy had played an important role in the resistance movements in these countries. They had emerged as powerful parties at the end of the war. In the first government formed in France after the war, the Communist Party of France was represented. However, it quit the government in 1947 because of differences over economic policies and over the question of independence for the countries comprising Indo-China. The French government was trying to re-establish its rule over Indo-China which the Communist Party opposed. In the Italian government, the Communist Party and the Socialist Party were an important force. In 1946, monarchy was abolished and Italy became a republic. In 1947 the Christian Democratic Party came to power and the Communist Party quit the government. However, even though the Communist and Socialist parties were out of the government in these two countries, they were together a powerful force in the politics of the two countries. For many years, in both these countries, the socialist parties became the ruling parties either alone or in alliance with other parties. The Communist parties, however, were almost throughout the period after 1948 kept out of the government. In recent years, while the Italian Communist Party —it is now called the Democratic Party of the Left-has remained a powerful force, the influence of the French Communist Party has declined
In Britain, the elections were held in July 1945. The Conservative Party whose leader Winston Churchill had been the Prime Minister during the war lost and the Labour Party came to power India won her independence during this period. During the Labour Party rule many significant changes took place in the economy of the country Many important industries such as coal mines and railways were nationalized. Steps were taken to provide social security to the people, and to build a welfare state in Britain. In 1951, the Conservative Party was returned to power and the Labour Party became the ruling party in 1964. Thus, neither of these parties remained in power for long and both of the parties were more or less equally matched only in recent years, there seems to have been a decline in the influence of the Labour Party
The political system in most countries of Western Europe was based on the parliamentary for in of government. Their economies had suffered a serious setback, and it affected their international position. Gradually through their own efforts and with massive American aid, these countries were soon on the way to rebuild their economies However, the domination that these countries exercised over the world before the First World War and to a lesser extent after that had declined. The period after the Second World War saw the rapid decline of their empires

The Cold War

Since the end of the First World War, the United States had emerged as the strongest power in the world. After the Second World War, her power had grown still more compared with the European powers who had dominated the world for centuries,. This was both in the spheres of economic and military strength. After she acquired die atom bomb, the awareness of her power was further strengthened. The United States at that time was the only country which possessed the atom bomb
Next to the United States the mightiest power in the world after the Second World War was the Soviet Union. She had suffered more than any other country in the war Besides the 20 million people that she lost during the war, hundreds of her towns and thousands of factories had been completely destroyed. However, in spite of these losses, her power and prestige had increased Tins was to some extent due to the very important role that she had played in defeating Germany. Since The revolution, she had been ostracized and boycotted and had faced the open hostility of the other big powers However, after the war, a number of countries in Europe, as has already been mentioned, were ruled by communist parties. The Soviet Union exercised a lot of influence over the governments of these countries. As a result of these developments, the isolation of the Soviet Union had come to an end. Also, in many countries of Europe, as well as of Asia, communist parties had emerged stronger after the war. These parties were generally supporters of the Soviet Union. Some of these parties were actively engaged in organizing revolutions in their countries. For example, the communists had been a major force in the resistance against German occupation of Greece. A large part of the country came under their control when the German army retreated from there However, after the war was over, monarchy was restored in Greece and the new government began to suppress the communists. Tins resulted in a civil war which lasted till 1949 when the communists were finally defeated
During the war, Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union had together fought against the fascist countries. Many declarations issued during the war had emphasized that the unity among these countries would continue after the war also and would be the basis of a durable peace and international brotherhood. These declarations had aroused hopes all over the world. However, the war was hardly over when conflicts and tensions began to emerge between Britain and the United States on the one hand and the Soviet Union on the other. The relations between them began to deteriorate and came to be characterized by what has been called the Cold War Gradually, the Cold War became more and more intense and the world was divided into two major blocs — the United States and West European countries forming one bloc and the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of Eastern Europe forming the other. Sometimes the cold war became hot but lire hostilities remained confined to specific areas
The most important reason for the outbreak of the Cold War was the Western countries fear of communism. With the increase in the might of the Soviet Union, the emergence of governments ruled by communist parties in Eastern and Central Europe and the growing strength of communist parties in many parts of die world, alarmed die governments of the United States, Britain and other West European countries. In 1949, the victory of the Communist Party of China in the civil war which had been raging there for about two decades added to die alarm. The United States openly declared that her policy was to prevent the spread of communism. One of the objectives of the massive economic aid that the United States gave to West European countries was also to contain communism. The United States began to look upon every development in the world from this standpoint, whether it promoted or helped in checking communism Britain and West European countries became aligned with the United States and began to follow a policy mainly aimed at curbing the growth of communism. This had many adverse consequences for democracy, and freedom movements in the colonies Restrictions were imposed on the liberties of the people, for example, in the United States, and justified on the ground of national security and preventing communist influence. The freedom movements in many countries began to be considered unsympathetically by countries which were not themselves colonial powers but were aligned to the colonial powers For example, the United States supported France in suppressing the freedom movement in Indo China. Countries which wanted to pursue an independent policy and promote relations with the Soviet Union were looked upon with suspicion. All these factors made the international situation tense. In some areas it resulted in wars and in many other areas it led to prolonging of conflicts
The growing tension in the world was worsened by die setting up of military blocs. In L949 was formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for defence against the Soviet Union. The members of this alliance were the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Portugal, Britain, France, Belgium, Holland and Luxemburg. Turkey, Greece, the Federal Republic of Germany and Spain became its members later A NATO army was created which established its bases in many countries of Europe Similar military alliances were set up by die United States and Britain in other parts of the world. In 1954 was set up die South-East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) with the United States, Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines and Pakistan as members. In 1955 the Baghdad Pact was brought into being. It consisted of Britain, Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran. The United States established its military bases all over the world for use against what she considered the danger of communist aggression. The formation of these alliances and the establishment of military bases worsened the already tense international situation. These alliances and the military bases came to be looked upon by countries, which were not members of the alliances, as a danger to peace and to their independence. In some countries which were members of these alliances, these alliances were very unpopular For example, when there was a revolution in Iraq in 1958, that country withdrew from the Baghdad Pact which had been named after capital of Iraq. The name of Baghdad Pact was then changed to the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO). These alliances were generally unpopular in the countries of Asia and Africa as all the imperialist powers of Europe were members of these alliances and used it to suppress the movements for freedom Most of the countries of Asia and Africa which had won their freedom refused to join these alliances. As against these Western and Western-sponsored alliances, the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of Europe —Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria and the German Democratic Republic-formed the Warsaw Pact, Under this pact, the Soviet Union stationed her troops in these countries However, the Soviet Union and the other members of the Warsaw Pact did not have any military bases in other parts of the world. The Soviet Umon had treaties of friendship and mutual assistance with China
The formation of the military alliances was accompanied by another dangerous development. This was the race for deadlier weapons of destruction. You have already read about the use of two atom bombs against Japan towards the end of the Second World War. For about four years after the Second World War, only the United States possessed atomic weapons. In 1949, the Soviet Union tested her first atom bomb. A few years later nuclear weapons which were thousands of times more destructive than the atom bombs used against Japan, were developed. These were the thermonuclear or hydrogen bombs. The testing alone of these bombs created serious hazards to life. Many movements were launched in all parts of the world to demand a ban on the testing and manufacture of nuclear weapons. Most of the leading scientists such as Einstein and Linus Pauling also supported this demand. However, the arsenals of nuclear weapons in the world went on increasing. There are so many nuclear weapons in the world today that the world can be destroyed many times over. Along with the nuclear weapons and many other kinds of weapons, new bombers, submarines and missiles have been developed which can carry these weapons over thousands of kilos. The race tor armaments winch was a part of the Cold War has created the danger to the very survival of human race. Vast resources have been spent on developing these weapons. These resources, if they had been utilized for peaceful purposes, would have gone a long way in abolishing want and poverty of which millions of people all over the world are victims
As has been mentioned earlier, many newly independent nations of Asia and Africa as well as many nations in other continents did not join the military blocs. They began to follow a policy of non-alignment with any military bloc. Their emergence played a very important role in reducing the intensity of the Cold War and in creating an atmosphere of peace. A crucial role in promoting non-alignment and peace was played by India after her independence


The rise and growth of nationalism in Asia and Africa has been briefly mentioned in this Chapter. The period after the Second World War saw the emergence of most countries of Asia and Africa as independent nations. One country after another in these continents became independent. They won their independence through long and hard struggles against colonial powers. To some countries independence came only after long and bitter armed, struggle, to others without much bloodshed but not without a long period of strife. Generally, the colonial powers were not willing to give up their hold on the colonies and left only when they found that it was not possible to maintain their rule any more. During the Second World War, many imperialist countries had been ousted from their colonies, but after the war they tried to re-establish their rule. For some time they succeeded in doing so but were ultimately forced to withdraw
The achievement of independence was the result primarily of the struggles of the peoples of the colonies However, the changes in the international climate which followed the Second World War helped die peoples struggling for independence Imperialism as a whole had been weakened as a result of the war. The economies of many imperialist countries had suffered Forces within the imperialist countries which were friendly with the peoples struggling for independence also had grown powerful Freedom and democracy were the major aims for which the Allies had fought against the fascist countries and these aims had been made the basis for arousing peoples all over the world against fascism. The fulfilment of these aims could no longer be confined only to Europe, as had been done after the First World War. In many colonies which fascist countries had occupied by ousting the older colonial powers, the freedom movements had played an important role in the struggle against fascist occupation For example; Japan had to face the resistance of the freedom movements in the countries of East and South-East Asia which she had occupied. It was not easy to restore the rule of the former colonial powers over these countries dis-
Another major international factor which facilitated the end of imperialism was the emergence of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries as a major force. These countries were inimical to imperialism and often gave aid and support to the freedom movements in the colonies Similarly, the movements of socialism which had grown powerful the world over, including in the colonial countries, also supported the movements of freedom in the colonies
The entire international context in which the freedom movements were launched had changed after the Second World War. At the international forums, particularly at the United Nations, the cause of the independence of colonies began to gain popularity. The international opinion was clearly against the continuation of imperialism. Imperialist-countries resorted to various means to maintain their rule. They tried to create divisions in the freedom movements. They resorted to the use of terror. In some countries they tried to install governments which were nominally free but were in fact their puppets However, most of the freedom movements were able to defeat these methods of disruption
An important role in the achievement of independence by the countries of Asia and Africa was played by the unity which freedom movements in various countries achieved. The freedom movement in one country supported the freedom movements in other countries. The role of countries which had achieved their independence was very crucial in this regard. These countries supported the cause of those peoples who were still under colonial rule at the United Nations and other international forums. They also gave active help to the freedom movements. India played a crucial role in promoting the cause of freedom in Asia and Africa Besides the movements in the colonies for independence, there were also movements in Asian and African countries to oust out dated political systems, to modernize the social and economic systems and to assume control over the resources of one’s country which had remained under foreign control even after freedom. These movements expressed the resolve of the peoples of Asia and Africa to become fully independent as well as to launch programmes of rapid social and economic development. Within two decades of the end of the Second World War, the political map of Asia and Africa had been completely changed
Emergence of Independent Nations in Asia
Within a few years after the Second World War, a large number of Asian countries became independent. One of the first to win her independence was India about which you will read in detail. India had, however, been partitioned and along with India, another independent state, Pakistan, also came into being. (Pakistan broke up in 1971 when her eastern part —now Bangladesh—became independent). The independence of India was of great importance in the history of freedom movements in Asia and Africa. The policies pursued by the government of ;r > dependent India under the leadership of her first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, helped in strengthening the freedom movements in other countries and in hastening the achievement of independence by them
Burma, renamed Myanmar recently, achieved her independence from Britain a few months after India became independent. In 1944, the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League had been formed in Burma. Its aim was to resist the Japanese invasion of Burma and to win independence for Burma. After the war, the British tried to restore their rule over Burma. This led to the intensification of the movement for freedom. In the course of the struggle, many leaders of the Burmese freedom movement were assassinated However, Britain was forced to agree to the demand for freedom and Burma became independent on 4 January 1948
The beginning of the nationalist movement in Indonesia has been referred to in the previous chapter. After the defeat of Japan, Sukarno, one of the pioneers of the freedom movement in Indonesia, proclaimed the independence of Indonesia However, soon after the British troops landed there in order to help the Dutch to restore their rule. The government of independent Indonesia which had been formed by Sukarno resisted the attempt to re-establish colonial rule. There were demands in many countries of the world to put an end to the war which had been started in Indonesia to restore the Dutch rule. In Asian countries, the reaction was particularly intense. The leaders of the Indian freedom movement demanded that Indian soldiers who had been sent to Indonesia as a part of the British army should be withdrawn. After India became free, she convened a conference of Asian nations in support of Indonesia’s independence. The conference met in New Delhi in January 1949 and called for the complete independence of Indonesia. The resistance of the Indonesian people and the mounting pressure of world opinion and Asian countries compelled Holland to set the leaders of Indonesian people free. On 2 November 1949, Holland recognized the independence of Indonesia
Within a few months of India’s independence, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) also became free in February 1948. Thailand had been occupied by Japan and after the defeat of Japan became independent. During the war, Japan had driven out die American forces Philippines. In 1946, the government of the United States agreed to the independence of the Philippines. In Malaya British rule had been re-established after the war. In 1957, Malaya (now Malaysia) became an independent nation

The Revolution in China

You have read earlier about the unity between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China which had been built under the leadership of Dr Sun Yat-Sen for the complete independence and unification of China. This unity had been broken after the death of Sun Yat-Sen and a civil war started in China between the Kuomintang under the leadership of Chiang Kai-Shek and the Communist Party of China whose most important leader was Mao Zedong. After the Japanese invasion of China, the two parties and their armies cooperated for some time to resist the Japanese aggression However, the conflicts between the two never ceased. The Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-Shek was a party which mainly represented the interests of capitalists and landlords. The Communist Party, on the other hand, was a party of workers and peasants. In the areas under Communist Party’s control, the estates of landlords had been expropriated and the land distributed among the peasants. Because of the policies pursued by the Communist Party, it gradually had won over millions of Chinese people to its side. The Communist Party had also organized a huge army called the People’s Liberation Army After the defeat of Japan and the driving out of the Japanese forces from China, the civil war again broke out. The government of the United Stated gave massive aid to Chiang Kai-Shek, but by 1949 his armies were completely routed. With the remnants of his troops, Chiang Kai-Shek went to Taiwan (Formosa), an island which had been occupied by Japan after she had defeated China in 1895 On 1 October 1949, the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed and the Communist Party of China under the leadership of Mao Zedong Came to power
The victory of the Communist revolution in China was a world-shaking event. The most populous country in the world had come under communist rule. Besides the socialist countries of Europe, there were now two mighty powers in the world -the Soviet Union and China. Which were ruled by communist parties. Imperialism was further weakened in Asia as a result of the Chinese revolution
The establishment of the People’s Republic of China wa s a defeat for the United States She refused to recognize the government of China for over two decades. According to the United States, the legal government of China was that of Chiang Kai-Shek in Taiwan (Formosa). Because of the US attitude, the most populous country in the world was denied even membership of the United Nations for over two decades
For many years, friendly relations existed between India and China. Together, the two countries played a very important role in the freedom movements of the peoples of Asia and Africa and in bringing about the unity of the Asian and African nations. However, towards the end of the 1950s, the foreign policy of the Chinese government began to change. In 1962, China committed aggression against India which dealt a severe blow not only to the friendship between India and China but also to the unity of Asian African nations China’s relations with the Soviet Union also began to deteriorate She supported Pakistan against India over various issues. After 1970, her relations with the United States began to improve. She was admitted to the United Nations and is now one of the five permanent members of the Security Council

The Korean War

Korea, as you have read before, had come under Japanese rule in 1910. After Japan’s defeat in the Second World War, she was divided into two zones, the northern zone under Soviet occupation and the southern zone under American occupation, to bring about the surrender of Japanese troops. The aim was to make Korea an independent state. However, as in the case of Germany in Europe, two different governments in Korea were formed in 1948—the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) under the leadership of Korean Communists and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) by a group of parties under the leadership of Syngman Rhee. Rhee was an anti-communist and wanted an alliance with Chiang Kai-Shek to prevent the spread of communism. Both the states organized their-armies and there were frequent clashes between them. In 1948, the Soviet troops withdrew from Korea followed by the American troops who withdrew in 1949. Both the governments of Korea favoured unification of the country but there was no meeting ground between them
In June 1950 war broke out between North and South Korea. The Chinese revolution had already taken place and the United States feared further expansion of communism in this area. The United States sent troops to support South Korea in the war Troops from some other countries aligned with the United States also fought in Korea. These troops fought as the troops of the United Nations because the Security Council of the United Nations had passed a resolution condemning North Korea and had asked members of the United Nations to aid South Korea. After the entry of the American forces in the war, the Chinese forces also entered the war and the situation took a very serious turn. There was a real danger of another world war breaking out, as by this time the Soviet Union also had acquired atomic bombs. However, though the war in Korea raged for three years, it did not turn into a world war. The armistice was signed in 1953 Korea remained divided into two separate states India played a very important role in bringing the war in Korea to an end Even though the war was confined to Korea hundreds of thousands of people were killed, including over 142 000 Americans
The Korean war added to the danger of another world war. It also worsened the tensions in the world and led to the intensification of the Cold War

The Struggle in Vietnam

One of the most heroic battles for freedom was fought by the people of Vietnam. This country along with Laos and Cambodia comprised Indo-China which had come und er French colonial rule. After the French government surrendered to Germany, many parts of Indo-China were occupied by Japan. The movement for the freedom of Indo-China from French rule had started many years earlier. The greatest leader of the people of Vietnam was Ho Chi-Mmh. He had been engaged in organizing the communist and the nationalist movements in Vietnam since soon after the end of the First World War. The Vietnamese people under Ho Chi-Minh’s leadership resisted the Japanese occupation and organized a people’s army called the Viet Minh By the time the Second World War ended, the Viet Minh controlled a large part of Vietnam. In August 1945, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was proclaimed with Ho Chi Minh as President However, the British troops as well as the troops of Chiang Kai-shek arrived in Vietnam on the pretext of completing the surrender of Japanese troops there. In October 1945, the French troops also arrived with the aim of restoring French rule. In 1946, the French army started fighting against the Viet Minh. They also set up a government with Bao Dai, who had headed the puppet government under Japan earlier, as the ruler. The war between the Viet Minh and France continued for eight years. In 1954, the French forces suffered a severe blow at the hands of the Minh at the fortress of Dien Bren Phu. The French defeat at Dien Bien Phu has become famous because a people’s army without any sophisticated weapons had defeated the army of a powerful imperialist country. The debacle at Dien Bien Phu compelled the French government to start negotiations with the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. In July 1954, an international conference was held at Geneva. It was agreed to partition Vietnam temporarily into North Vietnam and South Vietnam and to hold elections all over Vietnam within two years to unity the country under a single government, Cambodia and Laos, the other two countries of Indo-China, were made independent
With the partition of Vietnam, another phase in the freedom movement in Vietnam began. The government that was established in South Vietnam, with the support of the United States, refused to abide by the decisions of file Geneva conference with regard to the holding of elections and the unification of Vietnam,. It came to be increasingly regarded as being under the control of the United States which was opposed to the unification of Vietnam under the leader ship of the communist party. In the early 1960s, uprisings broke out in South Vietnam against the government there. This was followed by the massive military intervention of the United States in Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands of American troops were sent there with some of the most advanced weaponry to suppress the popular uprising. The war continued for a number of years. The South Vietnamese people led by the National Liberation Front carried on guerilla warfare. They had the support of North Vietnam. The American troops carried the war into North Vietnam. Incalculable damage was done to Vietnam as a result of the heavy bombings by American forces. The American troops also used weapons of bacteriological warfare. Vast areas of Vietnam were devastated and hundreds of thousands of people killed. The American forces also suffered heavy casualties
The United States was almost completely isolated in the world over the war in Vietnam. Besides the opposition to this war by scores of governments, there was a worldwide movement of protest against the U S. government and of solidarity with the people of Vietnam. The only movement of this kind had emerged in the 1930s in support of the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War and against Germany and Italy who were actively helping the fascists in Spain. The opposition to the war grew in the United States itself on an unprecedented scale. Thousands of Americans refused to be drafted in the U S. army and many American soldiers deserted No other single issue had united millions of people all over the world as the war in Vietnam However, the U S government continued the war even though it was clear that she could not win it
Early in 1975, the war took a decisive turn. The armies of North Vietnam and of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam swept across the country routing the American supported troops of the government of South Vietnam. In January 1973, the American troops had begun to withdraw from Vietnam. During the war in Vietnam, 58 000 of them had lost their lives By 30 April 1975, all the American troops had withdrawn and the capital of South Vietnam, Saigon, was liberated. North and South Vietnam were formally united as one country in 1976. The city of Saigon was renamed Ho Chi-Minh City after the great leader of the Vietnamese people who had died a few years earlier in 1969
The emergence of Vietnam as a united and independent nation is an historic event in the history of the world A small country had succeeded in winning her independence and unification in the face of the armed opposition of the greatest power in the world. The help given to Vietnam by the socialist countries, the political support extended to her by a large number of Asian and African countries, and the solidarity expressed by the peoples in all parts of the world had helped in bringing victory to the people of Vietnam
The war in Vietnam had also spread to Cambodia. In 1970, the government of Prince Narodom Sihanouk was overthrown and a puppet government was installed there. Tire troops of the USA and South Vietnam had carried the war to Cambodia on the ground that the Vietnamese were receiving their supplies from bases in Cambodia. By the time the United States withdrew from the war in 1975, a party which called itself Khmer Rouge had taken control of Cambodia under the leadership of Pol. The government of Pol Pot established a regime of terror in Cambodia and started following a policy of genocide against its own people. The estimates of people murdered by the Khmer Rouge vary from one million to three million. In 1979, Pol Pot’s government was overthrown with the help of Vietnamese troops. However, the war in Cambodia continued as the Khmer Rouge still had some areas under its control inside the country. It also operated from across the border with. Thailand. In the meantime, three groups, including the Khmer Rouge and the group led by Narodom Sihanouk, came together in opposition to the government in Cambodia which was supported by Vietnam
Peace was restored in Cambodia recently. The United Nations brought the various warring factions together and an agreement was signed under the auspices of the United Nations. The Vietnamese troops were withdrawn from Cambodia. In 1993, elections were held and a coalition government was formed. The Khmer Rouge, however, remained outside the government and its troops continued their armed attacks in some parts of the country


Syria and Lebanon Become Independent
As in other parts of Asi3, there was an upsurge for freedom in West Asia also immediately after the Second World War. You have read in the previous chapter about the movement of the people of Syria against the French rule. After the war, the French tried to restore their authority over Syria and Lebanon but, in the face of opposition from the people1 of these countries and the world opinion, they were forced to withdraw. Both Syria and Lebanon became independent by the end of 1946
There was an upsurge in all the Arab countries at this time and the 1950s saw their emergence as independent nations. Some countries which had been nominally free asserted their independence. There were also movements to overthrow the outdated political systems which existed in some countries. All these led to conflicts and, in some cases, prolonged wars between the Arab countries and the imperialist powers. The period saw the growing power of Arab nationalism which led to efforts by the Arab people and governments to come together to face and solve common problems. The Arab League was formed comprising all the Arab states
However, before many of the Arab countries could gam their independence, a development took place in West Asia which was to become a source of tension and lead to many wars in the years to come. This was the creation of the state of Israel

The State of Israel

Palestine, as has been mentioned before, had become a British mandate in 1919. The British troops again occupied the country in 1945. Palestine was inhabited by Arabs and Jews. A movement called the Zionist movement claimed that Palestine was the homeland of all the Jews, wherever they may be living, and should be restored to them. The persecution which the Jews in Europe had suffered for centuries had culminated in the Nazi Germany’s policy of exterminating them Millions of Jews were killed in Germany and in those countries of Europe which had been occupied by Germany. The terrible tragedy had won them the sympathy and support of the world
The British in Palestine had permitted some Jews from outside Palestine to settle there. The Zionists had, meanwhile, been campaigning for a Jewish state there. This had complicated die freedom movement in Palestine the majority of whose inhabitants were Arabs. In 1947 the United Nations passed a resolution according to which Palestine was to be divided into an Arab state and a Jewish state. However, in 1948, the British withdrew their troops from Palestine and soon after the state of Israel were proclaimed. This led to a war between the Arab states and Israel. The Arab states were defeated in the war
The creation of Israel became a source of tension in West Asia. The Arab states refused to recognize her as a legitimate state,. The policies pursued by the government of Israel further added to the bitterness. About 900 000 Arabs were forced to leave their homes and lands in Palestine and were rendered homeless. They found shelter in various refugee camps in Arab states. Most countries of Asia and Africa condemned the Israeli government’s treatment of the Arabs of Palestine and for following racist policies. In 1956 Israel joined Britain and France in invading Egypt Later there were other wars between Israel and the Arab states as a result of which Israel occupied large parts of die tern tones of other Arab states
These territories include the Gaza Strip, the Golan Hights and the West Bank. More than a million Palestinians live in the occupied territories. In spite of the resolutions of the United Nations, Israel refuse to vacate Arab territories and restore the rights of the Palestinian Arabs many of whom live as refugees in various Arab states. In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed to fight for the establishment of a Palestinian state. It enjoys the status of a member state of the Non-Aligned Movement Recently an agreement was signed between the government of Israel and the PLO. Under this agreement, the PLO recognized the state of Israel and the government of Israel agreed to give the Palestinians autonomy in some areas presently under Israeli occupation
The Revolution in Egypt after the First World War, Egypt had become a British mandate. However, under the pressure of the nationalist movement Egypt had been declared independent in 1922 though British troops continued to remain there. After the Second World War, the demand for the withdrawal of British troops gained strength. There were serious clashes between the Egyptians and the British soldiers in which hundreds of Egyptians were killed. The discontent was also directed against the king of Egypt who had been installed by the British. The discontent against the British and the king led to a revolution in 1952 when the Egyptian army under the leadership of Lt Colonel Abdul Nasser and General Muhammad Naguib overthrew the monarchy and declared Egypt a republic. The new Egyptian government demanded the withdrawal of British troops and they were withdrawn in June 1956
The government of Egypt under the leadership of Col Nasser began the economic reconstruction of the country. Egypt refused to be aligned with the United States and the latter stopped the sale of arms to Egypt. Egypt, however, began to receive military and economic aid from the Soviet Union. In 1956, Egypt announced the nationalization to the Suez Canal which had been under the control of Britain and France. Three months later, Israel, Britain and France, according to a plan, invaded Egypt. The aggression committed against Egypt led to world-wide protests. The countries of Asia voiced their vehement condemnation of the invasion. There were massive protest demonstrations against die British government inside Britain also. The Soviet Union warned the aggressor countries that unless they withdrew from Egypt she would send her forces to crush the aggressors. Almost every country in the world, including the United States, denounced Britain, France and Israel in the United Nations. The universal condemnation of aggression led to die withdrawal of British and French forces from Egypt. The ending of aggression strengthened further the unity of Asian and African countries in general and of Arab countries in particular. It also showed the growing strength of the countries which had won their independence only a few years ago. The Suez War also added to the prestige and influence of the Soviet Union as a friend of the peoples who were trying to assert their independence

Libya Gains Independence

You have read before that Libya had come under Italian rule in 1911 During the Second World War, some of the most ferocious battles between German and British troops were fought in Libya. At the end of the war, the country was occupied by Britain and France. In 1951, Libya became independent with a monarchical form of government. From 1960 she became one of the largest petroleum producing countries in the world and as a result some sections of Libyan society grew very rich while the majority of the population remained extremely backward. The king did not permit any opposition to his rule. The United States built one of its strongest air bases on Libyan territory. In 1969, a group of army officers captured power and soon after abolished the monarchy. The new government proclaimed that it would give primacy to the unity and solidarity of the Arab people
Freedom Struggle in Algeria. The 1950s saw die emergence of a number of independent nations in North Africa. However, die independence was preceded by years of struggle against the imperialist countries which wanted to retain their colonial possessions. As in Indo-China, the French returned to Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria However, in 1956 Tunisia and Morocco won their independence
The North African country which had to wage the longest and the hardest battle for freedom was Algeria She had been conquered by France as early as 1830 though it had taken France another four decades to fully establish her rule there As in Indochina, the struggle against French rule in Algeria had a long history behind it. In 1954 the nationalist organisation of the people of Algeria called the FLN (National Liberation Front) gave a call for an armed struggle against the French rule Armed clashes resulted in thousands of casualties on both sides By 1958, the Algerian nationalists had organized a large army of their own and proclaimed the formation of a government of the republic of Algeria. The war in Algeria had serious consequences inside France. It created political instability in France. The Communist Party of France along with many other French leaders had been s upper ting the cause of Algerian independence However, many sections in the French army were under die influence of the French settlers in Algeria who were opposed to any negotiations with the Algerian leaders over the question of independence. In 1958, General de Gaulle became the President of France He conceded the right of the Algerian people to self-determination and opened negotiations with the leaders of the. This policy was opposed by some sections of the French army in Algeria who revolted against de Gaulle and even made attempts to assassinate him However, the revolt1 was suppressed. On 1 July 1962 a referendum was held in Algeria and the people of Algeria voted almost unanimously for independence. On 4 July 1962 Algeria became an independent republic. The independence of Algeria had been won at the cost of over 140 000 Algerian lives

Achievement of Freedom by African Nations

With the exception of Ethiopia and Liberia, almost every part of Africa had been conquered by European imperialist powers by the end of the nineteenth century. After the First World War, the only change that took place there was the transfer of the former German colonies in Africa to the victorious Allied powers. However, the period after the First World War saw, as in Asia, a resurgence of nationalist movements in Africa, After the Second World War, the disintegration of the colonial rule in Africa began. The achievement of independence by North African countries has been mentioned already. The countries of southern Africa began to gain their independence after the mid-1950s. Within two decades, almost every country in Africa, with the exception of South Africa and South-West Africa (Namibia), became independent
The freedom movements in Africa, as in other parts of the world, were the consequence of the growth of nationalism and the increasing resentment against the exploitation and oppression by the colonial countries. The international situation further strengthened these movements. The Second World War had resulted in the general weakening of imperialism. It had also shattered the myth of the invincibility of some major colonial powers in Africa such as France and Belgium which had suffered defeat in Europe during the war. The collapse of colonialism in Asia within a few years after die war also had a tremendous impact on freedom movements in Africa. The question of Africa’s freedom gradually became one of the major issues in the world
The first country in southern Africa to gam independence was Ghana. You have read earlier about the powerful kingdom of Ghana in West Africa during the eighth to the twelfth centuries. The British had conquered a part of this region to which they gave die name Gold Coast. The most prominent leader of the people of the Gold Coast colony was Kwame Nkrumah who in 1949 had organized the Convention People’s Party A strong trade union movement had also emerged in Gold Coast. The Convention People’s Party and the trade unions joined together to demand independence from Britain However, most of their leaders were arrested and attempts were made to suppress the demand for freedom. After 1950, the British government started introducing certain constitutional reforms. Under pressure from the People’s Party which had won a resounding victory in elections, the British government agreed to the independence of Gold Coast. The new independent state which came into being on 6 March 1957 called itself Ghana, after the name of the old West African kingdom. The part of Togoland which had been under British control also joined Ghana
The next country to achieve her independence was the French colony of Guinea in West Africa. In 1958, while embroiled in the war in Algeria, France held a referendum in her colonies which had been grouped together as French West Africa and French Equatorial Africa. The people of Guinea voted for complete independence and Guniea was proclaimed a republic on 2 October 1958
The achievement of independence by Ghana and Guinea gave additional confidence to the freedom movements in other parts of Africa and accelerated the pace of achievement of independence by other nations. The promotion of the cause of African freedom was a major objective of India’s foreign policy from the time India won her independence India’s struggle for freedom had also been a source of inspiration to African nationalists
The year 1960 is generally regarded as the Africa Year. In that year, seventeen countries in Africa gained their independence. These included all the French colonies in French West Africa and Equatorial Africa, Nigeria and Congo (formerly Belgian Congo, now called Zaire)
Between 1961 and 1964, a number of countries in East and Central Africa also became independent. These were Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia, Rwanda and Burundi. Sierra Leone, Gambia, Lesotho (formerly Basutoland) and Botswana (formerly Bechuanaland) also gained their independence. The freedom movement in Kenya was led by Jomo Kenyatta, leader of the Kenya African Union. In 1952, a revolt by peasants had broken out. This is known as the Mau Mau rebellion. It was directed against the seizure of land by the British colonial authorities. To suppress the rebellion, 15 000 Kenyans were killed and about 80 000 sent to concentration camps Jomo Kenyatta was imprisoned in 1953 on the charge of supporting the Mau Mau rebellion Having failed to suppress the freedom movement, Britain had to give in and Kenya became independent in 1963
Many of the newly independent countries of Africa faced serious problems during the years following their independence. The imperialist powers tried their best t6 maintain their hold over their former colonies by direct intervention and by creating dissensions. In Congo, for instance, Belgium, with the help of some other countries and the mercenaries from various countries, brought about the secession of the rich province of Katanga. On the appeal of Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minister of Congo, United Nations troops were sent to bring about the withdrawal of foreign troops and mercenaries. However, Patrice Lumumba was assassinated and the country thrown into chaos for a number of years
Before the end of the 1960s, almost entire Africa, with the exception of Portuguese colonies of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde Islands, and South Africa, South-West Africa and Rhodesia, had become free. Powerful freedom movements had started in the Portuguese colonies. They had organized their liberation forces and had secured the help of many countries in their struggle for freedom. In April 1974, the Portuguese army, which had been mainly used to suppress the freedom struggles in the colonies, overthrew the 50-year old dictatorship in Portugal with the support of the people. The communists, socialists and other radical elements in the armed forces and the new government of Portugal were opposed to the continuation of the Portuguese rule in Africa. They entered into negotiations with the freedom movements in the Portuguese colonies and by 1975 all the former Portuguese colonies in Africa became independent. Zimbabwe (formerly Southern Rhodesia) became independent in April 1980
The last country in Africa to become independent was Namibia, formerly South West Africa. It was a German colony before the First World War and was handed over to South Africa as a mandate after the defeat of Germany in that war. South Africa treated South-West Africa as her colony and refused to withdraw from there is spite of the resolutions of the United Nations. The freedom movement there
was led by the South-West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) which was formed in 1960. It gained momentum when SWAPO started a war with the help of its guerilla forces to liberate the country. It was made a member of the Non-Aligned Movement. The Non-Aligned Movement, the African governments and the United Nations played an important role in the success of the freedom movement in Namibia. The war in Namibia came to an end in 1989 when South Africa agreed to a plan for the independence of the country. SWAPO won a majority of seats in the elections which were held in November 1989 and on 21 March 1990 Namibia became independent
South Africa — Union of South Africa since 1910 and Republic of South Africa since 1961 has been an independent country in the sense that she was not ruled from another country. The government of South Africa was, however, among the most oppressive regimes in the world in die twentieth century. It was under the exclusive control of the white minority practising the worst form of racism. Under the system of apartheid established in South Africa, all people were classified and separated on the basis of race Each group had to live in a separate area,. There were separate schools and universities, separate theatres, separate shopping centres, separate coaches in trams for whites and blacks and others. The teams for sports also were formed on the basis of race. Marriage between persons belonging to different races was a criminal offence. There were restrictions on movement from one, place to another. The best lands in the country were under the control of the whites who had all the economic and political power. The non-whites had no vote and no say in the governance of the country. The system of apartheid was used to maintain the rule of the white minority over about 80 per cent of the population which comprised black and coloured people as well as people of Indian origin. This system, in the name of separation of the races, denied human rights to the majority of the population. It may be recalled that Mahatma Gandhi had started the fight against racial discrimination in South Africa long before he became a leader of the freedom movement in India
The main organization of the South African people which led the movement for ending the rule of the white minority and establishing a non-racist democratic South Africa was the African National Congress (ANC). It was set up in 1910. The movement against the obnoxious system of apartheid was intensified in the 1950s. The government depended on the use of terror to maintain its rule. There were incidents of massacres of peaceful protestors. In I960, the African National Congress was banned and most of its leaders were arrested. The ANC then organized its own army to fight Against the racist regime
South Africa was increasingly isolated from the rest of the world India had been from the beginning in the forefront in support of the struggle to dismantle the apartheid regime. She was the first country in the world to sever relations with South Africa and to extend her full support to the people of South Africa Many other countries followed suit. The United Nations also condemned the policies of South Africa. In the 1980s some Western countries which had mamtained military and economic relations with South Africa also imposed sanctions against her. By the end of the 1980s, the international isolation of the South African regime was complete
From the end of the 1980s, the process of ending the system of apartheid began. The ban on the African National Congress was lifted and its leaders released. Among them was Nelson Mandela who had been in prison for 26 years and had became a symbol of the struggle against apartheid Many apartheid laws were abolished and negotiations were started between the ANC and the South African government for framing a new constitution which would give all South Africans the right to vote. Elections in which all South Ah leans fen the first time were given the right to vote were held in April 199. After these elections, a new non-racist and democratic government came to power in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was elected president of the country
Thus within the last three decades, most of Africa has become independent and the independence of the remaining parts cannot be deferred for long. Many African countries have changed their names. The colonial powers had given them names which had little to do with their past history and culture. Some countries and ci ties had been named after colonial adventurers, for example, Rhodesia, Leopoldville, Stanleyville, etc. The African peoples are trying to overcome the damage caused to them during the colonial rule Renaming their countries and cities after their original names is a part of their effort to reestablish and assert their independence and national identity. The need to unite in the face of common tasks and for achieving common aims led to the emergence of the unity of all African states. These aims included the safeguarding of their independence and to help the liberation movements in those countries in Africa which were shall fighting for their independence. The most significant step taken in this direction was the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963


The emergence of the countries of Asia and Africa as independent nations marked a new phase in the history of the world. These countries which had been suppressed and kept under subjugation for a long time came to their own and began to play an important role in the world Similar developments have also taken place in Central and South America and the Caribbean. The countries which were under European colonial rule in this part of the world have become independent. The United States frequently interfered in the internal affairs of these countries, particularly when radical governments came to power and tried to assert their political and economic independence. One of the significant developments in this region was the Cuban revolution which overthrew the corrupt and dictatorial government headed by Batista on 31 December 1958. In 1961, the United States sent mercenaries to Cuba but the invasion ended in a fiasco and was crushed in less than three days
Having common problems and sharing common aspirations, the peoples of these countries began to act together although there was no organization binding them. However, they began to develop some common understanding on world affairs, particularly on the question of the independence of nations which were still under foreign rule. In 1955, an important event took place which helped to strengthen the unity of African and Asian countries. This was the Afro-Asian conference which was held at Bandung in Indonesia. The conference was attended by 23 Asian and 6 African countries. The leaders of three Asian nations, India, China and Indonesia played an important role in the deliberations of this conference. The growing importance of the Afro-Asian countries was reflected in the United Nations where on a number of issues the countries of Asia and Africa functioned as a group
Another significant development in the world after the independence of Asian and African countries was the emergence of Non-Aligned Movement. You have read before about the Cold War and the formation of military blocs and the growth of tension in many parts of the world. Most of the newly independent countries of Asia and Africa refused to join the Cold War. They considered the formation of military blocs as a serious danger to peace and to their independence. These countries were faced with the enormous task of social and economic reconstruction which could be done only in a world free from war and tension. Some countries in Asia had joined the military alliances and had allowed foreign bases to be set up on their soil. The extension of military alliances and the setting up of foreign bases were considered by most Asian countries as a threat to their independence and a source of tension. Hence they opposed these alliances. They were also aware of the danger which the continuance of imperialism in some parts of Asia and Africa posed to them and to world peace. The non-aligned nations of Asia and Africa, therefore, were in the forefront of the struggle for the liquidation of colonialism. Non-alignment has primarily been a policy aiming at the strengthening of independence, ending of colonialism and promoting world peace. It was not merely a policy of non-involvement with military blocs but a policy for creating a better world
India under the Prime Ministership of Jawaharlal Nehru played a pioneering role in making non-alignment a major force in the world. The other leaders who played an important role in the non-aligned movement were President Sukarno of Indonesia, President Nasser of Egypt and President Tito of Yugoslavia. The first summit conference of non-aligned nations was held at Belgrade in Yugoslavia in September 1961. It was attended by heads of state or government of 25 countries. Besides Yugoslavia and Cuba, from Europe and the Americas, respectively, the other participating countries were from Asia and Africa. Three other countries attended as observers. The statement issued at die end of this conference affirmed the basic principles of nonalignment such as the stabilization of peace, liquidation of colonialism and imperialism in all their forms, peaceful coexistence between nations, condemnation of racial discrimination, opposition to military alliances, disarmament, respect for human rights, establishment of Economic relations between nations based on equality and free from exploitation, etc
The popularity of the policy of nonalignment was reflected by the number of countries which joined the group of nonaligned nations. Beginning with 25 countries which attended the Belgrade conference in 1961, there are today 109 countries which are following the policy of nonalignment. They are drawn from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. The Tenth Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement was held at Jakarta, in Indonesia, in September 1992. The Seventh Summit had been held at New Delhi with India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as the Chairperson, and the Sixth Summit at Havana, in Cuba, in 1979 under the Chairmanship of President Fidel Castro. Two movements of national liberation —the Palestine Liberation Organization and South West Africa People’s Organization —were made full-fledged member-states of the Non-Aligned Movement. (As mentioned earlier, Namibia, whose struggle for independence was led by SWAPO, has already become independent). All countries of Africa, including South Africa, are members of the Non-Aligned Movement. The Non-Aligned


The word Non-Aligned may be differently interpreted, but basically it was coined and used with the meaning of being non-aligned with the great power blocs of the world Non-aligned has a negative meaning. But if we give it; a positive connotation it means nations which object to lining up for war purposes, to military blocs, to military alliances and the like. We keep away from such an approach and we want to throw our weight in favour of peace. In effect, therefore, when there is a crisis involving the possibility of war, the very fact that we are unaligned should stir us to feel that more than ever it is up to us to do whatever we can to prevent such a calamity down upon us
Some six, seven or eight years ago, non-alignment was a rare phenomenon A few countries here and there asked about it and other countries rather made fun of it or at any rate did not take it seriously “Non-alignment? What is this? You must be on this side or that — that was the argument. That argument is dead today,. The whole course of history of the last few years had shown a growing opinion spread in favour of the concept of non-alignment Why 7 Because it was in tune with the course of events, it was in tune with the thinking of the vast numbers of people, whether the country concerned was non-aligned or not, because they hungered passionately for peace and did not like this massing up of vast armies and nuclear bombs on either side. Therefore, their minds turned to those countries who refused to line up. The most fundamental fact of the world today is the development of new and mighty forces. We have to think in terms of the new world. There is no doubt that imperialism and the old-style colonialism will vanish. Yet the new forces may help others to dominate in other ways over us, and certainly the under-developed and the backward. Therefore, we cannot afford to be backward
We have to build in our own countries societies where freedom is real Freedom is essential, because freedom will give us strength and enable us to build prosperous societies. These are for us basic problems. When we think in terms of these basic problems, war becomes an even greater folly than ever. If we cannot prevent war, all our problems suffer and we cannot deal with them. But if we can prevent war, we can go ahead in solving our other problems. We can help to liberate the parts of the world under colonial and imperial rule and we can build up our own free, prosperous societies in our respective countries. That is positive work for us to do
From Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech at the first Conference of Non-Aligned Nations held at Belgrade, 2 September 1961
Movement has played a very important role in world affairs, particularly in ending colonialism and in promoting peace. The non-aligned countries are also working for the creation of a new international economic order in which the economic relations between nations would be based on equality, non-exploitation of one nation by another and the narrowing down of economic disparities between nations

Recent Developments

Some of the changes that have taken place in recent years such as those in Cambodia, Israel (Palestine), Namibia and South Africa have been mentioned in this chapter. Many other changes which have taken place in the world, along with these, are so far-reaching that they can be said to mark the beginning of a new phase in the history of the world after the Second World War. Some of them have been so sudden that it would take some time to fully comprehend their significance
A major feature of the history of the world for almost four decades after the end of die Second World War was the antagonism between the United States and the Soviet Union and the armed confrontation between the military blocs headed by them. This was the period of the Cold War and the race in the designing and production of ever new weapons of mass destruction. It posed a danger to the very survival of humankind. In the 1970s and early 1980s, some beginnings were made to end the Cold War. Agreements were reached between the United States and the Soviet Union to eliminate some categories of carriers of nuclear weapons and to reduce the number of certain types of weapons installed in certain areas. The process of ending the Cold War, however, suffered many setbacks. In 1979, Soviet troops entered Afghanistan. This development increased the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union. The United States launched a programme of developing new and even more deadly weapons, popularly known as the Star Wars. These weapons would have meant taking die conflict into outer space and launching attacks from there However, the world situation began to improve after the mid1980s and by the end of the 1980s it could be said with much certainty that the era of Cold War had came to an end. By early 1989, Soviet troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan. Many other changes took place from the late 1980s and it is generally agreed that we are now living in a post Cold War world. This can be considered as the most significant and positive development that has taken place in recent years
Many changes of great historical importance have taken place in die Soviet Union and in countries of Eastern and Central Europe. The most significant of these has been die collapse of the Soviet Union and the ending of the communist regimes there and in other countries of Europe. In 1956, three years after the death of Stalin, the Communist Party of Soviet Union had denounced the excesses and crimes committed by Stalin. From 1985, many important reforms began to be introduced in the political system of the Soviet Union with a view to promoting political democracy. There was free and open discussion on every issue and curbs on the freedom of thought and expression were lifted
Reforms in economy were also initiated to end the stagnation that had set in and to improve die living conditions of the people. The importance of these reforms was recognized the world over. Two Russian words —perestroika, meaning restructuring , and glosnot, meaning openness — winch were used to describe these reforms gained international currency. The hold of the Communist Party over the political life of the country was loosened and other political parties were allowed to function. In the meantime, there was a demand for greater autonomy by the republics which constituted the Soviet Union. Some republics wanted to become independent. Attempts were made to frame a new treaty which would provide greater autonomy to die republics and at die same time preserve the Union However, in August 1991, there was an attempt to stage a coup by some leaders of the Communist Party. Though the coup collapsed, the Soviet Union began to break up. Many republics declared their independence On 25 December 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev, who was the President of the Soviet Union during this period and had initiated the reforms mentioned earlier, resigned and the Soviet Union formally ceased to exist. In place of the Soviet Union which had been a major influence on world historical development for about seven decades, there emerged 15 independent republics. Though the rule of the communist par ties has ended in all these republics, many of them are faced with serious political and economic problems. There are also many problems between the republics although 12 of them have formed a loose federation called the Commonwealth of Independent States. [. These republics can be seen in the map of U S S R. given in this book. However, the names of republics have changed. The new names are Russian Federation (formerly RSFSR), Kazakhastan (formally Kazakh SSR), Estonia (formerly Estonian SSR), Latvia (formerly Latvian SSR), Lithuania
1 (formerly Lithuanian SSR), Ukraine (formerly Ukrainian SSR), Moldova (formerly Moldavian SSI<), Armenia (formerly Armenian SSR), Georgia (formerly Georgian SSR), Azerbaijan (formerly Azerbaijan SSR), Turkmenistan (formerly Turkmen SSR), Uzbekistan (formerly Uzbek SSR), Tajikistan(formerly TajikSSR) Belarus (formerly Byelorussian SSR) and Kyrgystan (formerly Krighiz SSR)]
Equally important changes have taken place in those countries of Europe which were ruled by communist parties. There had been outbursts of resentment in some of these countries against Soviet control and against the Soviet supported communist governments since the 1950s. There were occasions when Soviet troops were used to suppress die unrest in these countries. The changes in the Soviet Union affected these countries directly. There were mass upheavals in all these countries in die late 1980s. By 1989, Soviet control over them came to an end. The monopoly of political power enjoyed by die communist parties in these countries was ended. There were free elections and new governments were formed. It is notable that these far-reaching changes took place in most countries without the use of violence. In some countries, leaders who had misused their position for personal gain and power were tried and jailed. Many communist parties— no longer ruling parties in their countries — expelled some of their former leaders who had committed excesses when they were in power. In one country Rumania, the Communist Party leader who for about 15 years had been the virtual dictator was executed. The Warsaw Pact, the military alliance which was headed by foe Soviet Union and of which the communist-ruled states of Europe were members, was dissolved in 1991
The changes which took place in Germany were even more far-reaching. The division of Germany into two independent states a few years after the end of the Second World War has been mentioned in this chapter. The division of Germany had been a source of tension in Europe and a major factor in the Cold War. East Berlin was the capital of East Germany (German Democratic Republic or GDR) while West Berlin which was located within the GDR territory was treated as a part of West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany or FRG). In 1961 , the GDR authorities built a wall between East and West-Berlin to prevent East Germans from going away to West Berlin. The building of the wall became a further source of tension in Europe. The process of ending communist rule in GDR and of the reunification of Germany began in 1989 when the Berlin Wall was opened and political parties which were outside the control of the communist party (called the Socialist Unity Party) were allowed to function. In early 1990 elections were held and a new government came to power. On 3 October 1990, the division of Germany was ended and a unified Germany again emerged
The collapse of the Soviet Union and of communist governments in Europe has been a major factor in ending the Cold War. It has also been seen as marking the retreat of socialism. It can, however, be said that the system which was built in these countries was only a distorted ^version of the socialist ideal and that social justice which was fundamental to that ideal has become a part of the consciousness of the people the world over
The changes in Eastern and Central Europe, as in the former Soviet Union, have not been without problems, both economic and political. Czechoslovakia which had emerged as a new state after the First World War has broken up into two independent states the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. In unified Germany, there have been many instances of violence by neo-Nazis against immigrants
Developments of a tragic nature have taken place in Yugoslavia in recent years. Yugoslavia which had emerged as a state after the First World War was ruled by a communist party since the end of the Second World War. The communist government of Yugoslavia had kept itself free from the Soviet Union almost from the beginning. Yugoslavia was one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement. She was a federation of six republics. In four of these republics, the rule of the communist parties came to an end in 1990. By 1992, Yugoslavia broke up into five independent states —the new state of Yugoslavia comprising Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Bosnia Herzegovina However, die problems of Yugoslavia did not end with its break-up. A large party of Bosrua-Herzegovina is under the control of Serbians and Croats. A bloody war has been going on between Bosnian Croats, Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Muslims, particularly between the latter two, causing terrible sufferings to the people
While these developments have taken place in one part of Europe, in another, Western, part (including Germany), there had been a move towards European unity. It consists in creating a Europe without borders, with a common currency and unrestricted movement of goods and people and ultimately a political union with a common parliament. Some steps have already been taken in this direction It may, however, be remembered that the concept of European unity at present excludes all East European countries and some others
Significant changes have also taken place in other parts of the world. There were many turmoils in the political and economic life of China after the establishment of communist rule there. After the death of Mao Zedong in 1975, many changes have taken place in the economic policies of the country. These are aimed at modernizing the economy. For this, foreign companies and foreign capital have been invited and are playing an important role. Many practices which were at one time considered basic to the concept of socialism have been given up. There have also been changes in China’s foreign policy. There has been an improvement in China’s relations with India. In the political life of China, however, there has been little change and it continues to be under the exclusive control of the Communist Party. The demand for democracy voiced by students and others some years ago was suppressed
In spite of the many positive changes that have taken place in recent years, the world in the 1990s is not without tensions and conflicts. While the danger of war involving the use of nuclear weapons has ended, or at least receded, there has been no reduction in the arsenals of weapons of mass annihilation. Their very existence is a source of threat to the survival of humankind. Similarly, with the end of the Cold War, whether the world has moved, irreversibly, to a period of detente and, much more importantly, cooperation is still to be seen. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States became the only super power in the world. While the War saw Pact has been dissolved, NATO, the military bloc headed by the United States, has continued to exist. There have been misgivings that the present situation would make it possible for the United States, the only superpower now, to dictate to others
The world in the 1990s, with all its problems, is a very different place to live in compared with any preceding age People the world over have a much greater say in shaping their destiny than ever before. For the first time inhuman history the creation of One World has become a possibility in which all peoples would cooperate with one another and would contribute their best to enrich their own lives and of the entire humankind

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