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Old NCERT Class IX and X Story of Civilisation by Arjun Dev Part I and Part II – UPSC IAS Civil Services Exam Books

old ncert world history arjun dev

Chapter 1. Industrial Revolution

Introduction to Chapter

TOWARDS the end of the middle Ages, feudalism as an economic system had started declining. This process was furthered by the Renaissance and other developments. The rise of towns and cities and the growth in trade stimulated the production of manufactured goods. There was an increase in the demand for goods which previously had been considered luxury goods. Life in the new towns and cities had created a desire for many new goods also. All these factors provided a great stimulus to the production of manufactured goods.

For a long time, however, the techniques and organization of producing goods did not undergo any significant improvement. The traditional methods were inadequate to meet the growing demand for goods.

During the later half of the 18th century there began a series of changes which revolutionized the techniques and organization of production. These developments resulted in the rise of a new type of economy— an industrial economy. The term ‘Industrial Revolution’ is used to describe these developments because the changes came rapidly and they had far-reaching effects on the history of the world.


The new system of society which had been emerging in Europe from the 15th century is called capitalism. Under capitalism, the instruments and the means by which goods are produced are owned by private individuals and the production is carried out for making profit. The workers under this system do not own anything but work for a wage.

The owners of wealth under capitalism who are called capitalists do not keep their wealth or consume it or use it for purposes of display but invest it to make profit. Goods are produced for sale in the market with a view to making profit. This system is in marked contrast with the feudal system in which goods were produced for local use and the investment of wealth for making profit did not take place.


Economic life under feudalism was static as goods were produced for local consumption and there was no incentive to produce more by employing better means of producing goods for a bigger market.


Economy life under capitalism was fast moving with the aim of producing more and more goods for bigger markets so that more profits could be made.

Capitalism and Colonization

The discovery of new lands and the establishment of colonies had resulted in unprecedented expansion of trade and accumulation of wealth by merchants. The trade included also the trade in human beings, that is, slave trade.

The colonization was accompanied by the plunder of the wealth of the people who were colonized. For example, the treasures of the Inca and the Aztec civilizations were plundered by the Spaniards.

Mines in the newly conquered areas in the Americas were also exploited for precious metals like gold and silver. Large numbers of native people were worked to death in these mines.

You have also read about the use of slave labour in the plantations in the Americas. Colonization of Asia caused similar havoc and devastation. During a few decades of Dutch rule, the population of a province of Java in Indonesia was reduced to less than one-fourth of its former size.

The defeat of the Nawab of Bengal by the English in 1757 was followed by years of naked plunder of the wealth of Bengal. According to estimates of the English government at that time, the English Company and its officials received 6,000,000 pounds as gifts during the period of 1757-1766.

The plunder by the English contributed to a famine in 1769-70 in which about a quarter of the population of Bengal perished. Thus a lot of wealth was accumulated in Europe for investment to make more profit.

In the words of Karl Marx, “The treasures captured outside Europe by undisguised looting, enslavement, and murder, floated back to the mother country and were there turned into capital. ”

Industrial Revolution

The desire to produce more goods at low cost to make higher profits led to the Industrial Revolution and further growl h of capitalism. The Industrial Revolution began in England in about 1750. It was then that machines began to take over some of the work of men and animals in the production of goods and commodities. That is why we often say that the Industrial Revolution was the beginning of a ‘machine age’.

Of course, there were many machines in use before 1750. The plough, air-pump, printing press and spinning wheel are only a few of the many examples that could be listed. For hundreds of years each civilization had been trying to perfect old technical skills and develop new ones. But after 1750, new inventions came faster, and they were of a kind that brought morn rapid changes in more people’s lives. The Industrial Revolution changed men’s ways of living and thinking all over the world.

The guild system had given way to the ‘domestic’ or the `putting-out’ system. In the 18th century, the domestic system had become obsolete. It started giving way to a new system called the ‘factory system’. In place of simple tools and the use of animal and manual power, new machines and steam power came to be increasingly used. Many new cities sprang up and artisans and dispossessed peasants went there to work.

Factory System

Production was now carried out in a factory (in place of workshops in homes), with the help of machines (in place of simple tools). Facilities for production were owned and managed by capitalists, the people with money to invest in further production.

Everything required for production was provided by the capitalists for the workers who were brought together under one roof.

Everything belonged to the owner of the factory, including the finished product, and workers worked for wages. This system, known as the factory system, brought on the Industrial Revolution the early form of capitalism about which you have read before was now transformed to industrial capitalism.

Why Industrial Revolution started in England?

England in the 18th century was in the most favourable position for an industrial revolution, Because of following reasons

Through her overseas trade, including trade in slaves, she had accumulated vast profits which could provide the necessary capital. In the trade rivalries of European countries, she had emerged as an unrivalled power. She had acquired colonies which ensured a regular supply of raw materials.

After the disappearance of serfdom, people were no longer tied to the land and were free to do to any job they could find. The enclosure movement had begun in the 18th century. Big land-owners wanted consolidate their large land-holdings. In is process, small peasants who had all holdings in land were ousted and large army of landless unemployed people was created. Thus there was no shortage labour force to work in the factories.

As result of the revolution off the 17th century, a stable system of government had been established, which was no longer under the domination of the feudal classes. Commercial classes had acquired more political power and there was no danger of government interference.

England had plenty of natural resources, such as iron and coal, essential for industries. The sources of iron and coal existed side by side and this saved England from many difficulties that other countries faced.

England developed a large shipping industry and had no problem of transportation. No other country enjoyed all these advantages at this period. Some suffered from a lack of capital or natural resources and some from an unfavourable political system. These factors made England a natural place for the Industrial Revolution to begin. Almost all other European countries had agrarian economies and lived under backward political systems. Many of them, such as Italy and Germany, were not even united and suffered from many economic restrictions.

Textile Industry: The revolution

In the 1700s the English East India Company was sending cotton cloth from India to England. Soon, calico cloth made in Calicut and Dacca muslin and Kashmir shawls were in great demand in England. Shrewd English businessmen then began to import cotton and make it into cloth in England. When the workers using old-fashioned spinning-wheels and handlooms could not keep up with the increasing demand, a series of inventions came along to make faster spinning and weaving possible.


Hargreaves invented a machine which speeded up spinning. Arkwright adapted this machine for running with water. Crompton, sometime later, combined the advantages of the machines invented by Hargreaves and Arkwright. These three inventions alone made it possible for England to produce thread that was finer and cheaper than any that could be produced by others or with older techniques. Then in 1785. Cartwright invented a power loom. This machine could he run by horses or bullocks and later, when factories were set up along rivers and canals, water power was used to operate it.

Cotton Gin

But enough raw cotton for feeding these machines was still not available because the process of separating the fibres from the seeds was very slow. A worker could clean only five or six pounds of cotton clay by hand. In 1793, Eli Whitney, an American, unvented a ‘cotton gin’. This machine made it possible to separate the seeds from cotton three hundred times faster than by hand.

Steam Engine

A tremendous increase in raw cotton imports would not have taken place but for the invention the steam engine by James Watt in 1769. It was this machine that made it possible to produce goods on a really big seal Machines run by the muscles of men animals, or by water power, could not compete with those driven by the steam engine. This invention revolutionized production.

Blast Furnace

With steam power available, there a demand for more machinery. England had plenty of iron and coal to make steel and manufacture machinery, but new and cheaper ways of processing iron had to be found. The development of the blast furnace and, later, the method of turning low-grade iron into steel, enabled the English industries to produce steel cheaply. Thus they could have more and better machines.

TRANSPORT Revolution

Railways: In 1814, George Stephenson developed steam engine to haul coal from mines to ports by railways. In 1830, the first railway train began to carry passengers and freight from Liverpool to Manchester.

These events were followed by a great wave of railroad construction in England and the United States. As early as 1853 in Lord Dalhousie’s time, the first railroad was laid in India.

Roads: The need to transport raw materials and manufactured products led to the improvement of roads and the digging of canals— in England and other countries. Mc Adam devised the method of making pakka or ‘macadamized’ roads.

Canals: To expand facilities for transport by water much cheaper than overland England began connecting rivers and lakes with canals. Canal building spread to Europe and America and was a big help in providing cheaper transportation, especially after steam boats came into use.

Postal Revolution

Improved transportation helped in carrying messages as well as people and goods. Rawland Hill’s idea of the penny post— fast and cheap communication by letter—began to operate in England in the early 19th century. Soon it was adopted in other countries, including India. People could thus send letters to and from all parts of the country at the same low rate regardless of the distance. Business concerns took advantage of the penny-post in their buying and selling transactions far and near.

Agriculture Revolution

Farm Mechanization

There was a revolution in agriculture also. The revolution in agriculture in fact had started before the Industrial Revolution. Naturally, there were changes in farming methods to produce more food, and more importantly, to produce cash crops for the market and raw materials for industries. New farm machinery included the steel plough and harrow for breaking the ground, the mechanical drill for seeding and the horse-drawn cultivator to replace the hoe. There were also machines for reaping and threshing.

Crop Rotation

Farmers adopted intensive manuring and the practice of crop rotation to maintain soil fertility. The latter is the practice of changing the crop on a piece of land each year, for example, wheat, barley, clover, and so on— instead of letting the land lie fallow every third year as was done in the Middle Ages. Crop rotation is effective because different crops take different elements from the soil. Moreover, planting a crop like clover can actually be better for the soil than letting it lie fallow, because clover is one of the plants that add fertility to the soil.

Land Consolidation

Land-owners in England also began to enlarge their farms. They had already consolidated their holdings through the enclosure movement, as you have read before. The strips of land that lay scattered about the village were so consolidated that they could hold all their land in one piece. In doing so, the big land-owner quite unfairly got possession of the peasant’s small holding along with his own.

Sometimes big land-holders took over the common meadow in a village also leaving the small land-owners and tenants with no pasture. But the big land-owners controlled Parliament in those days and got laws passed that enabled them to do these things.

The result was that the peasants were forced off the land. With no other means of livelihood, they moved to the new industrial towns and cities where they got jobs at whatever wage the factory-owner would pay. Industries thus benefited, but at the small farmer’s expense.

Peak of Industrial revolution in England

In a little more than fifty years after the use of machines began, England had become the world’s leading industrial nation. Between 1813 and 1855, for example, her textile exports to India jumped from 50,000 kilograms to well over 2. 5 million. During the same period, the amount of coal mined rose from 15 to 64 million tonnes and became an important export. Meanwhile, England’s production of pig iron increased from 690,000 tonnes to over 3 million— enough to supply all the machinery and hardware she needed at home, besides sending vast quantities to other countries.

Industrial Revolution in Other Countries

In the continent of Europe, the Industrial Revolution began to make some headway after 1815, after the defeat of Napoleon and the end of 23 years of war. Then machines were introduced in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. However, unstable governments and unrest among the people in some of these countries slowed the growth of industries for some time.

1. France, by 1850, was developing the iron industry though she had to import both iron ore and coal.

2. Germany had, by 1865, occupied second place as a producer of steel, but with England far ahead in the lead. After a late start, Germany’s industrial development took an amazing leap after 1870 when the German states were finally welded into one nation. Soon Germany was to become England’s rival.

3. Russia was the last of the big European powers to have an industrial revolution. She was rich in mineral resources but lacked capital and free labour. After she freed the serfs in 1861, she obtained capital from foreign countries and Russian industry moved ahead. However, it was only after Russia’s 1917 Revolution that rapid industrial development started.

4. The United States had introduced machines and started factories before 1800— after gaining independence from England. By 1860 she had well established textile, steel, and shoe industries. The American industries grew very rapidly after 1870.

5. Japan was the first country in Asia to industrialize. Traditionally, Japan produced mainly such articles as silk, porcelain and toys. By the end of the 19th century, Japanese production included steel, machinery, metal goods and chemicals— and in quantities large enough for export.

Tariff barriers

As England was the first country where industries developed, she gained almost complete control over world markets. Even when people in other countries began to use machines they found they could not compete with England’s low prices. To help keep these low priced products from coming into their markets many countries introduced protective tariffs, that is- governments passed laws that required the payment of such a High tax on imported British manufactures that similar products made locally sold more as they were cheaper. The levy of tariffs to protect new industries became a wide spread practice.

Race for raw material

The search tor markets and sources of raw materials resulted in international rivalries. First England later, other Western countries began to look for new sources of raw materials and markets for their manufactures.

Towards the end of the 19th century Japan was industrialized and joined the race. In this race, almost the entire non-industrialized world was carved up into colonies— spheres of influence or territories— for economic and political domination by industrialized countries.

Thus arose imperialism, under which strong nations subordinated the economies of the countries under their domination to their own interests. They forced them to buy and sell on their own terms.

The race for colonies caused many an international conflict. The countries which had been industrialized late and had no colonies, wanted to wrest them from those that had. Countries which had colonies wanted still more.

From Village to City

Before the Industrial Revolution, most of the population of the world lived in villages and was dependent on agricultural. Almost all economic needs of man were met within the village itself. Almost the entire population was, in one way or the other, connected with land.

The towns and Cities that had arisen since the beginning of civilization were, as you have seen, centres of craft and of political and administrative control. Trade was carried on between towns and cities of the same country and of other countries and affected only a very small percentage of the population.

With the growth of industrialization the picture was completely transformed. The centre of economic life shifted to the cities. The new cities and towns that grew were important more as centres of industry than as political and administrative centres.

A large part of the population now started living in cities where thousands of people worked in industrial establishments. This population was not connected with land. Now in some industrialized countries, less than 20 per cent of the population is connected with land.

In our country, though still an overwhelming majority lives in village there is a gradual increase in the population dependent on industry.

In highly industrialized countries, the share of industrial production in the total national income is far larger than that of agriculture. Urban and rural economies have become mutually dependent and complementary.

The crowding of people into cities has always produced problems of housing, health, and sanitation. The quickening pace of industrialization in England created deplorable living conditions, concentration in smoky industrial towns, and city slums grew worse.

Even though the movement of people from village to cities has been going on since civilization began, it has always aroused sadness. Life for a villager in the city resulted in many social strains. Many social bonds were dissolved. Many moral restraints which life in a village community imposed broke down.

On the other hand, men became freer to develop their capabilities. The Industrial Revolution brought countries and peoples together. The relations between countries and peoples, however, were not based on equality as the industrially developed countries began to control the economy of countries which were not industrially developed. In spite of this, the Industrial Revolution created an international consciousness among peoples because the developments in one place began to influence the developments in other places.

Industrial Capitalism

The system of society which came into being as a result of the industrial revolution may be termed industrial capitalism. The main classes in this society were

1. Capitalist: the owners of the means of production.

2. Workers: workers who worked for a wage

Industrial capitalism: Consequences

1. It resulted in the concentration of economic power in a few hands.

2. The independent craftsman became rare.

3. A small number of capitalists came to control the lives of not only a large number of workers whom they employed but also, directly or indirectly, the economic life of the entire society.

4. The concentration of economic power in a few hands resulted in shocking social inequalities and created a wide gulf between capitalists and the rest of the population.

5. These inequalities were so obvious and so great that Disraeli, a British Prime Minister of the 19th century, spoke of the existence of two nations in England- the rich and the poor.

6. The Industrial Revolution produced a vast number of landless, toolless workers, who were wholly dependent on an employer.

7. They had to accept whatever wage the employer offered, for there were usually more workers than jobs.

8. Women and children were employed even in mines because they could be hired for less money.

9. Often they had to work from 15 to 18 hours a day with no rest periods. If perchance they fell asleep on duty, they might be beaten by a heartless overseer.

10. Working surroundings were unsafe and dirty.


The houses provided for workers were no better. Whole areas of the industrial cities where workers lived were crowded slums. Accidents, disease and epidemics were common. A report on the slums of Manchester in 1837 mentions, among other things, that almost all inhabitants of many streets perished in cholera.

No Social security

If an employer was displeased with a worker for any reason, he could dismiss the worker at will. A worker had little choice but to accept an employer’s terms, or be jobless. If he was ill and unable to work, he got no pay, and he might be discharged. If he suffered an accident on the job, he got no help from the employer. When business was slack, a factory-owner regularly dismissed as many employees as possible leaving them with no means of livelihood. It was the industrial workers in England who first endured conditions such as those just described but the workers in other countries fared no better.

Child Labourers

The horrible condition of child labourers is stated in the evidence collected by a committee of British Parliament in 1816. The following information was collected from a one-time master of apprentices in a cotton mill. He was asked questions by the committee on the condition of child labourers in his factory.

Labour Laws

A few humanitarian reformers and some land-owners who were jealous of big businessmen combined with English workers to get the first laws to improve conditions of work. In 1802, England passed its first Factory Act, limiting the hours of work for children to twelve a day. In 1819, law forbade the employment of children under nine. Later laws regulated the employment of women and children in mines.

Trade Unions

Many of the laws to protect workers have been due to the pressure from workers’ trade unions. When the English workers first formed trade unions, employers called them `unlawful combinations’ and laws were passed to curb such `evils’.

But by 1824 the workers succeeded in getting laws against unions repealed and there was a remarkable growth in unions for all the trades. It may be hard to believe today, but it is true, that the English industrial workers did not have the right to vote in those days. In the beginning in fact, the population of new industrial cities had no representation in Parliament at all.

In the thirties and forties of the 19th century, a movement known as the ‘Chartist Movement‘, was launched to get the right of vote for workers. Though the movement declined by the fifties of the 19th century, left its influence and through the Acts of 1867, 1882, 1918 and 1929 all adult citizens were enfranchised.

The English workers also won the right not only to organize trade unions but also the right to strike to force employers to concede their demands.

Trade Unions in other countries

The idea that the workers’ case must be heard in any dispute met with opposition everywhere. Germany got the right to form labour unions in the late 19th century.

In the United States, where unions were frowned upon for almost a century, workers did not, gain full legal rights until the early 20th century. Then the right to form unions, to strike, and to bargain with employers on the conditions of work was legalized and this was followed by other laws that brought more benefits to employees.

The many benefits that workers and all salaried people enjoy in most industrialized countries today are due directly or indirectly to the efforts to correct the terrible conditions that the Industrial Revolution brought about.


Protection for industrial workers could not have taken place without a change in the ideas of the responsibilities of — governments. When the Industrial Revolution was gaining strength in England— and the same was generally true in other countries— the growing belief was that governments should not interfere with business and industry. The theory known as laissez-faire or ‘let us alone’, was then a kind of religion among capitalists.

Laissez faire and Capitalism

According to the laissez faire idea, the businessman should be free to look after his own interests. Only the unwritten law of supply and demand should determine the size of his profits. The same unwritten law would determine the fate of the worker, whether he had a job, what would be his working conditions and salary. The famous economist Adam Smith voiced this idea in 1776 in a book called The Wealth of Nations, and it had many supporters, too.

The laissez faire doctrine was opposed by many people. Gradually, almost all the countries came to accept the idea that the state has a legitimate right and duty to regulate the economy. The Factory Acts in England and many laws dealing with the economy in all countries were a consequence of this.

Today one rarely hears a voice in defence of laissez faire. Gradually, the state’s role in economic development has also come to be recognized. This is true particularly of the developing countries that cannot modernize their economies without a comprehensive and large-scale effort on the part of the state. In fact, in these countries, it is the state, rather than the private capitalist, that is the main agency for economic development.


The greatest challenge to laissez faire, and to capitalism itself, has come from the idea of socialism, which grew in the beginning as a reaction against the evils of capitalism. The idea appealed particularly to workers. Through their struggles, they were able to achieve much improvement in their living conditions. However, they came to believe that, for basic improvement in their life, socialism or a complete re-ordering of society was essential. You will read about ideas of socialism and movements based on those ideas later.

The Industrial Revolution that began in England in about 1750 was a revolution in man’s ways of producing goods and services. Abolition of medieval, antiquated social, economic and political systems, arid industrialization to lead to an era of shared plenty became the declared aims of one society after another who emerged as nations.

Ever since 1750, man has increasingly used machines and mechanical power to do the work that he formerly did with his own muscles and the help of animals. Meantime, the machines invented by man have become more and more complex and provided him with goods and services that could not otherwise be produced at all. Also, machines have increased the amount of goods man can turn out in a given time, and enabled people to raise their level of living.

Industrialization and capitalism brought benefits as well as hardships and evils to man— unemployment, smoky, crowded cities, unhealthy living and working conditions, rivalry and conflict between nations. As working men got the right to vote and elect their representatives in government, they forced the passage of laws that eliminated many of the early evils that industrialization had brought about. Ideas of socialism also arose which, while recognizing the importance of Machines and making them even better, aimed at solving the problems created by capitalism, by building a new social order. But many problem remain. The unsolved problems are a challenge to all nations.


1. Explain the meaning of the following terms: Industrial Revolution, capital, capitalism, socialism, protective tariff, laissez faire.

2. What conditions are most favourable or essential for industrialization?

3. Give examples to show that the Industrial Revolution with its demand for raw materials and markets made nations more dependent on one another.

4. Describe the conditions which prevailed in industrial cities and factories as the Industrial Revolution spread. How these conditions were slowly improved?

5. Make a Time Line showing the most important inventions from 1750 to 1870.

6. Make a bulletin board display of pictures of machines that revolutionized manufacturing, farming, transportation and communication during the first hundred years after the Industrial Revolution began.

7. Write a paper of 250-400 words on the subject: The Industrial Revolution was a mixed blessing’.

8. What are the main features which distinguish capitalism from feudalism?

9. How did the growth of trade unions help to put on end to the idea of laissez faire?

10. Why does industrialization affect farming, transportation, communication, trade and how does it result in the need for more education?

11. How does industrialization help in raising the level or the standard of living?

12. Study the weaknesses and disadvantages of producing goods and services under the capitalist system of production. What are the advantages that a socialist system can have over a society based on capitalism?

13. Would you say that industrialization was ‘a natural step’ in man’s progress? Why or why not?

Chapter 2. Feudalism, Capitalism and Socialism

In the previous chapter, you learned about the rise of a new economic system in the world. In this chapter you will read of the developments that transformed the political systems of many countries of Europe and of the Americas in the 18th and 19th centuries. The basic features of these developments were the growth of democratic political systems, nationalism and socialism. Together with the’ industrial Revolution, they brought about great changes and helped to determine people’s thought and conditions of life for a long time to come. These developments began first in certain parts of Europe. Since then, particularly from the 19th century, the establishment of democratic political systems and of independent states based on nationalism have been among the primary aims of peoples the world over. Simultaneously with these in some countries and later in other countries ideas of socialism have inspired movements of social equality.

Feudalism to Nation States

Under feudalism, societies were divided into classes some of which were privileged while the others were exploited. A man’s entire life was determined at the time of his birth, depending on the class into which he was born. You have read that the two main classes in the feudal society were feudal lords and serfs.

The political systems of the time were also determined by the prevailing social and economic system. Most of the population was excluded from having any share in the governance of the country.

Many kings claimed divine rights, that is, that their power was derived from God and not from any capability to rule. Their word was law. A French king declared, “I am the State. ”

The boundaries of states also were irrational. If you see old maps you will be able to recognize very few states of modern Europe. There were all kinds of states—empires, feudal estates, city-states.

The territories within a state were not necessarily contiguous. The people inhabiting these states were not homogeneous. Empires, for example, included territories far apart from each other and inhabited by people of different nationalities.

Similarly, the territories inhabited by a homogeneous people were divided into a number of states, some under a local ruler, some under the Church and some as parts of an empire. As a result of many factors nation-states had begun to be formed. However, this process was limited to a few areas. Most of the European states for a long time to come had no rational basis.

Middle Class

You have read of the rise of new social groups and classes during the later Middle Ages and about the role played by the middle class in bringing about the Renaissance in Europe. In economic life, this class gradually became very important. However, it was obstructed in its growth by the outdated political systems based on privilege.

It could grow only if it also held the political power. With the Industrial Revolution, the strength of this class increased further and the removal of the outdated political systems acquired urgency. The spread of the Industrial Revolution in many countries was slow because of the backward political system that prevailed there. Another important new class that arose, particularly after the Industrial Revolution, was the working class, or the industrial workers. This class also was opposed to the autocratic political systems.

Serfdom had declined in some countries but in most other countries of Europe, it was still the dominant feature of the social system. There were many revolts of the serfs but they were suppressed. However, during the period from the 17th to the 19th centuries, there arose movements in different parts of Europe to overthrow the existing political systems. The first successful revolution which overthrew the autocratic monarchy took place in England in the 17th century.

Simultaneously, there was also the rise and growth of national consciousness and movements to unite the different territories inhabited by the people of a nation if they were divided into different states, and to overthrow foreign imperial rule if the territories of a nation were part of a larger empire ruled by an alien emperor.

The Renaissance

The Renaissance had inaugurated an era of questioning the established beliefs. Gradually, this questioning covered every aspect of thought and belief. The period after the 16th century, witnessed an intellectual revolution when all the existing beliefs based on faith came under heavy attack.

Great progress was made in various sciences, which also undermined the existing beliefs. The new ideas were characterized by rationalism and were increasingly concerned with secular affairs. Because of the growing emphasis on reason, the period of the 18th century in European history is called the Age of reason or the Age of Enlightenment.

Gradually the beliefs that permitted people to be divided into higher or lower groups on the basis of birth, and into privileged groups and others, and the hold of the Church in the sphere of ideas, were undermined.

The new ideas were ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity. Thus arose ideas of freedom, democracy and equality, which became the rallying slogans of peoples everywhere.

Simultaneously, there also arose ideas of nationalism which brought a sense of unity and oneness to the people forming a nation and the desire to organize themselves into independent states with their distinctive national identities.

Movements arose in many parts of Europe and in North America to overthrow the existing autocratic political systems and replace them by democratic political system and to abolish privileges and establish the equality of political rights. These movements which began earlier became powerful forces in the 19th century Europe.

In this chapter you will read about some revolutions that led to the overthrow of autocratic governments and their replacement by democratic forms of government. You will also read about some successful movements of national independence and national unification. In the last section, you will read about the emergence of ideas of socialism and about the movements based on those ideas which took shape.

What is a Revolution?

Changes in political and social systems have often been brought about by revolutions. A revolution, as you know from your study of the Industrial Revolution, means a drastic or radical change.

A revolution can be the sudden overthrow of an established government or system by force and bloodshed; it can also be a great change that comes slowly and peacefully. The developments described in this chapter were, in some aspects, rapid and accompanied by violence but many of the lasting changes they brought about have taken place gradually and without bloodshed.

However, you should remember that every change of government is not a revolution. A revolution involves a fundamental change in the entire political system of a country, a change in the nature of government, in the class or classes that hold political power, and also in the aims of the government.

People do not usually revolt against a government or a certain system unless they believe that it is no longer possible to live in the old way. Revolutions occur when an existing system becomes unbearable to a vast majority of the people. This, in itself, makes conditions ‘ripe’ for setting up a new system.

Revolutions are ‘contagious’. Revolutionary ideas originating in one place may spread to other places very fast and influence the thinking and actions of peoples suffering under oppressive governments in other lands. Revolutions have played an essential role in the development of human societies. Without them, one kind of system, however unsuitable for the times it might be, would continue for ever and there would be no progress.


While some Englishmen were battling at home for improvements in Parliament and reforms in religion, others were adventuring across the Atlantic to establish colonies and trade in the Americas.

In the 16th century, European countries began to make settlements there. In North America, colonies were established by France, Holland and Spain as well as by England.

In the 18th century, England drove France out of the eastern part of the continent and Canada. She had earlier taken New Netherlands from the Dutch, changing its name to New York.

The English Colonies in America

By the middle of the 18th century there were 13 English colonies in North America along the Atlantic Coast. Landless peasants, people seeking religious freedom, traders, and profiteers had settled there. The bulk of the population consisted of independent farmers. Infant industries had developed in such products as wool, flax, and leather.

In the north there were fishing and ship-building. In the south, large plantations like feudal manors had grown up where tobacco and cotton were grown with slave labour brought from Africa.

Each colony had a local assembly elected by qualified voters. These assemblies enacted laws concerning local matters, and levied taxes. However, they were under the rule of the mother country.

By the 18th century, the colonists found the laws which the English government imposed upon them more and more objectionable. The idea of being an independent nation grew and developed into the Revolutionary War in which the colonists gained their independence.

Causes of the War of American Independence


The colonial policy of England in economic matters was the primary cause of resentment in the American colonies. England’s policies did not encourage the American colonies to develop an economy of their own.

The English Parliament had forbidden them to use non-British ships in their trade. Certain products, such as tobacco, cotton and sugar, could be exported only to England.

Heavy duties were imposed on the import of goods in the colonies from other places. The colonies were also forbidden to start certain industries, for example, iron works and textiles.

They were forced to import these goods from England. Thus, in every possible way, the growth of industry and trade in the colonies was impeded.


The English also angered the colonists by issuing a proclamation to prevent them from moving west into new lands. English aristocrats had bought lands in America and got rents from the farmers. They wanted to keep the colonists as renters.

Taxes to finance wars

As a result of continuous wars in Europe, the English government was burdened with debt. It needed money. In 1765, the English Parliament passed the Stamp Act which imposed stamp taxes on all business transactions in the American colonies. Revenue stamps up to 20 shillings were to be affixed to legal documents and other papers.

This Act aroused violent resentment among all sections of the colonists and led them to boycott English goods. There were uprisings in many towns and tax-collectors were killed.

The colonists claimed that, since English Parliament had no representatives from the colonies, it had no right to levy taxes on them. The revenue from these taxes was used not in the interests of the colonies but of English.


The American revolutionaries were inspired by the ideas of the English philosophers of the 17th century. These philosophers— Locke,Harrington,Milton—believed that men had certain fundamental rights which no government had the right to infringe.

American thinkers, especially Thomas Jefferson, were also inspired by what French philosophers were saying and writing at that time. Jefferson asserted the colonists’ right to rebellion, and encouraged their increasing desire for independence.

Support for independence was forcefully expressed by Thomas Paine, who detested the inequalities of English society, and had come to America. In a pamphlet entitled Common Sense, he wrote, ‘It was repugnant to reason to suppose that this continent can long remain subject to any external power…there is something absurd in supposing a Continent to be perpetually governed by an island’.

No taxation without representation

The leaders in the Massachusetts colony called together representatives from other colonies to consider their common problems.

In this Massachusetts assembly, they agreed and declared that the English Parliament had no right to levy taxes on them. ‘No taxation without representation’ was the slogan they adopted.

And they threatened to stop the import of British goods. The threat led English to repeal the Stamp Act, but Parliament still insisted that it had the right to levy taxes. Then Parliament imposed a tax on consumer goods coming into the colonies, such as paper, glass, tea and paint.

Again the colonies objected saying that only their own assemblies had the right to raise money through taxes. In protest the colonies cut down the English imports by one-half. The English withdrew the plan- leaving only the tax on tea to assert their right to levy taxes.

Boston Tea Party

The tax on tea led to trouble. In 1773, several colonies refused to unload the tea coming in English ships.

In Boston, when the governor ordered a ship to be unloaded, a group of citizens, dressed as American Indians, boarded the ship and dumped the crates of tea into the water. This incident is known as ‘the Boston Tea Party’. The English government then closed the port of Boston to all trade and precipitated the uprising of the colonies.

Declaration of Independence

The representatives of the 13 American colonies met as a group in what is called the First Continental -Congress at Philadelphia in 1774. This Congress appealed to the English King to remove restrictions on industries and trade and not to impose any taxes without their consent.

The King declared their action a mutiny and ordered troops to be sent to suppress it. The colonies then planned for military defence with local troops or militia.

In 1775, the first battle of the revolution was fought when a thousand soldiers met the colonial militia in Independence. The Declaration On 4 July 1776, the Second Continental Congress asserted ‘that all men are created equal, Congress adopted the Declaration of that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’.

The Declaration advanced the principle that the people are the source of authority and affirmed the people’s right to set up their own government. The Declaration also stated that the American colonies had been oppressed by the English government and that ‘these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states’.

Up to this time the colonists had been fighting for their rights as Englishmen. After the Declaration in 1776, they fought for their right to be an independent nation.

The War of Independence

George Washington was put in command of the American forces. The first battles took place in and around Boston. Then English sent a force to Canada with the plan to march it south to meet another English force, and so cut the American colonies in half.

But English general spoiled the plan. As the English marched south, the Americans met and defeated them. This victory of the rough American militia-men against a trained British force gave the Americans confidence.

The French government now decided to help the colonies with troops, supplies and funds—to embarrass the English, Frances old enemy. Other enemies of English—Spain and Holland—were soon fighting the English elsewhere

Meanwhile, trouble was brewing for Britain at home. There was a threat of rebellion in Ireland; some leaders inParliament were opposing the war with the colonists.

The war ended in 1781 when the English commander, Cornwallis, later to become governor-general in India, surrendered. Two years later, in 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed and the English recognized the independence of its 13 former colonies.

The American Constitution

When the war of independence started, each of the 13 colonies was a separate state with its own army, boundaries, customs duties and finances. But they co-operated against a common enemy. In 1781, as states of the United States, they united through a plan for a national government. A constitutional convention was called in Philadelphia to frame a new constitution, which came into effect in 1789.

The American constitution established a republican form of government at a time when states in other parts of the world were governed by monarchies. The American Constitution set up a federal system under which powers were divided between a central or federal government and the state governments.

Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and his followers campaigned for the addition of a Bill of Rights to the federal constitution. This was done through ten amendments which guaranteed many rights to the American people. The most noted of these are freedom of speech, press and religion, and justice under law.

The constitution marked the emergence of the United States of America as a nation in world history. It was the first written republican constitution ever framed in history, which is still in operation.

Significance of the American Revolution

The words of the Declaration of Independence regarding the equality of all men and the ‘inalienable rights’ of man electrified the atmosphere in America and outside. Lafayette, the French general who fought on the side of American revolutionaries, was soon to become a hero of the French Revolution. Thomas Paine also participated in the French Revolution.

By its example, the American Revolution inspired many revolutionaries in Europe later in the 19th century. It encouraged Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Central and South America to rebel and gain their independence.

The main achievement of the American Revolution was the establishment of a republic. This republic was, however, not truly democratic. The right to vote was limited. Negroes— most of them still slaves—American Indians, and women had no vote.

Election laws in all states favored men of property for many years. But progress towards democracy had begun. In some states, state religion was abolished, along with religious qualifications for holding public offices.

The Growth of a Nation

Early in the 19th century, many new areas were added to the United States. The vast territory in the middle of the continent, known as Louisiana, was purchased from France. Florida was acquired from Spain. By the 1850’s, after a war with Mexico, the United States had extended its boundaries to the Pacific Ocean. People had continued to move west. The westward expansion of the United States was at the expense of the

American Indians who were driven out of their territories and in the course of a few decades their population was reduced to an insignificant number. Increasing settlements in the west brought about increasing conflicts between the southern states that wanted to extend slavery to the western territories and the northern states that objected to a slave economy.

A change of revolutionary significance came with the Civil War when slave-owning states of the south seceded from the Union and set up a separate government. The Civil War raged from 1861 to 1865 and ended in the defeat of the southern states.

It was a victory for the capitalistic industrial states of the north over the slave-owning states of the south. The federal government abolished slavery. The abolition of slavery, however, did not end discrimination against the Black people and their struggle to make equal rights a reality continued.

The French Revolution was brewing while the War of American Independence was being fought. Conditions in France were vastly different from those in the New World, but many of the same revolutionary ideas were at work. The French Revolution, however, was more world-shaking than the American. It became a widespread upheaval over which no one could remain neutral.

Social Conditions in the 18th-century France

To understand how and why the French Revolution occurred, we have to understand French society of that time. We have to realize also that conditions in France were no worse than the conditions that existed in other parts of Europe.

Autocratic, extravagant rulers, privileged nobles and clergy, landless peasants, jobless workers, unequal taxation—the list of hardships endured by the common people is a very long one. France was a strong and powerful state in the 18th century. She had seized vast territories in North America, islands in the West Indies. However, despite its outward strength, the French monarchy was facing a crisis which was to lead to its destruction.

First and Second Estate

French society was divided into classes, or estates. There were two privileged classes: Privileged class Also known as Clergy: First estate 1. 3 lakh clerics. Nobility: Second estate 80 thousand families

People in these two classes were exempted from almost all taxes!They controlled most of the administrative posts and all the high-ranking posts in the army. In a population of 25,000,000 people, these two classes together owned about 40 per cent of the total land of France. Their incomes came primarily from their, large land-holdings.

A minority of these also depended on pensions and gifts from the king. They considered it beneath their dignity to trade or to be engaged in manufacture or to do any work. The life of the nobility was everywhere characterized by extravagance and luxury. There were, of course, poorer sections in these two top estates. They were discontented and blamed the richer members of their class for their misery.

Third Estate

The rest of the people of France were called the Third Estate. They were the common people and numbered about 95 per cent of the total population. People of the Third Estate were the unprivileged people. However, there were many differences in their wealth and style of living.

The Peasants

The largest section of ‘the Third Estate consisted of the peasants, almost 80 per cent of the total population of France. The lives of this vast class were wretched. Most of the peasants were free, unlike the serfs in the Middle Ages, and unlike the serfs in eastern Europe in the 18th century. Many owned their own lands. But a great majority of the French peasants were landless or had very small holdings.

They could earn hardly enough for subsistence. The plight of the tenants and share-croppers was worse. After rents, the peasant’s share was reduced to one-third or one-fourth of what he produced. The people who worked on land for wages lived on even less.

Certain changes in agriculture in the 18th century France further worsened the condition of the peasant. He could no longer take wood from the forests or graze’ his flocks on uncultivated land. The burden of taxation was intolerable. Besides taxes, there was also ‘forced labour’ which had been a feudal privilege of the lord and which was more and more resorted to for public works. There were taxes for local roads and bridges, the church, and other needs of the community. A bad harvest under these conditions inevitably led to starvation and unrest.

The Middle Classes

Not all the people belonging to the Third Estate worked on the land. There were the artisans, workers and poor people living in towns and cities. Then there was the middle class or the bourgeoisie.

This class consisted of the educated people— writers, doctors, judges, lawyers, teachers, civil servants— and the richer people who were merchants, bankers, and manufacturers.

Economically, this class was the most important one. It was the forerunner of the builders of the industries which were to transform economic and social life in the 19th century.

The merchant-business groups, though new in history, had grown very important and rich, helped by the trade with French colonies in America. Since these people had money, the state, the clergy and the nobility were indebted to them. However, the middle class had no political rights. It had no social status, and its members had to suffer many humiliations.

The Artisans and City Workers

The condition of the city poor—workers and artisans—was inhuman in the 18th-century France. They were looked upon as inferior creatures without any rights. No worker could leave his job for another without the employer’s consent and a certificate of good conduct.

Workers not having a certificate could be arrested. They had to toil for long hours from early morning till late at night. They, too, paid heavy taxes. The oppressed workers formed many secret societies and often resorted to strikes and rebellion.

This group was to become the mainstay of the French Revolution, and the city of Paris with a population of more than 500,000 was to play an important part in it. In this number was an army of rebels, waiting for an opportunity to strike at the old order.

The Monarchy

At the head of the French state stood the king, an absolute monarch. Louis XVI was the king of France when the revolution broke out. He was a man of mediocre intelligence, obstinate and indifferent to the work of the government. Brain work, it is said, depressed him.

His beautiful but ’empty-headed’ wife, Marie Antoinette, squandered money on festivities and interfered in state appointments in order to promote her favorites. Louis, too, showered favours and pensions upon his friends.

The state was always faced by financial troubles as one would expect. Keeping huge armies and waging wars made matters worse. Finally, it brought the state to bankruptcy.

The Intellectual Movement

Discontent or even wretchedness is not enough to make a successful revolution. Someone must help the discontented to focus on an ‘enemy’ and provide ideals to fight for. In other words, revolutionary thinking and ideas must precede revolutionary action. France in the 18th century had many revolutionary thinkers. Without the ideas spread by these philosophers, the French Revolution would simply have been an outbreak of violence.

Rationalism: the Age of Reason

Because of the ideas expressed by the French intellectuals, the 18th century has been called the Age of Reason. Christianity had taught that man was born to suffer. The French revolutionary philosophers asserted that man was born to be happy. They believed that man can attain happiness if reason is allowed to destroy prejudice and reform man’s institutions.

They either denied the existence of God or ignored Him. In place of God they asserted the doctrine of ‘Nature’ and the need to understand its laws. They urged faith in reason. The power of reason alone, they said, was sufficient to build a perfect society.

Attack on the Clergy

The clergy were the first to feel the brunt of the French philosophers. A long series of scientific advances dating from the Renaissance helped in their campaign against the clergy. Voltaire, one of the most famous French writers of the time, though not an atheist, believed all religions absurd and contrary to reason.

After Voltaire, other philosophers, atheists and materialists, gained popularity. They believed that man’s destiny lay in this world rather than in heaven. Writings attacking religion fed the fires of revolution because the Church gave support to autocratic monarchy and the old order.

Physiocrates and Laissez Faire

The French economists of the time were called ‘physiocrats’. They believed in “Laissez faire” about which you’ve already read in chapter7

According to this theory, a person must be left free to manage and dispose of his property in the way he thinks best. Like the English and American revolutionaries before them, the physiocrats said that taxes should be imposed only with the consent of those on whom they were levied. These ideas were a direct denial of the privileges and feudal rights that protected the upper classes.

Democracy: Jean Jacques Rousseau

The philosopher-writer, Montesquieu, thought about the kind of government that is best suited to man and outlined the principles of constitutional monarchy.

However, it was Jean Jacques Rousseau who asserted the doctrine of popular sovereignty and democracy. He said, ‘Man is born free, yet everywhere he is in chains. ’ He talked of the ‘state of nature’ when man was free, and said that freedom was lost following the emergence of property. He recognized property in modern societies as a ‘necessary evil’.

What was needed, said Rousseau, was a new ‘social contract’ to guarantee the freedom, equality and happiness which man had enjoyed in the state of nature. Rousseau’s theories also contained a principle that had been written into the American Declaration of Independence: no political system can maintain itself without the consent of the governed.

Outbreak of the Revolution

In 1789, Louis XVI’s need for money compelled him to agree to a meeting of the States General— the old feudal assembly. Louis wanted to obtain its consent for new loans and taxes. All three Estates were represented in it but each one held a separate meeting.

On 17 June 1789, members of the Third Estate, claiming to represent 96 per cent of the nation’s population, declared themselves the National Assembly.

On 20 June, they found their meeting-hall occupied by royal guards but, determined to meet, they moved to the nearby royal tennis court to work out a constitution.

Louis then made preparations to break up the Assembly. Troops were called: rumours spread that leading members of the Assembly would soon be arrested. This enraged the people, who began to gather in their thousands. They, were soon joined by the guards. They surrounded the Bastille, a state prison,

On 14 July After a four-hour siege, they broke open the doors, freeing all the prisoners. The fall of the Bastille symbolized the fall of autocracy. July 14 is celebrated every year as a national holiday in France.

After Fall of Bastille

After 14 July 1789, Louis XVI was king only in name. The National Assembly began to enact laws.

Following the fall of the Bastille, the revolt spread to other towns and cities and finally into the countryside. The National Assembly adopted the famous Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. It specified the equality of all men before the law, eligibility of all citizens for all pubic offices, freedom from arrest or punishment without proven cause, freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Most important of all, to the middle class, it required equitable distribution of the burdens of taxation and rights of private property.

The revolutionary importance of this declaration for Europe cannot be overestimated. Every government in Europe was based on privilege. If these ideas were applied, the entire old order of Europe would be destroyed.

War and End of Monarchy

The people of France were soon involved in a war to defend the Revolution and the nation. Many nobles and clerics fled the country and encouraged foreign governments to intervene in France against the Revolution. The king and queen tried to escape from France in disguise but they were recognized and brought back as captives and traitors.

The old National Assembly was replaced by a Legislative Assembly. This Assembly took over the property of those people who had fled. It sent word to the Austrian emperor, who was mobilizing support against France to renounce every treaty directed against the French nation. When the emperor refused, the Legislative Assembly declared war.

Soon France was fighting Austria, Prussia, and Savoy in Italy. The three were supported by an army of the French exiles.

France had destroyed feudalism and monarchy and founded new institutions based on liberty and equality, whereas in these countries the old way of life remained. The commander-in-chief of the Austro-Prussian forces stated that the aim was to suppress anarchy in France and to restore the king’s authority. The French revolutionaries replied by offering ‘fraternity and assistance’ to all people wishing to destroy the old order in their countries.

The king and queen were tried and executed in 1793. This was followed by a declaration of war against Britain, Holland, Spain and Hungary.

Then, a radical group, the Jacobins, believing in direct democracy, tame to power. Fearing that the Revolution was in danger, this group took to strong measures to crush forces inimical to the Revolution. In 14 months, some 17,000 people, including those who were innocent, were tried and executed. Some people have called it the “Reign of Terror“. Later, a new constitution was drawn up. But the army became increasingly powerful and this led to the rise of Napoleon, who was soon to declare himself Emperor of the French Republic.

Napoleonic Wars

From 1792 to 1815, France was engaged in war almost continuously. It was a war between France and other states. Some historians have termed it as an international civil war because it was fought between revolutionary France and countries upholding the old order. In this war, France was alone.

However, until Napoleon became emperor, almost every enlightened person in the world sympathized with the French Revolution.

Between 1793 and 1796 French armies conquered almost all of western Europe. When Napoleon pressed on to Malta, Egypt and Syria (1797-99), the French were ousted from Italy.

After Napoleon seized power, France recovered the territories she had lost and defeated Austria in 1805, Prussia in 1806, and Russia in 1807. On the sea the French could not score against the stronger British navy.

Finally, an alliance of almost all Europe defeated France at Leipzig in 1813. These allied forces later occupied Paris, and Napoleon was defeated. His attempt at recovery was foiled at the battle of Waterloo in June 1815. The peace settlement, which involved all Europe, took place at the Congress of Vienna.

After the defeat of Napoleon, the old ruling dynasty of France was restored to power. However, within a few years, in 1830, there was another outbreak of revolution. In 1848, the monarchy was again overthrown though it soon reappeared. Finally, in 1871, the Republic was again proclaimed.

Consequences of the Revolution

1. A major result of the Revolution was the destruction of feudalism in France. All the laws of the old feudal regime were annulled. Church lands and lands held in common by the community were bought by the middle classes. The lands of nobles were confiscated. Privileged classes were abolished.

2. After Napoleon seized power. The Napoleonic Code was introduced. Many elements of this Code remained in force for a long time; some of them exist even to this day.

3. Another lasting result of the Revolution in France was the building up of a new economic system in place of the feudal system which had been overthrown. This system was capitalism about which you have read in Chapter7. Even the restored monarchy could not bring back the feudal system or destroy the new economic institutions that had come into being.

4. The French Revolution gave the term ‘nation’ its modern meaning. A nation is not the territory that the people belonging to it inhabit but the people themselves. France was not merely the territories known as France but the ‘French people’.

5. From this followed the idea of sovereignty, that a nation recognizes no law or authority above its own. And if a nation is sovereign, that means the people constituting the nation are the source of all power and authority. There cannot be any rulers above the people, only a republic in which the government derives its authority from the people and is answerable to the people. It is interesting to remember that when Napoleon became emperor he called himself the ‘Emperor of the French Republic’. Such was the strength of the idea of people’s sovereignty.

6. It was this idea of the people being the sovereign that gave France her military strength. The entire nation was united behind the army which consisted of revolutionary citizens. In a war in which almost all of Europe was ranged against France, she would have had no chance with just a mercenary army.

7. Under the Jacobin constitution, all people were given the right to vote and the right of insurrection. The constitution stated that the government must provide the people with work or livelihood. The happiness of all was proclaimed as the aim of government. Though it was never really put into effect, it was the first genuinely democratic constitution in history.

8. The government abolished slavery in the French colonies.

9. Napoleon’s rise to power was a step backward. However, though he destroyed the Republic and established an empire, the idea of the republic could not be destroyed.

10. The Revolution had come about with the support and blood of common people— the city poor and the peasants. In 1792, for the first time in history, workers, peasants and other non-propertied classes were given equal political rights.

11. Although the right to vote and elect representatives did not solve the problems of the common people. The peasants got their lands. But to the workers and artisans— the people who were the backbone of the revolutionary movement—the Revolution did not bring real equality. To them, real equality could come only with economic equality.

12. France soon became one of the first countries where the ideas of social equality, of socialism, gave rise to a new kind of political movement.

Impact of French Revolution on the World

The French Revolution had been a world-shaking event. For years to come its direct influence was felt in many parts of the world. It inspired revolutionary movements in almost every country of Europe and in South and Central America.

For a long time the French Revolution became the classic example of a revolution which people of many nations tried to emulate.

The impact of the French Revolution can be summed up, in the words of T. Kolokotrones, one of the revolutionary fighters in the Greek war of independence: “According to my judgment, the French Revolution and the doings of Napoleon opened the eyes of the world. The nations knew nothing before, and the people thought that kings were gods upon the earth and that they were bound to say that whatever they did was well done. Through this present change it is more difficult to rule the people. ”

Even though the old ruling dynasty of France had been restored to power in 1815, and the autocratic governments of Europe found themselves safe for the time being, the rulers found it increasingly difficult to rule the people.

Some of the changes that took place in many parts of Europe and the Americas in the early 19th century were the immediate, direct consequences of the Revolution and the Napoleonic wars.

The wars in which France was engaged with other European powers had resulted in the French occupation of vast areas of Europe for some time.

The French soldiers, wherever they went, carried with them ideas of liberty and equality shaking the old feudal order. They destroyed serfdom in areas which came under their occupation and modernized the systems of administration.

Under Napoleon, the French had become conquerors instead of liberators. The countries which organized popular resistance against the French occupation carried out reforms in their social and political system. The leading powers of Europe did not succeed in restoring the old order either in France or in the countries that the Revolution had reached.

The political and social systems of the 18th century had received a heavy blow. They were soon to die in most of Europe under the impact of the revolutionary movements that sprang up everywhere in Europe.

Revolutions in Central and South America

The impact of the Revolution was felt on the far away American continent. Revolutionary France had abolished slavery in her colonies. The former French colony of Haiti became a republic. This was the first republic established by the black people, formerly slaves, in the Americas.

Inspired by this example, revolutionary movements arose in the Americas to overthrow foreign rule, to abolish slavery and to establish independent republics.

The chief European imperialist powers in Central and South America were Spain and Portugal. Spain had been occupied by France, and Portugal was involved in a conflict with France.

During the early 19th century, these two imperialist countries were cut off from their colonies, with the result that most of the Portuguese and Spanish colonies in Central and South America became independent.

The movements for independence in these countries had earlier been inspired by the successful War of American Independence. The French Revolution ensured their success.

By the third decade of the 19th century, almost entire Central and South America had been liberated from the Spanish and the Portuguese rule and a number of independent republics were established. In these republics slavery was abolished.

It, however, persisted in the United States for a few more decades where it was finally abolished following the Civil War about which you have read before in this chapter. Simon Bolivar, Bernardo O’Higgins and San Martin were the great leaders in South America at this time.

Revolutionary Movements in Europe

The period after 1815 saw the emergence of revolutionary activity in every country in Europe. In some countries, the aim of the revolutionaries was the overthrow of autocratic rulers and the abolition of serfdom; in some it was the overthrow of foreign rule and in some others it was social, political and economic reforms.

Nationalism emerged as a major force in this period. However, it is interesting to see that this nationalism was neither exclusive nor chauvinistic.

Revolutionaries fighting for independence did not fight for their independence alone or against the despotism of their rulers only. They did not want their nation to dominate other nations.

They were in fact inspired by the aim of fighting against despotism everywhere. They were united into a kind of international brotherhood of peoples against all despots.

The South American revolutionaries O’Higgins, Simon Bolivar and San Martin fought for the independence of many countries in South America.

Mazzini, one of the foremost leaders of the struggle for Italian unification and independence, formed a number of organizations such as Young Poland, Young Germany and Young Italy for the liberation of these countries.

Garibaldi, another great leader of the Italian revolutionaries, fought for the freedom of the peoples of South America.

The great English poet Lord Byron was also one of these revolutionaries. He fought for the freedom of Greece and died there. He declared that he would war with every despotism in every nation. These words of Byron best sum up the attitude of a large number of revolutionaries of the time.

However, as the revolutionaries were united in their common aim of overthrowing despotism everywhere, the autocratic governments also were united to suppress every revolt and movement against any despotism.

Holy Alliance

In 1815, the rulers of Austria, Britain, Russia and Prussia formed an alliance. One of the major declared aims of this alliance was to suppress any attempt by the people to overthrow a ruler whom these countries considered the ‘legitimate’ ruler of the country.

The new ruler of France also soon joined this alliance. Austria, Russia and Prussia had formed another alliance which they called the Holy Alliance.

This alliance which many other rulers also joined was even more openly opposed to democratic ideas and movements than the first. After 1815 the rulers of Europe tried to suppress all movements for freedom and democracy in their own as well as in other countries.

In 1821, for example, Austria sent her armies into Naples and Piedmont in Italy to suppress the uprisings that had taken place there. In many countries of Europe, the freedom of the press was abolished and a large number of spies were recruited to keep watch on the activities of the revolutionaries.

The oppressive measures introduced by the rulers failed to curb the revolutionary movements in Europe. In 1830 revolutions broke out in a number of countries. The French monarch fled away to England and was succeeded by Louis Philippe who promised to rule according to the wishes of the people.

There was a revolt in Belgium for freedom from Holland. Insurrections broke out in various states of Italy and Germany and in Poland. Although most of these revolts were suppressed, the independence of two new nations was recognized— of Greece in 1830 and of Belgium in 1839.

Revolutions of 1848

Within a few years after the revolts of 1830 had been suppressed, the revolutionary movements in Europe again gained momentum. In 1848, revolutions broke out in almost every country of Europe, which dealt a mortal blow to the countries of the Holy Alliance.

Early in 1848, there was a revolt in Italy. In February, revolution broke out in France and Louis Philippe who had been installed as king after the 1830 revolution fled away. France again became a republic for some time but power was usurped by Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, popularly known as Napoleon III, a nephew of Napoleon, in 1852.

France finally became a republic in 1871 when the empire of Louis Bonaparte collapsed. The revolution in France was soon followed by uprisings in many towns of Germany. The rulers of many German states, including Prussia which was a member of the Holy Alliance, agreed to introduce many reforms.

Simultaneously, there were uprisings in Vienna, the capital, and in other towns of the Austrian empire, another member of the Holy Alliance. Metternich, the Chancellor of the empire, who was the most hated man in Europe, had to flee.

The Austrian empire in those days was a large empire ruling over many nations of Europe. It ruled over Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Poland, Yugoslavia and many other areas.

Revolts had broken out in all the subject nations of the empire as well as in Austria. Even though these revolts did not succeed, the empire was badly shaken. The revolutions of 1848 failed to overthrow the established oppressive regimes of Europe though they considerably weakened them. The most significant aspect of the 1848 revolutions was the emergence of a new political force in Europe.

You have read in Chapte 7 about the rise of a new social class in Europe following the Industrial Revolution— the working class. The workers were a major force in the revolutions of 1848. Their aim was not merely the overthrow of autocracies but also the destruction of the economic system that had grown with the Industrial Revolution— capitalism. Other participants in the revolutions— the capitalists, the merchants and other people belonging to the middle class—wanted constitutional reforms.

They looked upon the demands of the workers for social revolution with horror. When the revolutionary movements were at their peak, they decided to compromise with the rulers.

Growth of Democracy in England

The first successful revolution that overthrew the autocratic monarchy took place in England in the seventeenth century. This had resulted in the establishment of the supremacy of Parliament in England. However, Parliament at that time was not a truly democratic institution.

The right to vote was limited to a very small percentage of the population. Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the demand for making Parliament’ a democratic institution grew. Campaigns to extend the right to vote to every citizen were waged. These campaigns were led by radical leaders who represented the interests of workers, and the city poor, and by those representing the industrialists.

Until 1832, representation in Parliament was based not on population but on election districts— counties and boroughs. Many of these were no longer populated excepted for a few houses, while new towns and cities with large populations had no representation.

Under the Act of 1832, the old unpopulated areas or ‘rotten boroughs’, as they were called, were abolished and their seats were given to new towns and cities. At this time also, the right to vote was extended to those who owned or rented a house of a certain value in the towns or in villages. This formed only about 10 per cent of the population.

In ch. 7, You have read of the Christian Movement which was launched to get the right to vote for workers. Though the movement declined in the 1850’s, it left its influence and through the Acts of 1867. 1882, 1918 and 1929, all adult citizens were enfranchised.

Thus it was over 200 years after Parliament became supreme that it became also a truly representative body of the British people.

Unification of Germany

One of the major features of the 19th century history of Europe was the struggles for national unification and independence. The achievement of independence by Greece and Belgium has been mentioned before. Germany and Italy were the other two important nations which emerged as united, independent states in the 19th century.

In the 18th century, Germany was divided into a number of states. Some of these states were very small and did not extend beyond the limits of a city. During the Napoleonic wars, many of these states ceased to exist. At the end of the wars there were still thirty-eight independent states in Germany. Among them Prussia, Wurttemberg, Bavaria, and Saxony were fairly large.


was the most powerful in Militarily and in extent. It was also the most reactionary. The big landlords of Prussia known as Junkers formed the dominant section in Prussian society. Prussia was also one of the leaders of the Holy Alliance.

Problems of divided Germany

The division of Germany into a number of states had hampered the economic development of Germany. The social and political system in these states was also very backward.

With the growth of national consciousness, particularly after the French Revolution, the people of these states had started demanding the national unification of Germany, establishment of democratic government and social and economic reforms.

In 1815, the German states along with Austria were organised into a Germanic Confederation. However, each state tried to preserve its independence and its oppressive political and social system.

In 1848 revolts occurred in every German state and the rulers were forced to grant democratic constitutions. To unite Germany and to frame a constitution for the united Germany, a constituent assembly met in Frankfurt.

The initial success of the revolts had made the German democrats and nationalists think that victory had been achieved. While they debated the clauses of the constitution, the rulers prepared themselves to suppress the movement.

The Frankfurt Assembly proposed the unification of Germany as a constitutional monarchy under the King of Prussia who would become emperor of Germany. However, the King of Prussia declined the offer. He did not wish to accept the crown from the elected representatives of the people. Repression soon followed and even the rights that people had won in the initial stages of the revolution were taken away. Thousands of German revolutionaries had to flee the country and live in exile.

Bismarck: Policy of blood & iron

With the failure of the revolution of 1848 to unify Germany, one phase in the struggle for unification came to an end. Now Germany was to be unified not into a democratic country by the efforts of revolutionaries but by the rulers into a militaristic empire.

The leader of this policy was Bismarck who belonged to a Prussian aristocratic family. He wanted to preserve the predominance of the landed aristocrats and the army in the united German state and to achieve the unification of Germany under the leadership of the Prussian monarchy.

He described his policy of unification as one of ‘blood and iron’. The policy of ‘blood and iron’ meant a policy of war. The first aim he pursued was the elimination of Austria from the Germanic Confederation.

He aligned with Austria in a war against Denmark over the possession of Schleswig and Holstein. After Denmark’s defeat, he entered into an alliance with Italy against Austria, defeated Austria and dissolved the Germanic Confederation.

Thus Austria was separated from other German states. In place of the old Confederation, he united 22 states of Germany into North German Confederation in 1866. The constitution of this Confederation made the king of Prussia the hereditary head of the Confederation. The unification of Germany was completed as a result of a war between Prussia and France.

Fall of Louis Bonaparte

In 1870, Louis Bonaparte, whose power had begun to collapse, declared war on Prussia in the hope of maintaining his empire through a military victory. The war was partly provoked by Bismarck. It proved disastrous for the empire of Louis Bonaparte.

The French armies were defeated and the French emperor was captured. After her defeat, France finally became a republic. Germany’s unification was completed as a result of the war which enabled Bismarck to absorb the remaining German states into a united Germany.

The formal ceremony at which King William I of Prussia took the title of German’ Emperor was not held on German soil. It took place at Versailles in France, in the palace of the French kings. After her unification, Germany emerged as a very strong power in Europe. It underwent heavy industrialization in a very short period and soon joined the scramble for colonies. However, the militarism which made Germany into a great power was to prove disastrous to the people of Germany in the years to come.

Unification of Italy

Like Germany, Italy was also divided into a number of states.

The major states in the early 19th century Italy were Sardinia, Lombardy, Venetia, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (Sicily and Naples), Papal States, Tuscany, Parma and Modena.

Of these the most powerful was the kingdom of Sardinia. Venetia and Lombardy were under Austrian occupation. Thus the Italian people were faced with the task of expelling the Austrians and forcing the rulers of independent states to unite.

Young Italy movement

The struggle for Italian independence and unification was organized by the two famous revolutionaries of Italy whose names have been mentioned in the earlier part of this chapter— Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi.

The movement led by them is known as the ‘Young Italy’ movement. It aimed at the independence and unification of Italy and the establishment of a republic there. In 1848, as in other parts of Europe, revolutionary uprisings had broken out in Italy and the rulers were forced to grant certain democratic reforms to the people. However, the goal of independence and unification was still distant.

Italy after the revolution of 1848.

The king of Sardinia had introduced many reforms in the political system of his kingdom after the revolution of 1848. After 1848, his prime minister, Count Cavour, took the initiative of uniting Italy under the leadership of Sardinia.

Cavour’s policy in some ways was similar to that followed by Bismarck in Germany. Hoping to gain the support of Britain and France, he entered the Crimean war in 1853-56 against Russia even though Sardinia had no dispute with Russia. However, nothing came out of this war.

In 1859, Cavour entered into an alliance with Louis Bonaparte and went to war with Austria. Although France soon withdrew from the war, Austria was ousted from Lombardy, which was taken over by Sardinia.

Tuscany, Modena, Parma and the Papal States of the north also joined Sardinia. Venetia, however, was still under Austrian occupation. The other states that remained to be united with Sardinia were the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and Rome which was under the rule of the Pope.

Uprising in Sicilies

Meanwhile an uprising had broken out in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Garibaldi marched into the island of Sicily with his revolutionary fighters and liberated it from the rule of the king within three months. Then he marched to Naples in support of the revolt that had already broken out there.

By the end Of November 1860 the entire Kingdom of the Two Sicilies had been liberated. The Italian revolutionaries were not perhaps strong enough to push the victory of the people in the Sicilies further with a view to establishing a united republic of Italy.

They surrendered the former kingdom to the King of Sardinia, Victor Emmanuel II, who then took the title of King of Italy in 1861. Garibaldi, the revolutionary who had played such a vital role in the liberation and unification of Italy, now retired to lead a life of obscurity.

Rome become the Capital

Rome was still outside the kingdom of Italy. It was ruled over by the Pope with the help of the French soldiers provided to him by Louis Bonaparte. When the war between France and Prussia broke out in 1870, Bonaparte was forced to withdraw his troops from Rome.

Italian soldiers occupied the city of Rome in 1870, and in July 1871, Rome became the capital of united Italy. In spite of the important role played by democratic and revolutionary leaders such as Mazzini and Garibaldi in the struggle for Italy’s liberation and unification, Italy also, like Germany, became a monarchy.

After the revolts and unifications

The unification of Germany and Italy, in spite of the fact that democracy was not completely victorious there, marked a great advance in the history of the two countries.

The revolutions and movements described above, along with the Industrial Revolution, deeply influenced the course of the history of mankind. The forces that generated these revolutions and movements were also at work in other countries. Their success in one place fed the fires of revolt and encouraged change in the rest of the world. They are still being felt today, transforming social, political and economic life everywhere.

One of the aspects of the movements described so far is the gradual growth of political democracy, that is, the ever increasing participation of increasing number of people in the political life of a country.

This happened in countries where the form of government became republican as well as in those which remained monarchies such as England, Germany and Italy. The period of autocracies and privileged aristocracies was gradually coming to an end. Alongside, there were also the movements for national unity and national independence.

These movements were victorious in Italy, Germany, and some other countries of Europe and in the, Americas. In a few more decades they were to succeed in the rest a Europe and in the recent period in most of the world. It is necessary to remember here that the new political and economic system that was emerging in Europe in the 19th century was also creating imperialism.

The period of the triumph of democracy and in Europe was also the period of the conquest of Asia and Africa by the imperialist powers of Europe. The 19th century saw the beginning of the revolts against imperialism in Asia and Africa. There were two mighty revolts

1. 1857 in India

2. Taiping rebellion in China.

Later, nationalist movements in the modem sense began to be organized in all countries of Asia and Africa.


You have already read about the emergence of a new social and economic system called capitalism. Under this system, the means of production such as factories and the things produced by factories were owned and controlled by a few people. The vast majority of the people who worked in the factories had no rights. Their conditions of work and living were miserable. They were frequently without jobs. The workers gradually began to organize themselves into trade unions to protect their common rights though for a long time there were laws against workers combining themselves into unions. The governments were also forced to pass laws against some of the worse features of capitalism. For example Laws to protect workers from unsafe conditions of work were passed in many countries. Some progress was also made in regulating hours of work.

Some workers had begun to think that machines were the cause of their misery. In England, there was a movement to machines led the Luddites so named after their leader Ned Ludd. However, they soon realized that the destruction of machines would not put an end to their misery. In England, a new political movement started which aimed at winning political rights for workers. This was the Chartist movement about which you have read before.

Early Socialists

The greatest challenge to capitalism came from the ideas of socialism and the movements based on those ideas. The idea grew that capitalism itself is evil and that it needs to be replaced by a different kind and economic system in which the means a production would be owned by the society as a whole and not by a few individuals.

Many philosophers and reformers in the past had expressed their revulsion against inequalities in society and in favour of a system in which everyone would be equal. However these ideas had remained as mere dreams. The French Revolution a 1789 with its promise of equality had given a new impetus to these ideas. But the French Revolution, while it put an end to the autocratic rule of the French king, it did not did not usher in an era of equality in economic, social and political life. The-wide gap between the aims of the French Revolution and the actual conditions in France after the revolution created serious discontent among the people. It led to an attempt to overthrow the existing government in France with a view to building a society based on socialist ideas. This attempt, known as Babeufs Conspiracy, is an An important event in the history of socialism.

Babeuf Conspiracy

The Conspiracy, as the name indicates, was the work of Babeuf. He was born in 1760 and had participated in the French Revolution. He organized a secret society called the Society of the Equals. Babeuf, in a manifesto, had declared, “Nature gave everyone an equal right to the enjoyment of all goods…. . In a true society, there is no room for either rich or poor”. He said that it was necessary to make another revolution which would do away “with the terrible contrasts between rich and poor, masters and servants! The time has come to set up the republic of equals, whose welcoming doors will be open to all mankind. ” The society planned an uprising but the government came to know of the plan and in May 1796, a large number of leaders including Babeuf were arrested. Babeuf was executed in 1797. Though Babeuf’s attempt at overthrowing the government had failed, his ideas exercised an important influence on the growth of socialist movement.

Utopian Socialists

There was another group of socialists in the early history of socialism which included

1. Saint-Simon (1760-1825)

2. Charles Fourier (1772-1837)

3. Robert Owen (1771-1858)

They viewed property in relation to its usefulness to society. They recognized the evils of capitalism and proposed the establishment of a new and better system of society in its place. Saint-Simon coined the slogan, ‘from each according to his capacity, to each according to his work‘. They visualized a society free from exploitation of any kind and one in which all would contribute their best and would share the fruits of their labour. However, the methods they advocated for the establishment of such a society were impracticable and ineffective. Hence they came to be called utopian socialists.


There were many other philosophers and revolutionaries who helped in spreading ideas of socialism. One of the most prominent among them was Louis-Auguste Blanqui (1805-81) who played a leading role in every uprising in Paris from the 1830’s to 1871. He believed that through a revolutionary conspiracy, power could be captured to bring about socialism. When he died. 200,000 workers joined the funeral procession in Paris.

Communist League

Many groups and organisations were also formed to spread socialist ideas and organise workers. One of these was the League of the Just which had members in many countries of Europe. Its slogan was ‘All men are brothers’. Thus internationalism was one of its important features. In 1847, its name was changed to the Communist League and it declared as its aim, “the downfall of the bourgeoisie, the rule of the proletariat, the overthrow of the old society of middle class, based on class distinction, and the establishment of a new society without classes and without private property. ” Its journal carried the slogan, “Proletarians of all lands, unite!” It instructed Karl Marx and Frederick Engels to draft a manifesto.

Marxian Socialism

The Communist Manifesto first appeared in German in February 1848. The influence of this document in the history of the socialist movement is without a rival. It was the work of Karl Marx (1818-83) and his lifelong associate Frederick Engels (1820-M). Both Marx and Engels were born in Germany, but spent much of their life outside Germany, mostly in England. Through their work in the socialist movement and through their numerous writings, they gave a new direction to socialist ideology and movement. Their philosophy is known as Marxism and it has influenced almost every field of knowledge. Their view of socialism is called scientific socialism.

The Communist Manifesto stated that the aim of workers all over the world was the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of socialism. “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class differences”, it said “appears an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all”. It pointed out that socialism was not merely desirable, but also inevitable. Capitalism, it said, does not serve the needs of man and, like other social and economic systems in history, it would be replaced by a system, better suited to human needs. Marx analysed the working of capitalism in his famous work Das Kapital (Capital) and pointed out the characteristics that would lead to its destruction. According to him,

1. Workers produce more ‘value’ than they get in the form of wages, the difference being appropriated by the capitalists in the form of profits.

2. This constitutes the basis of conflict in capitalist society. Profits can be increased at the cost of workers’ wages and, therefore, the interests of workers and capitalists are irreconcilable.

3. Economic crises were inevitable under capitalism because of the discrepancy between the purchasing power of workers and total production. These crises would be resolved only if the private ownership of the means of production is abolished and the profit motive eliminated from the system of production. With this, production would be carried on for social good rather than for profits for a few

4. The exploiting classes would disappear and a classless society would emerge in which there would be no difference between what was good for the individual and for society as a whole.

Marx and Engels believed that this would be accomplished by the working class which was the most revolutionary class in capitalist society. They advocated that the emancipation of the working class would emancipate the whole human race from all traces of social injustice.

Around the time the Communist Manifesto was published, revolutions broke out in almost every country in Europe. You have read about these revolutions of 1848 before. These revolts aimed at the overthrow of autocratic governments, establishment of democracy and also, in countries such as Italy and Germany, at national unification. One of the major forces in these revolutions were the workers who had been inspired by ideas of socialism. The Communist League participated in these revolutions in many countries. However, all these revolutions were suppressed.

After 1848 revolution

With the failure of the 1848 revolutions, the socialist movement seems to have abated. However, it was soon to rise in strength again. One of the outstanding features of the various socialist groups was their internationalist character. You have read about the Communist League before. In Britain, an organisation called the Society of Fraternal Democrats had been formed in 1846. It had close links with other similar organizations in Europe and with the Chartists in Britain. All these organisations emphasized the idea that the cause of the working class in all countries was the same. A leader of the Society of Fraternal Democrats, for example, said in 1848, “I appeal to the oppressed classes in every country to Unite for the common cause. ” The people, according to him, were the workers and peasants, and the cause of the people was “the cause of labour, of labour enslaved and exploited…. In all countries there are people who grow corn and eat potatoes, who make clothes and wear rags, who build houses and live in wretched hovels. Do not the workers of all nations have the same reason for complaint and the same causes of distress? Have they not, therefore, the same just cause?’ It was these ideas of international solidarity that were to remain the fundamental features of the socialist movement in the coming years.

The First International, 1864

One of the most important events in the history of the socialist movement was the formation in 1864 of the International Working Men’s Association, or the First International, as it is called. With its formation, it has been said, “Socialism stepped on the stage of history as a world movement”. The meeting at which it was formed took place in London and was attended by delegates from Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Poland and Switzerland. Marx drafted ‘An Address to the Working Classes’ which has become famous as the ‘Inaugural Address of the International Working Men’s Association’. This “Address” along with the General Rules outlined the principles and aims of the International. The emancipation of the working classes, it was declared, must be won by the working classes themselves. The central aim of the International was declared to be the total ‘abolition of all class rule’. The universal character of the struggle of the working class was emphasized. The Address ended with the slogan, as in the Communist Manifesto, “Proletarians of all lands, unite!”

From the time of its formation, the International was considered by the governments of the time as a menace and attempts were made to exterminate it. It was persecuted and declared illegal in many countries.

During the short period of its existence, the International exercised a tremendous influence on workers’ movements in Europe and North America. It played a particularly important role in creating bonds of international solidarity by arranging aid from workers of many countries in support of the workers’ struggle in any particular country. For example, when in 1867, 5000 bronze workers in Paris who had formed a union were threatened with dismissal, the International collected money for them; from workers in other countries and forced the ‘factory owners to withdraw their threats. Though its membership was not very large, it was feared by the rulers for the sense of workers’ solidarity that it had succeeded in creating.

One of the finest examples of workers’ solidarity was evidenced at the time of the war between Prussia and France in 1870. You have read about this war earlier in the context of the unification of Germany. The war was condemned both by the German and French workers as a crime committed by the French and Prussian dynasties. The French and German branches of the International sent messages of good wishes and solidarity to each other. The Social Democratic Party in Germany in a message to the French workers, said,

“…we shall never forget that the workers of all nations are our friends and the despots of all nations are our enemies. ” After the defeat of the French army, the German government announced its intention to annex Alsace-Lorraine from France. The German workers protested against this and there were many demonstrations in various cities of Germany. All the leaders of German workers were arrested on charges of treason.

The Paris Commune, 1871

The war between France and Prussia led to another important development—an uprising by the workers of Paris and the seizure of-power by-them. This is one of the most important events in the history of socialism. Within a few weeks of the war the French army had been defeated and the French emperor Louis Bonaparte had been taken prisoner. A new government had come into being and had declared France a republic. This government was dominated by the propertied classes and had agreed to Bismarck’s terms for truce including the surrender of Paris, cession of Alsace-Lorraine and the payment of a huge war indemnity. The workers of Paris regarded the surrender by the government as treacherous. They refused to surrender. The government withdrew from Paris on 18 February 1871 and asked for German help to crush Paris. The workers of Paris elected a council which on 28 March 1871 assumed the title of the Paris Commune. It was elected by universal adult franchise and represented the workers and the lower middle classes of Paris. It proclaimed as its aim “the ending…of exploitation, stock-exchange speculation, monopolies and privileges to which the proletariat attributes its slavery, and the fatherland its misery and ruin”. All public offices were elected by universal suffrage with people having the right to recall.

The Paris Commune was the result of an upsurge in which the workers had played the dominant role, the result of the first workers’ revolution in history. It was soon drowned in blood. The French government which had established its headquarters in Versailles attacked Paris with a huge army. In this they received the help of Germany also. The attacks on Paris had begun in April. On 21 May the troops entered Paris. The battle continued in the city of Paris up to 28 May when the Commune was finally exterminated. The government which had surrendered to the German invaders, however, turned on the workers of Paris with unusual ferocity. It is estimated that between 14,000 to 30,000 defenders of the Commune were slaughtered in the streets of Paris or killed by firing squads. Thousands were deported and imprisoned. The French government called it the victory of order, justice and civilization. The International’s address on the Commune to its members, written by Marx, concluded with the words, “Working Men’s Paris, with its Commune, will be forever celebrated as the glorious harbinger of a new society. Its martyrs are enshrined in the great heart of the working class. Its exterminators history has already nailed to that eternal pillory from which all the prayers of their priests will not avail to redeem them”.

The demise of 1st international

The extermination of the Commune was followed by systematic attempts to destroy the International in almost every country of Europe. The International had organised support for the Commune and after its destruction was engaged in aiding the refugees from Paris. It appeared to gain strength in many countries of Europe inspite of the fact that the revolution in Paris had been suppressed. However, soon it collapsed as a result of internal differences. The International was not a homogeneous organisation. It represented many different trends in. the workers’ movement. Due to differences on aims and methods, it was split in 1872 and was formally dissolved in 1876. In the meantime, however, the socialist parties in many countries of Europe had begun to grow and after a few years they were to unite and form another International.

The Second International

When the First International was formed, there did not exist well-organised socialist parties: there were only a few groups. However, in the 1870’s and the 1880s in almost every country in Europe socialist parties were formed. Some of them became quite strong having lakhs of members. They participated in national elections and in some countries came to have a fairly large representation in the parliament. Similarly, the strength and membership of the trade unions also increased and there were many strikes. For example the German Socialist Party had polled over 750,000 votes in 1887. It was the largest socialist party in Europe. In Britain, where the trade unions had a membership of a million had been formed the Social Democratic Federation, The Socialist League and the Fabian Society. In France there were many socialist parties. There were socialist parties in every other country of Europe with varying strength and in USA and some other countries in the Americas. Socialist began to take root in Japan in the 1890’s. Thus though the First International had been dissolved, the movement had become a mass movement.

To unite the socialist parties in various countries into an international organisation, a Congress was held in Paris on 14 July 1889, the centenary of the French Revolution of 1789. The result of this was what has come to be known as the Second International. The formation of the Second International a new stage in the history of socialism. An important step taken at the Congress was to make the first May every year as a day of working class solidarity. It was decided to organise on that day a great international demonstration in such a way what “the in all lands and cities will simultaneously demand from the powers that be a limitation the working day to eight hours.

On the first May 1890, millions of workers all over Europe and America Struck work and held massive demonstrations. Since then the first of May is observed as the international class day all over the world.

The period after the formation a the Second International saw a steady increase in the strength of the socialist parties and of trade unions. In 1914, the membership of the socialist party of Germany was over a million and it had polled over 4 million in France, the socialists has polled about 1. 4 million votes; in Austria, over a million. The total number of trade union membership in Germany, Britain and France alone was about 8 million. The socialist and workers’ movement had become a major force in almost every country of Europe.

2nd international: achievements

The most significant achievements of the Second International were its campaign against militarism and war and in asserting the principle of the basic equality of all peoples and their right to freedom and national independence. The period from the last decade of the 19th century saw the growing militarization of every country in Europe. It was a period when war seemed imminent and every country was spending increasingly huge sums in preparing for it. Europe was getting divided into groups of warring blocs, the struggle for colonies being the main cause of conflicts between them. The struggle against militarism and the prevention of war became the major aims of the Second International and of the socialist parties affiliated to it. They expressed the conviction that capitalism was the root cause of war. They also resolved that while wars could be ended only with the destruction of capitalism, it was the duty of the socialists to prevent their occurrence and, if they broke out, to bring about their speedy end. The second International also decided that the socialists should utilize the “economic and political crisis created by the war, to rouse the masses and thereby to hasten the downfall of capitalist rule”. The socialist movement had made the international solidarity of workers as a fundamental principle. When Russia and Japan were warring on each other, the leader of the Japanese socialist group and the leader of the Russian socialists were made the joint presidents of the Second International at its Congress in 1904. The socialists in many countries had resolved to call for a general strike to prevent their countries from participating in wars. They suffered at the hands of their governments who were preparing for war. Jean Jaures, the great leader of the French socialists was assassinated on the eve of the First World War for campaigning against war.

2nd International: cry against colonialism

The Second International also condemned colonialism and committed the socialist parties to oppose the robbery and subjugation of colonial peoples. The 1904 Congress was attended by the Grand Old Man of the Indian national movement, Dadabhai Naoroji, who pleaded the cause of India’s freedom. He was supported by the British delegates at the Congress. The President asked the Congress “to treat with the greatest reverence the statement of the Indian delegate, an old man of eighty, who had sacrificed fifty-five years of his life to the struggle for the freedom and happiness of his people”. When Dadabhai Naoroji went to the rostrum, he was greeted with tumultuous cheers and applause.

2nd International: Limitations

In spite of its many achievements and its growing strength, the Second International suffered from many weaknesses. Unlike the First International, it was a loose federation of socialist parties of many countries. While the socialist parties in many countries had become mass parties, basic differences had arisen among them.

While some sections believed in the necessity of a revolution to overthrow capitalism, others began to believe that socialism could be achieved through gradual reforms. The latter were willing to support the existing governments in certain circumstances. Some sections in the socialist parties even favoured colonialism.

On the question of war, while the attitude of the Second International was clear, many socialist parties had serious differences. Some of them thought that if they organised opposition to the war, they would be crushed. They were also not willing, as the Second International had recommended, to utilize the war, once it had broken out, to promote revolution. It was on the question of the war that the Second International suffered a fatal blow. When the First World War broke out, most of the socialist parties extended their support to their respective governments. This had serious consequences for the socialist movement. The Second International ceased to function and the socialist movement in every country was split. With the outbreak of the First World War, an important phase in the history of the socialist movement came to a close.


1. Though the socialist movement did not succeed in bringing about a socialist revolution in any country in the 19th century, it brought about widespread awareness of the problems created by capitalism and the inadequacies of democracy.

2. It also emerged as a powerful political movement in a number of countries. It was to play an increasingly important role in the coming years all over the world, making socialism, along with democracy and nationalism, the dominating factor in the history of the world in the 20th century.


1. Explain the following terms: Third Estate, Bourgeoisie, Proletariat, Junkers, Paris Commune, Means of Production, Socialism, Utopian Socialists.

2. Identify the following people, telling the part each played in the revolutions and movements described in this chapter: Jefferson, Washington, Thomas Paine, Louis XVI, Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Napoleon, Simon Bolivar, Mazzini, Garibaldi, Cavour, Bismarck, Babeuf, Karl Marx.

3. Explain briefly the conditions that brought about the American and French revolutions.

4. What were the main ideas behind the French Revolution?

5. Explain why the following documents were ‘revolutionary’ when they were written: Declaration of Independence, Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, Communist Manifesto.

6. Explain the impact of the French Revolution on the Spanish colonies in America.

7. Describe the different stages in the unification of Germany and Italy.

8. When was the First International formed? What were its main contributions to the growth of the socialist movement?

9. When was the Second International formed? For which other great event is that year important? What were the main aims of the Second International?

10. Select a suitable scale to show events on a time-line beginning with 1774 and ending with 1871. Show on this timeline the revolutions and movements described in this chapter and the various events connected with them.

11. Write a paper entitled ‘People Revolt when Conditions become Unbearable’, using the revolutions as evidence.

12. Read the ‘revolutionary documents’ cited in No. 5 above and select statements for a bulletin board display under the heading ‘Ideas that Caused Revolutions’.

13. Preparing essays on the lives of persons who participated in the revolutionary movements of countries other than their own

14. Read a few documents connected with socialist movement and select statements for a bulletin board display, under the heading ideas of socialism

15. What is sociopolitical revolution? Why revolutions often violent? When can a revolution be called successful?

16. Which of the revolutions seem to have brought about the greatest change to the country where the revolution occurred? Give reasons for your answer

17. do you think that each of the revolutions and moments described in this chapter truthfully be called a step forward in the progress of men? Why or why not

18. why did France help the revolutionary forces in the American Revolution?

19. Why did the achievement of national unity in Germany and Italy not result in the establishment of republics in these countries?

20. Why read the aims of the socialist movement internationalist in the character from the very beginning?

21. Discuss the role of Karl Marx in the history of Socialist movement.


Chapter 3. Imperialism and Colonialism

THE term ‘imperialism’ means the practice of extending the power, control or rule by a country over the political and economic life of areas outside its own borders. This may be done through military or other means, and particularly through ‘colonialism’ or the practice of acquiring colonies by conquest or other means and making them dependent. It may be remembered that occupation of or direct rule over a country or people by another country is not always an essential feature of imperialism. The essential feature of the relations between imperialist country and the country, over which it has established its control or the colony which it has acquired, is exploitation, with or without direct political control. This means that the imperialist country, or metropolis (literal meaning ‘mother country’), as it is sometimes called, subordinates the colony or the country which the metropolis indirectly controls to serve its own economic and political interests.

Most countries of Asia, including India, and Africa, and many other parts of the world were until recent years under the control of one imperialist country or another. These included countries which were not directly/ruled by the imperialist countries but were exploited by them more or less in the same way as countries over which direct imperialist rule had been established. In the present-day World, when almost all countries of the world are politically independent, imperialist control over other countries has not come to an end. The practice of exploitation, particularly economic exploitation and domination of independent but economically less developed countries, is often called ‘neo-colonialism’

The first phase of the imperialist control and colonization of Asia, Africa and the Americas began in the sixteenth century. During the period from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, as you have already read, the voyages of discovery were followed by die founding of vast colonial empires by Portugal, Spain, Holland, England and France. In the Americas, Spain occupied most of South America (excluding Brazil which was occupied by Portugal), Central America, Mexico, West Indies and parts of what is now the United States of America. England and France occupied parts of North America Many people from these countries of Europe went to settle in these colonies permanently. During this period, the European control in Africa extended only to about one-fifth of the continent, mainly in the coastal areas. This was the period of slave trade. The European slave traders enslaved and transported about 5000 Africans to the Americas every month during the seventeenth century. In Asia, the Europeans came mainly with the purpose of trade. The traders from Portugal, Holland, England, France and other countries, with the backing of their respective governments, set up their trading posts and tried to establish their monopoly of trade with the countries of Asia, and each tried to exclude the others through war and by extending their political influence and control. The Portuguese who controlled the trade with Asia were ousted from that position by the Dutch and the English who extended their control over Indonesia and India, respectively

Generally speaking, the first phase of imperialism and colonization came to an end by the close of the eighteenth century. The British conquest of India which had started in the middle of the eighteenth century was completed by about the middle of the nineteenth century. In the meantime, the imperialist penetration of China had begun.

The period between the sixteenth to the eighteenth century was a period of naked plunder by European colonial powers. In you have already read about the role which this plunder played in the growth of the capitalist system and in the Industrial Revolution

During the initial period of the Industrial Revolution, the pursuit for colonies had slowed down. The pursuit for colonies and colonial rivalries re-emerged in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. This new phase of imperialism, which began in about 1875 and continued till 1914, is often described as New Imperialism. It was the result of the economic system that had developed as a result of the Industrial Revolution. During this phase, a few industrialized capitalist countries established their political and economic control and domination over almost the rest of the world. The forms of control and domination including direct colonial rule, spheres of influence and various types of economic and commercial agreements. The power of some of the imperialist countries such as Spain and Portugal declined during this period, and new countries emerged which played an increasingly important role during this phase of imperialist expansion and rivalries. Besides the old imperialist countries —Britain and France —which continued to be powerful and expand, the new imperialist countries which emerged during this period were Germany, Italy, Belgium, USA and, later, Japan.


If you study the conditions that existed in the world in the nineteenth century, you will find that these conditions favoured the growth of imperialism. The imperialist countries took full advantage of these conditions and easily justified any and every conquest that served their interests. In fact, the more powerful nations made imperialism seem necessary and natural

Demands Created by the Industrial Revolution

As you have read, the Industrial Revolution resulted in a very great increase in the production of goods. It also created die capitalist system of production. Under capitalism, maximum profit for the capitalist was the primary purpose of production Capitalists followed two courses to make big profits —more and more production and minimum wages to workers. The production of goods was far in excess of the demand at home. Low wages meant low purchasing power of the majority of the population and this also restricted their demand at home. So capitalist countries had to find new markets and buyers for the goods their industries were producing.

The possibilities of one industrialized country selling its manufactures to another industrialized country were also limited. With the spread of the Industrial Revolution to all the countries of Europe, each country tried to protect and stimulate its new industries. All the European nations began to follow a ‘protectionist policy’. That is, each country put a heavy tariff or tax on goods imported from other countries.

European countries could find markets for their surplus goods in Asia and Africa where the Industrial Revolution had not taken place. Selling was made easier through political domination of these areas. Then each country could protect its market from other European rivals and also eliminate any competition from goods produced locally.

In addition to markets, European countries needed new sources of raw materials. As industries grew, more and more raw materials were needed to fee those industries. And all that was needed could not be had internally, at any rate not enough of it. India and Egypt were good sources of cotton, Congo and the East Indies; of rubber. Other products needed were food grains, tea, coffee, indigo, tobacco and sugar. To obtain these, it was necessary to change the pattern of production in the countries where they could be grown. Sometimes, goods produced in one country were sold in another country to pay for the goods from that country For example, the English promoted the cultivation of opium in India, they smuggled the opium from India into China and in this way paid for the goods that they bought in China. In some countries, the imperialists forced the cultivation of only one or two crops which they needed as raw materials for their industries Coal, iron, tin, gold, copper and, later, oil were other resources of Asia and Africa that European countries wanted to control.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, imperialist countries began looking upon Asia, Africa and South Africa as good places to invest their capital. The abundance of raw materials in Asia and Africa, and the number of people who could be made to work for lower wages made the two continents very attractive to investors. Capital invested in Europe would fetch only 3 or 4 per cent profit, in Asia or Africa, it was as high as 20 per cent. From about the end of the nineteenth century, export of capital for investment in other countries began to become more important than the export of goods. This happened as a result of the growing influence and power of the financial institutions such as banks. They exercised control over industries by giving them credit. The investment of capital in the colonies was not made with a view to industrializing the colonies, it was to promote industries which would produce goods mainly for export, such as in mining, or which would further strengthen the imperialist country’s control over the colony’s economy, such as the railways But, as in the case of markets and raw materials, political domination was often necessary Investments might not be ‘safe’ without political domination, Europeans ‘reasoned’. An uprising that a weak government could not control, or a change in government, could mean a loss of profits or even of the whole investment, they argued. This was how Morocco in North Africa, for example, became ‘French Morocco’, after French investors appealed to their government to annex it.

Improvement in Transportation and Communication

Changes in transport and communication that came with the Industrial Revolution made the spread of imperialism easier. Steamships could carry goods between home countries in Europe and the acquired territories in Asia and Africa much faster than old sailing vessels. With cheap labour, imperialist countries built railroads and inland waterways in conquered area. On these they could get raw materials out of the interior of the continents and send their manufactured products into new markets. Thus every area of the world was brought within easy reach of the industrialized Countries

Extreme Nationalism: Pride and Power. The later part of the nineteenth century was a period of intense nationalism. Germany and Italy had just succeeded in becoming unified nations. Nationalism in the late nineteenth century came to be associated with chauvinism. Many nations developed myths of their superiority over other peoples Each one felt that it, too, must have colonies to add to its prestige and power. Imperialism became the fashion of die age. Writers and speakers in England, France and Germany opened institutions to promote the idea of imperialism, and took great pride in calling their territories empires.

Imperialist countries took over some places in Asia and Africa because of their military or strategic importance. For example, England needed Port Said, Aden, Hong Kong, Singapore and Cyprus —not to protect England but to protect her conquered lands and trade route to India from rival nations. At these places she established naval bases and coaling stations to strengthen her overseas power Rival nations got similar bases elsewhere, as you will see. Acquiring a colony also had a chain reaction. If a county acquired a colony, it needed another to protect it and so on

Overseas possessions were also useful because they added to an imperialist country’s manpower. Some of the people of the colonized countries were taken into the army, often by force, for use in wars of conquest, others were contracted to work on plantations and mines in some other colonial possession for a specified number of years. The manpower of die colonies was also used in the administration of the colonies at lower levels.

The ‘Civilizing Mission’: Men and Ideas

In the minds of many Europeans, rmperial1st expansion was very noble. They considered it a way of bringing civilization to the backward’ peoples of the world. The famous English writer, Rudyard Kipling, asked his countrymen to shoulder what he called ‘the white man’s burden’ Jules Ferry, in France, said, ‘Superior races have the duty of civilizing the inferior races’.

Christian missionaries, dedicated to spreading Christianity, also played their part in promoting the idea of imperialism. Usually they went alone into unknown areas in a spirit of duty. Very often they were followed by profiteering traders and soldiers who often took place to protect the missionaries. All this seemed quite natural to most Western people who considered it their nation’s destiny to civilize and Christianize the peoples of Asia and Africa President McKinley of the United States summed up the reasons for annexing the Philippines in these words “. There was nothing left to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos and uplift and civilize and Christianize them as our fellow men for whom Christ also died”.

Explorers and adventurers, also helped in spreading imperialism. They went into unknown or little known territories and brought back reports that often indicated opportunities for trade and development On the basis of such reports, a trading post would first be set up; next, gradually the explorer’s home government would arrange to take over ‘protection’ of the entire area around the trading post. Then this government would proceed to claim the entire territory. The work of explorers and adventurers was particularly important in Europe’s taking over of Africa.

Conditions that Favoured Imperialism in Asia and Africa

The most important condition favouring the imperiaist conquest of Asia and Africa was that the Industrial Revolution had not come to this part of the world. The craftsmen produced goods of fine quality that Westerners admired and desired. But they relied entirely on hand tools which meant production on a small scale. In comparison with the production of Western countries in the nineteenth century; Asian and African methods were backward. Also, because of the lack of knowledge that the Industrial Revolution had brought to the West, the two continents were militarily unable to stand up to the armed might and power of Europe.

The governments of the countries of Asia and Africa were very weak in the nineteenth century, though in ancient and medieval times powerful empires had existed there. In the nineteenth century, the old ways of governing were still followed, even though they had outlived their usefulness. Strong nation-states in the modern sense had not developed. The people’s loyalties were still to local princes as in feudal times, on to tribal chieftains. These rulers cared little for the welfare of the people. These conditions help to explain how small bands of Westerners succeeded in gaining power and, finally, with the backing of their governments, in conquering entire countries.


The British in India

Tile decline of the Mughal empire in India gave the British and the French, who had come to trade, an opportunity to conquer India. The English East India Company, formed in 1600, was victorious in its conflict with France, which ended in 1763. Beginning with Bengal, almost the entire country came under the rule of the English East India Company. After the Revolt of 1857, the British government took over direct control of India. Many princely states survived but they were free more in name than in fact. Britain’s conquest of India was complete.

The conflict between the English East India Company and the French was over establishing a monopoly of trade. After the English company gained control, the country’s vast resources fell into its hands. There was no longer any need to bring money from England to buy Indian goods. These were purchased with the money made from British conquests in India and sold in England and Europe Fortunes were made by the officers of the Company India was known as the brightest jewel of the British empire. With the coming of die Industrial Revolution in England, British goods poured into this country. This ruined Indian handicraft industries. Millions of pounds were drained out of India to England in the form of profits and as payment to the British government as direct tribute and Home Charges. India’s interests were subordinated more and more to British interests. In 1877, the British queen took the title ‘Empress of India’, like the one used earlier by the Mughals

The British conquest led to many changes in the Indian social and economic life. To extend Indian markets for British goods and to make use of India’s natural resources railway construction was started on large scale British rulers gave special privileges to their own planters, and within a short time a number of tea, coffee and indigo plantations grew up. In 1883, all import and export duties were waived. Indian resources, both human and material, were used to promote the interests of British imperialism in China, Central Asia and Africa. To prevent opposition from the Indian people, the British imposed laws to stifle the expression of public opinion. They excluded Indians from responsible positions in government, and disseminated against them in other institutions and in social life

Imperialism in China Imperialist domination of China began with what are known as the Opium Wars Before these wars, only two ports were open to foreign traders British merchants bought Chinese tea, silk and other goods, but there was no market for British goods in China. Then British merchants started smuggling opium into China on a large scale

The illegal opium trade was profitable to the British traders but did immense physical and moral damage to die Chinese. In 1839, when a Chinese government official seized an opium cargo and destroyed it, Britain declared war and easily defeated the Chinese. The Chinese were then forced to pay heavy damages to the British and to open five port cities to British traders. The Chinese government also agreed that in future, British subjects in these ports would be tried for any crimes in English rather than in Chinese courts. This provision which other Western countries copied, came to be known as extraterritorial rights. The Chinese government was no longer free to impose tariff on foreign goods. The island of Hong Kong was turned over to Britain.

Soon France entered into similar unequal treaties with China. On the pretext that a French missionary had been murdered, England and France fought another war with China was defeated and was forced to grant more privileges to her conquerors

The next important stage in the growth of imperialist control over China came after the war with Japan. This came about when Japan tried to increase her influence over Korea which was under Chinese overlordship. China resented this and the two countries went to war, which ended in victory for Japan China gave Korea her independence and ceded Formosa and other islands to japan. She was also forced to pay Japan heavy war damages amounting to about 150 million dollars.

France, Russia, Britain and Germany gave loans to China to help her to meet this payment. But not for nothing!. These western countries then divided China into spheres of influence, which meant that each country had certain regions of China reserved exclusively for its purposes For example, in its sphere of influence, a country might have the right to build railways or work mines. Germany got Kiaochow Bay and exclusive rights in Shantung and in the Hwang-Flo valley. Russia took Liaotung Peninsula, along with the right to build railroads in Manchuria, France received Kwangchow Bay and extensive rights in three southern provinces of China Britain got Wei-hi-Wei in addition to her sphere of influence in the Yangtze valley

The United States feared that China would be completely parcelled out in exclusive spheres of influence and that its trade with China would be shut off. The United States, therefore, suggested the policy known as the ‘Open Door’. This policy is also described as ‘Me too’ policy According to this policy, all countries would have equal rights to trade anywhere in China Britain supported the United States thinking that this policy would discourage the annexation of China by Japan and Russia, the two countries that could most easily send their armies to the mainland

The scramble for privileges stopped in China after an uprising against the foreign powers known as the Boxer Rebellion. But the foreign powers were victorious and levied heavy damages on China as punishment Imperialism continued, with the cooperation of Chinese warlords. These military commanders were supported by the loans which they got from foreign powers in exchange for more privileges. Though China was not conquered and occupied by any imperialist country, the effects of these developments on China were the same as in areas which had been colonized. In a period of a few decades, China had been reduced to the status of an international colony

The division of China into spheres of influence has often been described as the ‘cutting of the Chinese melon’

Imperialism in South and South-East Asia

South and South-East Asia includes Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka, Malaya, Indonesia, Indo-China,. Thailand and the Philippines Even before the rise of the new imperialism, many of these countries were already dominated by the Europeans Sri Lanka was occupied by the Portuguese, then by the Dutch, and later by the British England introduced tea and rubber plantations, which came to form seven-eighths of Sri Lanka’s exports. The Dutch lost Malaya to the British, Including Singapore, lying at the tip of the Malaya peninsula. The conquest of Malaya and Singapore meant control of all the trade of the Far East that passed through the Straits of Malacca. Indonesia and the surrounding islands were under Dutch control. After 1875, Holland extended her control over a group of islands known as the Moluccas.

The area in South-East Asia once called Indo-China consists of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. When England was fighting China over the opium trade, France was trying to extend her commerce in Indo-China. In a series of planned steps which included threats of war, France became the master of Indo-China and the separate states were grouped together under a French governor-general. . Frequent revolts against French rule followed, but they were suppressed or, as the French said, ‘pacified’

In 1880, the king of Burma gave France the right to build a railway from Tonkin to Mandalay. The French were trying to dominate all of South-East Asia. The British government, fearing French expansion, started a war with Burma. The Burmese king was captured and sent to India Burma was annexed and became a part of Britain’s empire in India in 1886.

Thailand, or Siam, remained an independent state, though sandwiched between the French conquests in Indo-China and of the British in Burma. But France and England exercised much power and authority over its affairs

The United States joined in the race of imperialist expansion in South-East Asia in the late nineteenth century A revolt of the Cubans in the Caribbean against Spanish rule led the United States into a war with

Spain. There was a revolt of the Filipinos against Spanish rule and the United States occupied Cuba and the Philippines. The Filipinos revolted against the American occupation but were suppressed and the Philippines became an American possession. The United States paid 20 million dollars to Spain for the Philippines.

Imperialism in Central and Western Asia

England and Russia were rivals in the struggle to control Central Asia, Iran (Persia), Afghanistan and Tibet. The Russian empire succeeded in annexing almost all of Central Asia in the second half of the nineteenth century. The conflict between England and Russia came to a head over Iran and Afghanistan Besides some minor economic interests in these countries. Britain was mainly concerned about defending her conquests in India against the expansion of Russia in Central Asia. Russia and England set up banks in Iran to obtain economic control. In 1907, England and Russia reached an agreement according to which southern Iran became Britain’s sphere of influence and northern Iran the Russian sphere of influence. The central part of Iran was neutral and open to both Meanwhile, the struggle was on between Britain and Russia for mastery over Afghanistan and Tibet Finally in 1907, Britain and Russia reached an agreement over these two countries and Iran Both powers agreed not to interfere in Tibet Russia agreed to recognize Afghanistan as being outside her influence and Britain agreed not to annex Afghanistan as long as her ruler remained loyal to her. The division of Iran into three zones has already been mentioned. This meant the establishment of joint Anglo-Russian supremacy over Iran. After the Russian Revolution broke out in 1917, the new Soviet government denounced the old Anglo-Russian agreement and gave up her rights in Iran. However, Iran was occupied by British troops

Meanwhile, oil had been found in Iran and British and American oil interests became powerful Iran remained nominally independent but was increasingly under the domination of foreign oil companies — the Standard Oil Company of the United States and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company of England. After the overthrow of the monarchy in China in 1911, Tibet increasingly passed under British influence.

Germany, during these years, was extending her influence over Turkey and the Asian possessions of the Turkish empire. A German company obtained a concession to build a railway from Constantinople to Baghdad and the persian Gulf. Through this railway, Germany hoped to promote her economic interests in this region, and on to Iran and India France, England and Russia opposed this, but an agreement to divide the region was reached between Germany, France and England. The First World War, however, changed the situation. Germany and Turkey, allies in the war, were defeated Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Arabia were taken away from Turkey and they passed under the control of England and France. Thus, Germany as an imperialist nation was completely eliminated from Asia and other parts of the world. Soon, oil and the concessions to control oil resources became the major objectives of the imperialist countries in Western Asia American oil companies, in partnership with England and France, got oil concessions in Arabia

Japan as an Imperialist Power Japan started on her programme of imperialist expansion in the last decade of the nineteenth century Western countries had tried to establish their foothold there. In 1853 American warships under Commodore Perry had, after a show offered, compelled the Japanese to open their country to American shipping and trade. This was followed by similar agreements by Japan with Britain, Holland, France and Russia. However, Japan escaped the experience and fate of other Asian countries. In 1867, after a change in government, known as Meiji Restoration, Japan began to modernize her economy. Within a few decades, she became one of the most industrialized countries of the world But the forces that made many of the Western countries imperialist were also active in the case of Japan, Japan had few raw materials to support her industries. So she looked for lands that had them and for markets to sell her manufactured goods

China provided ample opportunities for Japan’s imperialist designs. You have already read of the war between China and Japan over Korea, in 1894. After this, Japan’s influence in China increased. The Anglo-Japanese Treaty of 1902 recognized her as a power of equal standing with the great European powers. In 1904-5 she defeated Russia. As a result of this war, the southern half of Sakhalin was ceded to Japan. Japan also gained control of the southern part of the Liaotung Peninsula with Port Arthur which was leased to her. In 1910, Korea became a colony of Japan, When the First World War began in 1914, Japan could look back with some pride at her record of the last fifty years. She had become a great power and could expand further at the cost of China if the Western powers would only allow her to do so

However, her own record was, if anything, worse than that of Western imperialists. In fact, Japan’s rise as an imperialist power helped to show that imperialism was not limited to any one people or region Rather, it was the result of greed for economic and political power which could distort the policy of any country regardless of its race or cultural claims.

To sum up, almost all of Asia had been swallowed up by the imperialist countries by the early years of the twentieth century.


You have already read in CHAPTER (Vol. l) about the emergence of civilization and the formation of states, kingdoms and empires in different parts of Africa You have also read about the contacts which African cultures and civilizations had with the rest of the world since ancient times From the time of European explorations in the later part of the fifteenth century, a new phase began in the history of some parts of Africa Besides the establishment of commercial relations with some parts of Africa, this phase was characterized by slave trade As mentioned earlier, till about the last quarter of the nineteenth century, European control over Africa extended over about one-fifth of the territory of the continent. However, within a few years almost the entire continent was partitioned among various European imperialist countries though it took them much longer to establish their actual effective occupation

Slave Trade

The European penetration of Africa from the late fifteenth century onwards was confined for a long time mainly to certain coastal areas However, even these limited contacts led to the most tragic and disastrous consequences for the people of Africa. One of the first results of these contacts was die purchase and sale of people —die slave trade. The Spanish rule in the Americas had resulted in the large-scale extermination of the original inhabitants of the Americas. The Portuguese had established a slave market in Lisbon and the Spaniards bought slaves from there and took them to their colonies in the Americas to work there. African villages were raided by slave traders and people were captured and handed over to the European traders. Earlier, the Arabs had dominated the slave trade. Subsequently, some African chiefs also took part in the slave trade by trading slaves in exchange for firearms which the European traders sold to them. The Europeans themselves also raided the villages and enslaved the people, who were then transported. When the demand tor slaves in America increased, they were sent directly from Africa by the traders.

The trade in African slaves was started by the Portuguese. Soon the English took over. In 1562, Sir John Hawkins, a rich English merchant, who was known to be very religious, went on his first voyage to Africa to bring slaves in a ship called Jesus. The reigning English monarch, Elizabeth I, received a share of the profits that Hawkins made in selling the slaves that he had brought. In the seventeenth century, a regular company received a charter from the King of England for purposes of trade in slaves. Later, Spain gave the monopoly of slave trade with her possessions in America to England. The share of the king in the profits from slave trade was fixed at 25 per cent

Up to about the middle of the nineteenth century this trade continued. Millions of Africans were uprooted from their homes. Many were killed while resisting the raids on their villages by the traders. They were taken in ships as inanimate objects and in such unhygienic conditions that the sailors on the ships often revolted Lakhs of them died during the long journey. It is estimated that not even half of the slaves captured reached America alive. The inhuman conditions under which they were forced to work on the plantations cannot even be imagined today Extreme brutalities were inflicted on those who tried to escape. The person who killed a runaway slave was given a reward by the government. Slavery had become an integral part of the colonial system established by European countries during this period.

By early nineteenth century, trade in slaves lost its importance in the system of colonial exploitation Slavery was also a hindrance if the interior of Africa was to be opened to colonial exploitation. In fact, some colonial powers used the pretext of abolishing slave trade to go to war against African chiefs and kings to expand their territorial possessions. In the meantime, exploration of the interior of Africa had begun and preparations made by the European powers to impose another kind of slavery on the continent of Africa —for the direct conquest of almost entire Africa.

Scramble for Africa

The interior of Africa was almost unknown to the Europeans up to about the middle of the nineteenth century. The coastal regions were largely in the hands of the old trading nations —the Portuguese, the Dutch, the English and the French. They had set up their forts there. There were only two places where the European rule extended deep into the interior. In the north the French had conquered Algeria. In the south the English had occupied Cape Colony to safeguard i at an auction their commerce with India. It had earlier been a Dutch colony where a number of Europeans, mainly the Dutch, had settled. These settlers, known as Boers, had taken to farming. This was the only part of Africa where a large number of Europeans were settled. Within a few years, however, a scramble for colonies began and almost the entire continent had been cut up and divided among European powers.

Explorers, traders and missionaries played their respective roles in the conquest of Africa. The explorers aroused the Europeans’ interest in Africa. The missionaries saw the continent as a place for spreading the message of Christianity. The interests created by explorers and missionaries were soon used by the traders. Western governments supported all these interests by sending troops, and the stage was set for conquest

Even though the European powers met with stiff resistance from the Africans and it took them a long time to establish effective occupation of their colonies, the speed with which die European powers conquered Africa is without a parallel. It is necessary to understand the reasons for this. The external factors have been broadly mentioned in an earlier section of this chapter. The economic might of the imperialist powers was much greater than the economic resources of the African states. The latter did not have the resources to fight a long war. In terms of military strength, the imperialist countries were far more powerful than the African states. The Africans had out dated firearms which had been sold to them by the Europeans. They were no match for the new rifles and guns which the Europeans used. The couplet of an English poet is often quoted to bring out this superiority.

Whatever happens we have got. The maxim-gun and they have not. The Maxim-gun was a fast firing new gun which was used against the Africans who often fought with axes and knives. Politically, like Indian states in the eighteenth century, die African states were not united. There were conflicts between states and within states and the rulers and chiefs often sought the support of the Europeans against their rivals As a result of these conflicts, the boundaries of the African states were often changing As against this, the imperialist countries participating in the scramble for Africa were united. The scramble had created serious rivalries among them. In fact, the scramble to grab the maximum of African territory in the shortest possible time was the result of these rivalries. Many a time during the scramble wars between these countries was imminent. But in every case, war was avoided and agreements reached between them as to who will get which part of

Africa. For example, the Anglo-German rivalries in East Africa were resolved in 1890 when Germany agreed to concede Uganda to Britain in exchange for Britain giving away Holland to Germany. In 1884-85, there was a Congress in Berlin where a group of European states met and discussed how to share out Africa among themselves No African state was represented at this Congress. Treaties were signed between European powers to settle disputes over claims to African territories between themselves Treaties were also signed between African rulers and chiefs, and the representatives of European governments or European companies and individuals which were later sanctioned by their respective governments. These treaties were often fraudulent and bogus. In the cases where these were genuine, they were misrepresented in negotiations with other European countries and the wrong interpretations put on them were recognized by other European powers For example, if an African ruler signed a treaty with a European country to seek the latter’s support against a rival, that European country in seeking approval of other European countries interpreted it to mean that the African ruler had agreed to make his state a ‘protectorate’ of that European country. This interpretation was then accepted by other European powers and the process of occupation began without any hindrance from them. In this way, the partition of Africa was nearly completed by the end of the nineteenth century. This position is generally referred to as ‘paper partition’ as, the actual partition took much longer and was accomplished by the use of the superior military might of the European powers to suppress the resistance by the Africans A look at the map of Africa after partition will show how the continent of Africa was partitioned on paper in conference rooms in Europe About thirty per cent of all boundaries in Africa are in straight lines

It will be easier to understand the conquest of Africa by European powers if we study it region by region. We must remember, however, that occupation did not take place in the order described here West and Central Africa.

In 1878, with the financial assistance of King Leopold II of Belgium, H M. Stanley found fed the International Congo Association which made over 400 treaties with African chiefs. They did not understand that by placing their ‘marks’ on bits of paper they were transferring their land to the Congo Association in exchange for cloth or other articles of no great value Stanley acquired large tracts of land by these methods. In 1885 some 2. 3 million square kilometres, rich in rubber and ivory, became the’ Congo Free State with Leopold as its king.

Stanley called the occupation of Congo (the present Zaire)’ a unique humanitarian and political enterprise, but it began with brutal exploitation of the Congo people. They were forced to collect rubber and ivory Leopold alone is said to have made a profit of over 20 million dollars. The treatment of the Congolese people was so bad that even other colonial powers were shocked To give an example of the brutality, soldiers of the Congo Free State chopped off the hands of the defiant villagers and brought them as souvenirs. In 1908, Leopold was compelled to hand over the Congo Free State to the Belgian government, and it became known as Belgian Congo

Gradually, Congo’s gold, diamond uranium, timber and copper became more important than her rubber and ivory. Many of the countries, including England and the United States, joined Belgium in exploiting these resources. The company which controlled the copper resources of Katanga province (present Shaba) was one of the biggest copper companies in the world. This company, jointly owned by English and Belgian interests, played a very big role in Congo’s political affairs. The control over the Niger meant the control over the land with rich resources. The British had occupied a part of this region called Nigeria, to get slaves for export to their plantations in America. The British company took the initiative in the conquest of Nigeria for a time there was a sharp rivalry with a French company, but in the end the British company was able to buy out the French and became the ruler of Nigeria After a few years the British government declared Nigeria a protectorate of Britain. In West Africa, Britain also occupied Gambia, Ashanti, Gold Coast and Sierra Leone

When Stanley was carving out the empire for King Leopold in Congo, a FrenChinan, de Brazza, was active north of the Congo river Following the methods of Stanley, de Brazza won the area for France, this area became what was until recently called the French Congo with its capital town named Brazzaville, after de Brazza. On Africa’s west coast, Senegal and been occupied by France earlier Now France set out to extend her empire in West Africa. Soon she obtained Dahomey (present Benin), the Ivory Coast and French Guinea By the year 1900, the French empire extended further into the interior. More territories were added to the West African conquests after 1900 and French West Africa came to include present Senegal, French Guinea, the Ivory Coast, Dahomey, Mauritania, French Sudan, Upper Volta and Niger Territory. The French conquest resulted in brutal exploitation of the people everywhere in Africa For example, in a period of only 20 years; the population of the French Congo was reduced to one third of its former size.

After 1880, Germany also got very interested in possessions in Africa First she occupied an area called Togoland on the west coast; soon after, the Cameroons, a little farther south. Still farther south, the Germans established themselves in South-West Africa where, to suppress local rebels, more than half of the population was exterminated. But these conquests did not satisfy Germany; she wanted the Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique and Congo for herself Before the First World War started, England and Germany agreed to partition Angola and Mozambique between themselves, but the war shattered Germany’s dreams. After the war, when the German colonies were given to the victorious powers, Togoland and the Cameroons were divided between England and France, and German South-West Africa was given to South Africa

Spain had only two colonies on the western coast of Africa —Rio de Oro (Spanish Sahara) and Spanish Guinea. Portugal possessed valuable regions of Angola and Portuguese Guinea. Thus, with the exception of Liberia, the whole of West Africa was divided up among the Europeans Liberia was settled by slaves who had been freed in America. Though she remained independent, she came increasingly under the influence of the United States, particularly the American investors in rubber plantations.

South Africa

In south Africa, the Dutch had established the Cape Colony, which the British took over in the early nineteenth century. The Dutch settlers, known as Boers, then went north and set up two states, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. By 1850 both these states were ruled by the Boers

The English adventurer, Cecil Rhodes, came to south Africa in 1870, made a fortune in mining diamond and gold of this region and gave his name to an African colony Rhodesia. (Northern Rhodesia is now independent and is called Zambia. Southern Rhodesia which became an independent nation in April 1980 is Zimbabwe. ) Rhodes became famous as a great philanthropist who founded the ‘Rhodes scholarships’, but he was first of all a profiteer and empire-builder. ‘Pure philanthropy’ , he said is very well in its way, but philanthropy plus five per cent is a good deal better’ Rhodes’ dream was to extend the British rule throughout the world, and he certainly succeeded in extending the British empire in Africa. The British occupied Bechuanaland, Rhodesia, Swaziland and Basutoland. They plotted the overthrow of the Boer government of Transvaal which was rich in gold. This led to the Boer War (1899-1902) in which the Boers were defeated though they continued to remain there.

Soon after this, the Union of South Africa was formed consisting of the Cape, Natal, Transvaal and Orange River Colony. This Union was ruled by the white minority —Boers, Englishmen, and a few settlers from other European countries. The South African government later declared itself a republic.

East Africa

Except for the Portuguese possession of a part of Mozambique, East Africa had not been occupied by any European power before 1884. In that year a German adventurer, named Karl Peters, came to the coastal region. Using bribery and threats, he persuaded some rulers to sign agreements placing themselves under German protection Since France and Britain also had plans in this area, an agreement was signed by which France got Madagascar, and East Africa was divided between Germany and England. The ruler of Zanzibar who claimed East Africa as his property got a strip of coast land, 1600 kilometres long and 16 kilometres deep. The Northern half of this strip was reorganized as a British sphere of influence, and the southern part Tanganyika, a German sphere of influence. These were later occupied by England and Germany. But the Africans rose in revolt again and again because the Germans had taken land from them without making any payment. During a rebellion in 1905 120 000 Africans were killed in tins German colony. In 1890, there was an agreement between Germany and England according to which Uganda was ‘reserved’ for England. In exchange Germany was given Heligoland. In 1896, Uganda was declared a British protectorate Germany also gave up her claims to Zanzibar and Pembais land, Witu and Nyasaland (present Malawi), but made more conquests in the interior. The Portuguese colony of Mozambique was to be shared out between Germany and England, but the First World War stopped the plan and Germany lost all her colonies. German East Africa was given to England after the war and was renamed Tanganyika. (Tanganyika and Zanzibar now form the republic of Tanzania) British East Africa was renamed Kenya. The German possession of Ruanda and Burundi was given to Belgium

Like Germany, Italy entered the colonial race late. The Italians occupied two desert areas in what is called the ‘horn of Africa’ —Somaliland and Eritrea. The country of Abyssinia, now known as Ethiopia, was an independent state. Italy wanted to declare Abyssinia its protectorate and invaded her. The king of Abyssinia rejected Italy’s claim and in 1896 defeated the Italian invading army. Unlike other African states, Abyssinia had been able to get arms from France. This historic battle in which an African state had defeated a European state’s army is known as the Battle of Adowa So the Italians had to withdraw Italy made another attempt to conquer Abyssinia in 1935, before the Second World War Except for a brief period during those years, Ethiopia, except Eritrea, was able to maintain her independence

North Africa

Algeria, on the north coast of Africa, was conquered by France in 1830, but it took her about 40 years to suppress the Algerian resistance. It was the most profitable of France’s colonial possessions, providing her a vast market for French goods To the east of Algeria is Tunisia which was coveted by France, England and Italy According to an agreement in 1878, England gave France a free hand in Tunisia in return for British occupation of the island of Cyprus, and a few years later Tunisia became a French possession.

Morocco is situated on the north coast of Africa, just south of Gibraltar. Thus it is very important to the western entrance of the Mediterranean Both France and Italy wanted to claim it as their territory. The two countries agreed, in 1900, to the French occupation of Morocco and to the Italian occupation of Tripoli and Cyrenaica, to the east of Tunisia. In 1904, France and England signed an agreement which gave Morocco to France, and Egypt to England. After these agreements had been signed, France proceeded with her plans of conquest of Morocco

Germany had been ignored when England, France and Italy were signing agreements to partition North Africa She threatened to oppose the French occupation Spain had been promised Tangier in return for French occupation of Morocco. So it became necessary to appease German ambitions in North Africa. There were many international crises and it appeared as if war would breakout. The German Foreign Minister said, “You have bought your liberty in Morocco from Spain, England, and even from Italy, and you have left us out. ” But who should occupy Morocco was decided, as in other cases, in Europe. The people of Morocco were-never consulted. Ultimately, France agreed to give Germany 250 000 square kilometers of French Congo. Spain was further appeased by giving her a small part of Morocco. In 1912 France established her protectorate over Morocco. However, it took the French many years after the First World War to suppress the rebellions there.

As you have seen earlier, Italy had assured herself the support of European nations in her claims over Tripoli and Cyrenaica, which were the possessions of the Turkish empire Italy then declared War against Turkey and occupied the two provinces, which were given the old Roman name of Libya

Egypt was a province of the Turkish Empire when the scramble for colonies began in the nineteenth century. It was ruled by a representative of the Turkish Sultan, called Pasha Since the time of Napoleon

France had been interested in Egypt A French company had gamed a concession from Ismail Pasha, the Governor of Egypt, to dig a canal across the isthmus of Suez. The canal was completed in 1869 and aroused British interest in the area Disraeli, the British Prime Minister, bought a large number of shares of the canal from the Pasha to make sure of keeping the route to India safe. The canal was described by Disraeli as ‘a highway to our Indian empire’

The financial troubles of the Pasha led to increased joint Anglo-French control over Egypt When the Pasha tried to resist, he was forced to abdicate and a new governor was appointed. In 1882, there was a revolt against the Anglo-French control and, in suppressing the revolt, the British armies conquered Egypt Restoration of law and order and protection of the Suez Canal were the reasons given for the military intervention in Egypt England announced {hat she would withdraw her troops as soon as order was restored After the revolt was suppressed, Egypt came under British control. In 1914, when the First World War started, England announced that Egypt was no longer a Turkish province but a British protectorate. The Egyptians never reconciled themselves to the British conquest. After the war was over, leaders of Egypt started for the Paris Peace Conference to plead die case of Egypt, but they were arrested. In 1922, though she still retained her rights over the Suez and many other concessions, Britain was forced to recognize Egypt as an independent sovereign state

Sudan, or what was earlier known as Egyptian Sudan, was jointly exploited by Egypt and Britain. A Sudanese leader who had proclaimed himself the Mahdi had in the 1880s succeeded in overthrowing Egyptian and British control over Sudan His army had defeated Egyptian and British troops. In 1898 British and Egyptian troops succeeded in recapturing Sudan after a long and bloody war in which 20 000 Sudanese troops, including the successor of the Mahdi, were killed, Sudan came under British rule. The French at this time tried to occupy southern parts of Sudan but were forced to withdraw by the British France, however, was given a free hand to extender control over what was known as western Sudan and the Sahara France occupied these areas after a long war of conquest. With these gains, France was able to connect her equatorial conquests with her west and north African conquests


You have already read about the colonization of the Americas by Spain, Portugal, Britain, France and other European countries, and the emergence of the United States of America as an independent nation. The freedom movements in some of the countries of South America and the Caribbean have also been briefly mentioned. By 1820s; almost all countries of the Americas had gained their independence from Spain and Portugal. Only a few colonies ruled by European countries were left in this part of the world. Among these were Cuba and Puerto Rico which were still under Spanish rule and a few others under British, French, Dutch and Danish rule. The United States in the nineteenth century emerged as the biggest power in the Americas. She had extended her territories through war with Mexico and purchase of Louisiana Florida and Alaska from France, Spain and Russia, respectively. Within a short period after the Civil War (1861-65) which ended in the abolition of slavery, the United States emerged as a major industrial and military power in the world. By 1900, her naval strength was third in the world. The forces that had led to the emergence of imperialism in Europe and later in Japan also led to the emergence of the United States as a major imperialist power by the later half of the nineteenth century You have already read about the treaty which the United States signed with China in 1844 on the lines which some European countries had forced on China after the Opium War Commodore Perry’s show of force in Japan in 1853 has also been mentioned After the U S. Spanish War, the Philippines had become a U. S, colony. USA, had also taken Puerto Rico and’ Guam (in the Pacific) from Spain, and Cuba, though independent in name, had in fact become an appendage of U S A

When the scramble for colonies began, the leaders of U S A declared that she must not fall out of the line of march. They also claimed, like the European imperialist countries, the right to ‘civilize’ the backward countries of the world and, of course, to interfere in the affairs of other countries to protect their markets and investments During the period from the 1890s to the early years of the twentieth century, the United States spread its control, direct and indirect, over South America and the Pacific. In 1823, the President of the United States had proclaimed the Monroe Doctrine which warned the European powers against any attempt to extend their power in the Western^ Hemisphere. In 1895, the Monroe Doctrine was given a new meaning. There was a territorial dispute between British Guiana (now Guyana) and Nicaragua, and the British threatened to send troops against Nicaragua. The U S government forced Britain not to send her troops and declared drat “Today the United States is practically sovereign on this Continent”. A new corollary was added to the Monroe Doctrine in 1904 by the then U. S. President,. Theodore Roosevelt Britain and Germany had imposed a naval blockade of Venezuela as she had failed to repay the loan which she had taken from them. Theodore Roosevelt forced Britain and Germany to lift the blockade and declared that the United States alone had the right to intervene in the affairs of her neighbouring countries if they were unable to maintain order on their own. The United States took control of the finances of the Dominican Republic which she retained for three decades and occupied that country in 1916 for eight years. In 1906, American troops were sent to Cuba and remained there for three years to ‘protect’ Cuba from disorder. In 1909, American troops were sent to Nicaragua in support of a revolt which had been inspired by an American mining company. The United States secured from the government which had been installed there the right to intervene in that country to protect American interests. In 1915, American troops were sent to Haiti and remained there till 1934. In Mexico, where the United States had huge investments, Fransisco Madero, a popular leader was deposed with the support of the United States. The intervention by the United States in Mexico continued for many years the policy of the United States was described as the ‘Big Stick’ policy and one of an ‘international policeman’. The extension of the U S influence through economic investments in the region is known as the ‘Dollar diplomacy’. The economic and political domination of South America was facilitated by the absence of strong governments in the countries of South America. Many of these countries were ruled by caudillos or crude and corrupt military leaders with armed gangs. They floated loans for ready cash and sold concessions to foreign companies to exploit the natural resources of their countries. They served as markets for manufactures, and sources of raw materials for industrialized countries, particularly the United States, as well as avenues for investment of capital from these countries. Most of the countries of South America, though politically independent, came under the economic and political control of the United States One of the major acquisitions by the United States in this period was the Panama Canal. A French company had started the construction of the canal in the isthmus of Panama in Colombia (Central America). The canal which would link the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans was of great economic interest. In 1901, the United States decided to undertake the canal project alone. She paid $ 40 million to the French company and entered into an agreement with the government of Colombia. According to the agreement, Colombia was to give United States perpetual rights to canal zone across her territory in exchange for ten million dollars per $ 250000 as annual rent. The agreement was completely against the interests of Colombia and Colombia’s Parliament refused to ratify it. In 1903, the United State financed and organized a revolt in Panama and landed her troops there Soon after, United States recognized Panama as independent state. The government Panama signed a new agreement with United States according to which amount of compensation remained same but instead of the six-mile wide Canal Zone, ten-mile canal zone was grantee the United States. The canal was opened in 1914 and the canal zone remained under the occupation of the United States since then.

The United States also extended control in the Pacific during this period. The islands of Hawaii had been import for American shipping and for trade w China. The United States’ economic and commercial influence gradually increased in these islands and with the settling Americans there, particularly as planters, these islands became closely I to the economy of the United States United States had secured the exclude use of Pearl Harbor as a naval station 1893, the American residents in the Hawaii islands revolted against the queen Hawaii and asked for the annexation of islands by the United States. Later Hawaii had been annexed by the United States. Later, it became one of the states of the United States

The United States also extended control over other islands in Pacific Ocean. There was rivalry among the US, Britain and Germany over these islands. In 1899, Germany and States divided these islands between themselves.

By 1914, almost all parts of the world had come under direct or indirect control of a few countries. Most countries of Africa had lost their political freedom. They were ruled by one or other country. The economies of all these as well as of those which politically independent were control imperialist countries to serve rests. All parts of the world came together under a world economy which was based on the exploitation of colonies. Since 1946, most Asian colonies have become free and independent You will read about this later. But the effects of imperialism on life of the people in these countries were evident.

The most important and consequence of imperialism and colonialism was the economic backwardness of countries directly or indirectly controlled by these countries. Imperialism led to ruin of local industries in these countries. For example, India for centuries was an exporter of textiles. During imperialist rule, India’s indigenous industry was destroyed and it became importer of British cloth. The natural resources of the colonies came under the control of the imperialist countries and were exploited for their own benefit. The industrialization of these countries was prevented. Where industries were started, these were subordinated to the interests of the industries of the imperialist countries or for making profits for the companies of the imperialist countries. The modern industries in the colonies had little impact on the life of the people there. The patterns of agriculture in the colonies were also changed to meet the requirements of the industries of the imperialist countries. In some countries, the entire agriculture was reduced to the growing of one or two crops For example, Cuba was reduced to the position of a sugar-producing country and little else. There was also naked plunder of natural resources, and exploitation through high demands of revenues and taxes. Some of the best lands in the colonies were taken over by the European planters Imperialism further aggravated the economic backwardness of the non-industrialized countries of the world. The subordination of the economics of these areas to those of the imperialist countries was so complete that even after political independence, most of these countries found it difficult to develop their economics to suit their own interests. The impoverishment of the people of the colonies and of other non-industrialized countries is a continuing consequence of imperialism.

Imperialism also bred racial arrogance and discrimination. The idea of the superiority of the white race whom God had created to govern the world, was popularized in the imperialist countries. In their colonies, the white rulers and settlers discriminated against the local inhabitants who were considered inferior to them. In most European colonies, there was no intermixing with the local population and the Europeans lived in areas exclusively reserved for them. The worst example of racism was South Africa where intermixing of whites and blacks was made a criminal offence. It is interesting to know that when Japan emerged as an imperialist power, the Japanese were excluded from being branded as belonging to an inferior race. In fact, South Africa gave the Japanese the status of what they called ‘honorary whites’

Struggle Against Imperialism

At every step, the imperialist powers met with the resistance of peoples they were trying to enslave Even when the conquest by arms was decisive, foreign rule that ensued was never peaceful for the rulers. The conquered peoples organized movements not merely to overthrow foreign rule but also to develop their countries into modern nations. In a sense, these movements against imperialism were international in character People striving for freedom in one country supported the cause of peoples in other countries.

Generally speaking, the imperialist countries retained their colonial possessions up to the Second World War But within two decades after the end of the War, most of the countries succeeded in regaining their independence

Most of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth century were the years in which the nations of the western world held Asia and Africa as their colonial possessions. In the later years of this period of imperialism about two-thirds of the world’s population was living under the rule of one foreign government or the other. The empires acquired by the European nations were the largest in world history

Imperialism is a story of deception, brutality, and armed might. The imperialist powers, however, justified their enslavement of other nations and peoples in the name of ‘spreading civilization’

Chapter 4. The First World War

IN 1914, a war began in Europe which soon engulfed almost the entire world. The damage caused by this war had no precedent in history. The war began in 1914 was a total war in which all the resources of the warring states were mobilized. It affected the economy of the entire world. The casualties suffered by the civilian population from bombing of the civilian areas and the famines and epidemics caused by the war far exceeded those suffered by the armies. In its impact also, the war had no precedent. It marked a turning point in world history. The battles of the war were fought in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific. Because of the unprecedented extent of its spread and its total nature, it is known as the First World War

Imperialist Rivalries.

The underlying causes of the war were the rivalries and conflicts among the imperialist countries. The imperialist conquest of Asia and Africa was accompanied with conflicts between the imperialist countries. Sometimes the imperialists were able to come to peaceful settlements and agree to divide a part of Asia or Africa among themselves without resorting to the use of force against each other. At other tunes their rivalries created situations of war. Wars were generally avoided at that time because the possibilities of further conquest were still there. If an imperialist country was excluded from a certain area, it could find some other area to conquer. Sometimes wars did break out between imperialist countries as happened, for instance, between Japan and Russia By the end of the nineteenth century; however, the situation had changed. Most of Asia and Africa 1 tad already been divided up and further conquests could take place only by dispossessing some imperialist country of i ts colonies So in the period beginning from the last decade of the nineteenth century, imperialist rivalries resulted in attempts to redivide the world creating conditions of war You have read before that Germany entered the scramble for colonies late After the unification of Germany had been achieved, it made tremendous economic progress By 1914, it had left Britain and France far behind in the production of iron and steel and in many manufactures,. It had entered the shipping trade in a big way One of its ships, the Imperator, built in 1912, was the largest in the world Both Britain and France were alarmed a t the expansion of German manufactures as they considered it a serious threat to their position. You have seen that Germany could not grab many colonies, having arrived late on the scene Most of Asia and Africa had already been occupied by the older imperialist powers. The German imperialists, therefore, dreamed of expanding in the east. Their ambition was to control the economy of the declining Ottoman empire. For this purpose, they had planned the construction of a railway from Berlin to Baghdad. This plan created a fear in Britain, France and Russia as the completion of the Berlin-Baghdad railway would endanger their imperialist ambitions in the Ottoman empire. The Germans had imperialist ambitions elsewhere also, including in Africa

Like Germany, all the major powers in Europe, and Japan also had their imperialist ambitions. Italy, which after her unification had become almost an equal of France in power, coveted Tripoli in North Africa which was under the Ottoman empire She had already occupied Eritrea and Somaliland. France wanted to add Morocco to her conquests in Africa. Russia had her ambitions in Iran, the territories of the Ottoman empire including Constantinople, the Far East and elsewhere. The Russian plans clashed with the interests and ambitions of Britain, Germany and Austria. Japan which had also become an imperialist power had ambitions in the Far East and was on way to fulfilling them. She defeated Russia in 1904-05 after having signed an agreement with Britain and was able to extend her influence in the Far East.

Britain was involved in a conflict with all other imperialist countries because she had already acquired a vast empire which was to be defended. The rise of any other country was considered a danger to the British empire. She also had her vast international trade to defend against the competition from other countries, and to maintain her control over what she considered the lifeline other empire. Austria had her ambitions in the Ottoman empire. The United States of America had emerged as a powerful nation by the end of the nineteenth century She had annexed the Philippines Her main interest was to preserve the independence of trade as her trade was expanding at a tremendous rate. The expansion of other major powers influence was considered a threat to American interests

Conflicts within Europe

Besides the conflicts resulting from rivalries over colonies and trade, there were conflicts among the major European powers over certain developments within Europe. There were six major powers in Europe at tins time—Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, France and Italy. One of the questions with which almost all these countries got involved concerned the countries comprising the Balkan peninsula in Europe. The Balkan countries had been under the rule of Ottoman Turks However, in the nineteenth century, the Ottoman rule had begun to collapse. There were revolts by various nationalities for independence. The Russian Czars hoped that these areas would come under their control once the Ottomans were ousted from there. They encouraged a movement called the Pan-Slav movement which was based on the theory that all the Slavs of eastern Europe were one people Many areas in Austria-Hungary were inhabited by the Slavs Russia, therefore, encouraged movements both against the Ottoman empire and Austria-Hungary. The major Balkan country, Serbia, led the movement for uniting the areas inhabited by the Slavs in the Ottoman empire as well as in Austria-Hungary. The Serbian nationalism was encouraged by Russia. Other major European powers were alarmed at the growth of Russian influence in the Balkans. They wanted to check the Russian influence, while Austria-Hungary had plans of expansion in this area

Corresponding to the Pan-Slav movement, there was a Pan-German movement which aimed at the expansion of Germany all over central Europe and in the Balkans Italy claimed certain areas which were under Austrian rule. France hoped to recover not only Alsace-Lorraine which she had lost to Germany in 1871 but also to wreak vengeance on Germany for the humiliating defeat that she had suffered in the war with Germany in 1870-71 .

Formation of Alliances

The conflicts within Europe and the conflicts over colonies mentioned earlier had begun to create a very tense situation in Europe from the last decade of the nineteenth century European countries began to form themselves into opposing groups. They also started spending vast sums of money to increase the size of their armies and navies, to develop new and more deadly weapons, and to generally prepare themselves for war, Europe was gradually becoming a vast armed camp Simultaneously, propaganda for war, to breed hatred against other countries, to paint one’s own country as superior to others, and to glorify war, was started in each country. There were, of course, people who raised their voice against the danger of war and against militarization. You have read of the attitude of the Second International and the various socialist parties. But soon all these voices were to be drowned in the drumbeats of war

The opposing groups of countries of alliances that were formed in Europe not only added to the danger of war, but also made it inevitable that when the war broke out it would assume a worldwide magnitude European countries had been forming and reforming alliances since the nineteenth century. Finally, in the first decade of the twentieth century, two groups of countries or alliances, emerged and faced each other with their armed might. In 1882 was formed the Triple Alliance comprising Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy However, Italy’s loyalty to this Alliance was uncertain as her mam aim was to gain territories in Europe from Austria-Hungary and in conquering Tripoli with French support As opposed to this, emerged the Triple Entente comprising France, Russia and Britain in 1907. In theory it was only a loose group based on mutual understanding as the word Entente (meaning an understanding indicates. The emergence of these two hostile camps made it inevitable that a conflict involving any one of these countries would become an all-European war as the aims of the countries in these camps included the extension of their colonial possessions, an all-European war almost certainly would become a world war. The formation of these hostile camps was accompanied with a race to build more and more deadly weapons and have larger and larger armies and navies

A series of crises took place during the years preceding the war. These crises added to the bitterness and tension in Europe and engendered national chauvinism European countries also entered into secret treaties to gam territories at tine expense of others. Often, these secret treaties leaked out and tear and suspicion grew in each country about such treaties. These fears and suspicions brought the danger of war near

Incidents Preceding the War.

The outbreak of the war was preceded by a series of incidents which added to the prevailing tension and ultimately led to the war. One of these was the dash over Morocco. In 1904 Britain and France had entered into a secret agreement according to which Britain was to have a free hand in Egypt, and France was to take over Morocco. The agreement became known to Germany and aroused her indignation. The German emperor went to Morocco and promised the Sultan of Morocco his full support for the independence of Morocco. The antagonism over Morocco, it appeared, would lead to a war. However, the war was averted when in 1911 France occupied most of Morocco and, in exchange, gave Germany a part of French Congo. Even though the war had been averted, the situation in Europe, with every country preparing for war, had become dangerous. The other incidents which worsened the already dangerous situation in Europe occurred in the Balkans. In 1908 Austria annexed the Ottoman provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. These provinces were also coveted by Serbia which had the backing of Russia in establishing a united Slav state in the Balkans. Russia threatened to start a war against Austrian annexation but Germany’s open support to Austria compelled Russia to retreat. The incident, however, not only embittered feelings in Serbia but also created further enmity between Russia and Germany. The situation in Europe had become even tenser.

The crisis resulting from the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria was followed by Balkan wars. In 1912, four Balkan countries —Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece —started a war against the Turks. As a result of this war, Turkey lost almost all her possessions in Europe However, the Balkan countries fought another war over the question of distributing the former Turkish territory among themselves, Finally, Austria succeeded in making Albania, which had been claimed by Serbia, as an independent state. The frustration of Serbia’s ambitions further embittered her feelings against Austria. These incidents brought Europeon the verge of war

The Outbreak of War

The war was precipitated by an incident which would not have created much stir if Europe had not stood divided into two hostile armed camps, preparing for war for many years On 28 June 1914 Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was assassinated at Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia. (Bosnia, it may be recalled, had been annexed by Austria only a few years earlier) Austria saw the hand of Serbia behind the assassination and served her with an ultimatum Serbia refused to accept one of the demands of the ultimatum which went against the independence of Serbia On 28July 1914 Austria declared war on Serbia. Russia had promised full support to Serbia and started full scale preparations for war On 1 August, Germany declared war on Russia and on 3 August on France. German troops marched into Belgium to press on to France on 4 August and on the same day Britain declared War on Germany

Many other countries soon entered the war. Japan declared war on Germany with a view to capturing German colonies in the Far East, Turkey and Bulgaria joined on the side of Germany Italy, in spite of her membership of the Triple Alliance, remained neutral for some time, and joined the war against Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1915.

The Course of the War

Germany had hoped that through a lightning stoke through Belgium, she would be able to defeat France within a few weeks and then turn against Russia. The plan seemed to succeed for a while and the German troops were within20 km of Pans. Russia had opened attacks on Germany and Austria and some German troops had to be diverted to the eastern front Soon the German advance on France was halted and the war in Europe entered a long period of stalemate. In the meantime the war had spread to many other parts of the world and battles were fought in West Asia, Africa and the Far East

After the German advance had been halted, a new type of warfare developed. The warring armies dug trenches from which they conducted raids on each other. The kind of warfare that the armies were used to earlier — fighting in the open almost disappeared. On the Western Front, which included eastern France and Belgium, the troops of the warring sides dug trenches and continued their raids on each other’s positions. For about four years, neither side could dislodge the other. The European countries made use of the troops recruited from their colonies in the war Labour from colonies was also used to dig trenches in Europe On the Eastern Front, Germany and Austria succeeded in repulsing the Russian attack and capturing parts of the Russian empire. They were also successful against Rumania, Serbia and Italy. Outside Europe, there were campaigns against the Ottoman empire in Palestine, Mesopotamia and Arabia and against Germany and Turkey in Iran where they were trying to establish their influence Japan occupied German possessions in East Asia, and Britain and France seized most of the German colonies in Africa

A large number of new weapons were introduced. The machine gun and liquid fire were two such weapons. For the first time, aircrafts were used in warfare and for bombing the civilian population. The British introduced the use of the tank which was to become a major weapon later. Both the warring groups tried to block each other’s supplies of food, manufactures and arms and the sea warfare played an important part in this Submarines called U-boats were used by Germany on a large scale not only to destroy enemy ships but also ships of neutral countries heading for British ports Another horrible weapon used in the war was poison gas. The war dragged on, taking a toll of hundreds of thousands of human lives. On 6 April 1917, the United States of America declared war on Germany USA had become the main source of arms and other essential supplies for the Entente countries. In 1915, the German U-Boats had sunk a British ship Lusitania. Among the 1153 passengers killed were 128 Americans. Tire Americans were generally sympathetic to Britain, and this incident further roused anti-German feelings in USA. Economic considerations had turned them even more in favour of the Entente countries. These countries had raised vast amounts of loans in USA to pay for the arms and other goods bought by them Many Americans had subscribed to these loans which could be paid back only, if these countries won the war. There was also a fear that if Germany won the war, she would become a serious rival to USA. The sinking of ships, including American ships carrying American citizens, by the German U-boats finally led USA to join the war

Another major development that took place in 1917 was the withdrawal of Russia from the war after October Revolution. The Russian revolutionaries had opposed the war from the beginning and, under the leadership of Lenin, had decided to transforms into a revolutionary war to ovethrow the Russian autocracy and to seize power. The Russian empire had suffered serious reverses in the war Over 600 000 Russian soldiers had been killed. The day after the Bolshevik government came to power, it issued the Decree on Peace with proposals to end the war without any annexations and indemnities. Russia decided to withdraw from the war and signed a peace treaty with Germany in March 1918. Realizing that the Russian government was not prepared to continue the war, Germany imposed terms which were very harsh on Russia But the Russian government accepted these terms. The Entente powers which were opposed to the revolution in Russia and to the Russian withdrawal from the war started their armed intervention in Russia in support of the elements which were opposed to the revolution. This led to a civil war which lasted for three years and ended with the defeat of foreign intervention and of those Russians who had taken up arms against the revolutionary government

End of the War

Many efforts were made to bring the war to an end in early 1917, a few socialist parties proposed the convening of an international socialist conference to draft proposals for ending the war without annexations and recognition of the right of peoples to self-determination. However, the conference could not be held. The proposal of the Bolshevik government in Russia to conclude a peace “without annexations and indemnities, on the basis of the self-determination of peoples” was welcomed by many people in the countries which were at war. However, these proposals were rejected. The Pope also made proposals for peace but these too were not taken seriously. Though these efforts to end the war did not get any positive response from the governments of the warring countries, anti-war feelings grew among the people. There was widespread unrest and disturbances and even mutinies began to break out. In some countries, following the success of the Russian Revolution, the unrest was soon to take the form of uprisings to overthrow the governments

In January 1918, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, proposed a peace programme. This has become famous as President Wilson’s Fourteen Points. These included the conduct of negotiations between states openly, freedom of navigation, reduction of armaments, independence of Belgium, restoration of Alsace-Lorraine to France, creation of independent states in Europe, formation of an international organization to guarantee the independence of all states, etc. Some of these points were accepted when the peace treaties were signed at the end of the war Britain, France and USA launched a military offensive in July 1918 and Germany and her allies began to collapse. Bulgaria withdrew from the war in September, and Turkey surrendered in October. Political discontent had been rising in Austria Hungary and Germany. The emperor of Austria-Hungary surrendered on 3 November. In Germany revolution broke out. Germany became a republic and the German emperor Kaiser William II fled to Holland. The new German government signed an armistice on 11 November 1918 and the war was over. The news was received with tremendous jubilation all over the world

Peace Treaties

The victorious powers or the Allies, as they were called, met in a conference first in Versailles, a suburb of Paris, and later in Pans, between January and June 1919. Though the number of countries represented at the conference was 27, the terms of the peace treaties were really decided by three countries Britain, France and USA. The three persons who played the determining role in framing the terms of the treaties were Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, Lloyd George, Prime Minister of Britain, and George Clemenceau, Prime Minister of France. The defeated countries were not represented at the conference. The victorious powers also excluded Russia from the conference. The terms of the treaty were thus not the result of negotiations between the defeated and the victorious powers but were imposed on the defeated by tf)e victors

The mam treaty was signed with Germany on 28 June 1919. It is called the Treaty of Versailles. The republican government of Germany was compelled to sign this treaty under the threat of invasion. The treaty declared Germany and her allies guilty of aggression Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France. The coal mines in the German area called Saar were ceded to France for 15 years while that area was to be governed by the League of Nations. Germany also ceded parts of her pre-war territory to Denmark, Belgium, Poland and Czechoslovakia. The area of the Rhine valley was to be demilitarized. The treaty also contained provisions for disarming Germany. The strength of her army was to be limited to 100 000 and she was required not to have any air force and submarines She was dispossessed of all her colonies which were taken over by the victors. Togo and the Cameroon were divided and shared by Britain and France German colonies in South-West Africa and East Africa were given to Britain, Belgium, South Africa and Portugal German colonies in the Pacific and the spheres under her control in China were given to Japan China was aligned with the Allies during the war and was even represented at the Paris Conference But her areas under German possession of control were not restored to China, instead they were given away to Japan Germany was also required to pay for the loss and damages suffered by the Allies during the war. The amount of reparations was fixed at an enormous figure of C 6 600 000 000. Separate treaties were signed with the allies of Germany Austria-Hungary was broken up and Austria was required to recognize the independence of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Poland She had to cede territories to them and to Italy Many changes were made in the Balkans where new states were created and transfers of territories from one state to another took place Baltic states which earlier formed parts of the Russian empire were made independent. The treaty with Turkey stipulated the complete dismemberment of the Ottoman empire. Britain was given Palestine and Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Syria went to France as what were called mandates. In theory, the mandatory powers, that is Britain and France, were to look after the interests of the people of the mandates but actually they were governed as colonies Most of the remaining Turkish territories were to be given to Greece and Italy and Turkey was to be reduced to a very small state. However, there was a revolution in Turkey under the leadership of Mustapha Kemal. The Sultan was deposed and Turkey was proclaimed a republic in 1922, Turkey regained control of Asia Minor and die city of Constantinople (Istanbul) and the Allies were forced to abandon the earlier treaty

An important part of die peace treaties was the Covenant of the League of Nations Wilson’s Fourteen Points included die creation of an international organisation for the preservation of peace and to guarantee the independence of all states. The League of Nations was created. It was intended as a world organization of all independent states. It aimed at the preservation of peace and security and peaceful settlement of international conflicts, and bound its members not to resort to war One of its important provisions was with regard to sanctions According to this provision, economic and military action would be taken against any country which committed aggression. It also bound its members to improve labour and social conditions in their countries. For this the International Labour Organization was set up which is now one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations

The hopes of having a truly world organization devoted to the preservation of peace and independence of nations were, however, not realized with the formation of the League Two major countries Germany and the Soviet Union — were not allowed to become its members for many years while India, which was not independent, was made a member. The United States which had played an important part in the setting up of the League ultimately decided not to join it. The League was never an effective organization. In the 1930s when many countries resorted to aggression, the League was either ignored or defied

An important feature of the peace treaties which indicates its nature was the decision with regard to the colonies of the defeated powers. The Allies had entered into many secret agreements for dividing the spoils of war. The Soviet government, to bring out the imperialist nature of the war, made these treaties public. During the war, the Allies had been claiming that the war was being fought for freedom and democracy President Wilson had said that the war was being fought “to make the world safe for democracy”. The publication of secret treaties by the Soviet government exposed these claims However, in spite of this, the distribution of the colonies of the defeated countries among the victors took place as has been mentioned before Of course, the Soviet Union which had repudiated all the secret agreements did not receive any spoils which had been promised to the Russian emperor. The League of Nations also recognised this division of the spoils Legally most of the colonies which were transferred to the victorious powers were mandates and could not be annexed.

Consequences of the War and the Peace Treaties

The First World War was the most frightful war that the world had so far seen. The devastation caused by it, as stated earlier, had no precedent. The number of persons who fought in die war is staggering. Estimates vary between 53 and 70 million people. The total number of those killed and dead in the war are estimated at about nine million, that is, about one-seventh of those who participated in it. Several million became invalids. The air raids, epidemics and famines killed many more among the civilian populations. Besides these terrible human losses, the economy of many countries was shattered. It gave rise to many serious social problems. The political institutions as they had been evolving in various countries also suffered a serious setback

The war and die peace treaties transformed the political map of the world, particularly of Europe. Three ruling dynasties were destroyed the Romanov in Russia during the war itself, the Hohenzollern in Germany and die Habsburg in Austria Hungary. Soon after the war, the rule of Ottomans came to an end in Turkey Austria and Hungary became separate independent states. Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia emerged as independent states Poland which had been divided among Russia, Austria and Prussia in the eighteenth century was re-formed as an independent state

The period after the war saw the war saw the beginning of the end of the European supremacy in the world. Economically and militarily, Europe was surpassed by the United States which emerged from the war as a world power. The Soviet Union was also to soon come up as a major world power. The period after the war also saw the strengthening of the freedom movements in Asia and Africa. The weakening of Europe and the emergence of the Soviet Union which declared her support to the struggles for national independence contributed to the growing strength of these struggles. The Allied propaganda during the war to defend democracy, and the participation of Asian and African soldiers in the battles in Europe also helped in arousing the peoples of Asia and Africa. The European countries had utilized the resources of their colonies in the war. The forced recruitment of soldiers and labourers for war, and the exploitation of resources of the colonies for war by the imperialist countries had created resentment among the people of the colonies. The population of the colonial countries had been nurtured on the myth that the peoples of Asia and Africa were inferior to the Europeans. The role played by the soldiers from Asia and Africa in winning the war for one group of nations of Europe against another shattered this myth Many Asian leaders had supported the war effort in the hope that, once the war was over, then countries would be given freedom. These hopes were, however, belied. While the European nations won the right to self-determination, colonial rule and exploitation continued in the countries of Asia and Africa.

The contrast between the two situations was too glaring to be missed. Its increasing awareness led to the growth of nationalist feelings in the colonies. The soldiers who returned to their respective countries from the theatres of war in Europe and elsewhere also brought with them the new stirrings. All these factors strengthened nationalist movements in the colonies. In some countries, the first stirrings of nationalism were felt after the war

The First World War had been believed to be a War to end all war. However, the Peace: Treaties had failed to ensure this. On the contrary, the treaties contained certain provisions which were extremely harsh on the defeated countries and thus they sowed the seeds of further conflicts. Similarly, some victorious countries also felt cheated because all their hopes had not been fulfilled Imperialism was not destroyed as a result of the war. The victorious powers had in fact enlarged their possessions. The factors which had caused rivalries and conflicts between imperialist countries leading to the war still existed. Therefore, the danger that more wars would be fought for another re-division of the world remained lurking. The emergence of the Soviet Union was considered a danger to the existing social and economic system in many countries. The desire to destroy it influenced the policies of those countries.

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Chapter 5. The Russian Revolution

IN a previous chapter, you have read about the rise and growth of the socialist movement. By the early years of the twentieth century, political movements based on the ideas of socialism had emerged in a number of countries in Europe. With the outbreak of the First World War, however, the socialist movement in most countries of Europe suffered a setback. The Second International faced a split on the question of attitude to the War and ceased to function During this period, however, unrest was brewing Russia. The Russian Revolution took place in 1917, affecting the course of world history for many decades

Conditions in Russia before the Revolution

In the nineteenth century, almost entire Europe was undergoing important social, economic and political transformation Most of the countries were republics like France or constitutional monarchies like England. The rule of the old feudal aristocracies had been replaced by that of the new middle classes. Russia, however, was still living in the old world under the autocratic rule of the Czars, as the Russian emperors were called. Serfdom had been abolished in 1861, but it did not improve the condition of peasants. They still had miserably small holdings of land with no capital to develop even these, “For the small holdings they acquired, they had to pay heavy redemption dues for decades. Land hunger of the peasants was a major social factor in the Russian society

Industrialization began very late in Russia, in the second half of the nineteenth century. Then it developed at a fairly fast rate, but more than half of the capital for investment came from foreign countries Foreign investors were interested in quick profits and showed no concern for the conditions of workers Russian capitalists, with insufficient capital, competed with foreign investors by reducing workers wages. Whether factories were owned by foreigners or Russians, the conditions of work were horrible. The workers had no political rights and no means of gaining even minor reforms. The words of Marx that workers have nothing to lose but their chains rang literally true to them

The Russian state under the Czars was completely unsuited to die needs of modern times Czar Nicholas II, in whose reign the Revolution occurred, still believed in the divine right of kings. The preservation of absolutism was regarded by him as a sacred duty. The only people who supported the Czar were the nobility and the upper layers of the clergy. All the rest of the population in the vast Russian empire was hostile. The bureaucracy that the Czars had built was top-heavy, inflexible and inefficient, the members being recruited from amongst the privileged classes rather than on the basis of any ability

The Russian Czars had built a vast empire by conquest of diverse nationalities in Europe and Asia. In these conquered areas, they imposed the use of the Russian language and tried to belittle the cultures of the people of these areas. Also, Russia’s imperialist expansion brought her into conflicts with other imperialist powers. These wars further exposed the hollowness of the czarist state

Growth of Revolutionary Movements in Russia

There were many peasant rebellions in Russia before the nineteenth century but they were suppressed Many Russian thinkers had been influenced by developments in Western Europe and wanted to see similar changes in Russia. Their efforts had helped to bring about the abolition of serfdom. This, however, turned out to be a hollow victory. The hopes of gradual changes in the direction of constitutional democratic government were soon shattered and every attempt at gradual improvement seemed to end in failure. In the conditions that existed in Russia, even a moderate democrat or reformer had to be a revolutionary. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, there was a movement known as going to the people when intellectuals started preaching their ideas to the peasants

When die workers organizations were set up after industrialization began, they were dominated by ideas of socialism. In 1883, the Russian Social Democratic Party was formed by George Plekhanov, a follower of Marx. This party along with many other socialist groups was united into the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1898. However, the party was soon split over questions of organization and policy. One group which was in a minority (hence known as the Mensheviks) favoured a party of the type that existed in countries like France and Germany and participated in elections to the parliaments of their countries. The majority, known as the Bolsheviks, were convinced that in a country where no democratic rights existed and where there was no parliament, a party organized on parliamentary lines would not be effective. They favoured a party of those who would abide by the discipline of the party and work for revolution

The leader of the Bolsheviks was Lenin. He is regarded as one of the greatest leaders of the socialist movement after Marx and Engels. He devoted himself to the task of organizing the Bolshevik Party as an instrument for bringing about revolution His name has become inseparable from the Revolution of 1917 lire Russian socialists including Plekhanov and Lenin, had played an important part in the Second International

Besides the Menshevik and the Bloshevik parties, which were the political parties of industrial workers, there was the Socialist Revolutionary Party which voiced the demands of the peasantry. Then there were parties of the non-russian nationalities of the Russian empire which were working to free their lands from colonial oppression

The revolutionary movement in Russia had been growing when the 1905 Revolution broke out. In 1904, a war had broken out between Russia and Japan. The Russian armies had suffered reverses in the war. This had further strengthened the revolutionary movement in Russia. On 9 January 1905, a mass of peaceful workers with their wives and children was fired at in St. Petersburg while on its way to the Winter Palace to present a petition to the Czar More than a thousand of them were killed and thousands of others were wounded. Thus day is known as Bloody Sunday. The news of the killings provoked unprecedented disturbances throughout Russia. Even sections of the army and the navy revolted. The sailors of the battleship Potemkin joined the revolutionaries. A new form of organization developed in tins revolution which proved decisive in the upheaval of 1917. This was the Soviet, or the council of workers representatives. Beginning as committees to conduct strikes, they became the instruments of political power Soviets of peasants were also formed

In October, the Czar yielded and announced his manifesto granting freedom of speech, press and association, and conferred the power to make laws upon an elected body called the Duma. The Czar’s manifesto contained principles which would have made Russia a constitutional monarchy like England However, the Czar soon relapsed into his old-ways. No longer could one hope for gradual reform. The 1905 Revolution proved to be a dress rehearsal of the revolution that came in 1917.

It aroused the people and prepared them for revolution. It drew soldiers and the peoples of non-Russian nationalities into dose contact with the Russian revolutionaries

Hoping to satisfy his imperial ambitions by annexing Constantinople and (he Straits of the Dardanelles, the Czar took Russia into die First World War. This proved fatal and brought about the final breakdown of the Russian autocracy. The Czarist state was incapable of carrying on a modem war. The decadence of the royal family made matters worse, Nicholas II was completely dominated by his wife. She, in turn, was ruled by a friend named Rasputin who virtually ran the government. Corruption in the stale resulted in great suffering among die people. There was a shortage of bread. The Russian army suffered heavy reverses. The government was completely unmindful of the conditions of soldiers. On the war front by February 1917 600 000 soldiers had been killed. There was widespread discontent throughout the empire as well as in the army. The condition was ripe for a revolution. In setting forth the fundamental law for a successful revolution , Lenin had included two conditions the people should fully understand that revolution is necessary and be ready to sacrifice their lives for it; the existing government should be in a state of crisis to make it possible for it to be overthrown rapidly. That time had certainly arrived in Russia in 1917

Beginning of the. Revolution Minor incidents usually set off revolutions. In the case of the Russian Revolution, it was a demonstration by working-class women trying to purchase bread. A general strike of workers followed, in which soldiers and others soon joined. Oh 12 March 1917 the capital city of St. Petersburg (renamed Petrograd, later Leningrad and once again, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, St. Petersburg) fell into the hand s of the revolutionaries. Soon the revolutionaries took Moscow, the Czar gave up his throne and the first Provisional Government was formed on 15 March. The famous poet Mayakovsky, expressing the contempt of the Russ i an people for the Czar, wrote on the fall of the Czar Like the chewed stump of a fag we spat their dynasty out

The fall of the Czar is known as the February Revolution because, according to the Russian calendar, it occurred on27 February 1917. The fall of the Czar, however, marked only the beginning of the revolution

The most important demands of the people were four-fold* peace, land to the tiller, control of industry by workers, and equal status for the non-Russian nationalities. The Provisional Government under the leadership of a man named Kerensky did not implement any of these demands and lost the support of the people. Lenin, who was in exile in Switzerland at the time of the February Revolution, returned to Russia in April Under his leadership, the Bolshevik Party put forward dear policies to end the war and transfer land to the peasants and advanced the slogan All Power to the Soviets. On the question of non-Russian nationalities, Bolsheviks were the only party then with a clear policy Lenin had described the Russian empire as a prison of nations and had declared that no genuine democracy could be established unless all me non-Russian peoples were given equal rights He had proclaimed the right of all peoples, including those under the Russian empire, to self-determination. The unpopularity of the Kerensky government led to its collapse on 7 November 1917, when a group of sailors occupied the Winter Palace, the seat of the Kerensky government Leon Trotsky who had played an important role in the 1905 Revolution returned to Russia in May 1917 As head of the Petrograd Soviet, he was one of the most outstanding leaders of the November uprising. An All-Russian Congress of Soviets met on the same day and assumed full political power. This event which took place on 7 November is known as the October Revolution because of the corresponding date of the old Russian calendar, 25 October

The Congress of Soviets on the next day issued a proclamation to all peoples and belligerent states to open negotiations for a just peace without annexation and indemnities Russia withdrew from the war, though formal peace was signed with Germany later, after ceding the territories that Germany demanded as a price for peace Following the decree on land, the estates of the landlords, the Church and the Czar were confiscated and transferred to peasants societies to be allotted to peasant families to be cultivated without hired labour. The control of industries was transferred to shop committees of workers. By the middle of 1918, banks and insurance companies, large industries, mines, water transport and railways were nationalised, foreign debts were repudiated and foreign investments were confiscated. A Declaration of the Rights of Peoples was issued conferring the right of self-determination upon all nationalities A new government, called the Council of People’s Commissars, headed by Lenin was formed. These first acts of the new government were hailed as the beginning of the era of socialism

The October Revolution had been almost completely peaceful. Only two persons were reported killed in Petrograd on the day the Revolution took place, however, soon the new state was involved in a civil war. His officers of the army of the fallen Czar organised an armed rebellion against the Soviet state Troops of foreign powers England, France, Japan, United States and other —joined them. War raged till 1920. By this time the Red Army of the new state was in Control of almost alt the lands of the old Czarist empire. The Red Army was badly equipped and composed mainly of workers and peasants However, it won over better equipped and better trained forces, just as the citizen armies in the American and French revolutions had won

Consequences of the Revolution

The overthrow of autocracy and the destruction of the aristocracy and the power of the church were the first achievements of the Russian Revolution. The Czarist empire was transformed into a new state called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U S S R) for short Soviet Union. The policies of the new state were to be directed to the realization of the old socialist ideal, from each according to his capacity, to each according to his work. Private property in the means of production was abolished and the motive of private profit eliminated from the system of production. Economic planning by the state was adopted to build a technologically advanced economy at a fast rate and to eliminate glaring inequalities in society. Work became an essential requirement for every person as there was no unearned income to live on. The right to work became a constitutional right and 11 became the duty of the state to provide employment to every individual. Education of the entire people was given a high priority. The equality of all the nationalities in the U S S R. was recognized in the constitution framed in 1924 and later inl936. The constitution gave the republics formed by the nationalities autonomy to develop the languages and cultures. These developments were particularly significant for the Asian republics of U S S R which were much more backward than the European part

Within a few years of the revolution, the Soviet Union emerged as a major power in the world. The social and economic systems that began to be built there was hailed by many as the beginning of a new civilization while others called it an evil system After about 70 years of the revolution, the system collapsed and in 1991 the Soviet Union ceased to exist as a state. You will read in the next two chapters about some of the major developments that took place in the Soviet Union and the role it played in world affairs from the time of its emergence till its collapse

In its impact on the world, the Russian Revolution had few parallels in history. The ideas of socialism which the socialist movement had been advocating and which the Russian Revolution espoused were intended for universal application. The Russian Revolution was the first successful revolution in history which proclaimed the building of a socialist society as its objective. It had led to the creation of a new state over a vast area of the globe. It was, therefore, bound to have repercussions for the rest of the world

Soon after the revolution the Communist International (also known as the Third International or Comintern) was formed for promoting revolutions on an international scale. The split in the socialist movement at the time of the First World War has been mentioned before. The leftwing sections in many socialist parties now formed themselves into communist parties and they affiliated themselves to the Comintern. Communist parties were also formed in other countries, often with the active involvement and support of the Comintern. Thus the international communist movement arose under one organization which decided on policies to be followed by all communist parties. The Soviet Union was considered fire leader of the world communist movement by the communist parties in various countries and the Communist Party of Soviet Union played a leading role in determining the policies of the Comintern. It is generally agreed that Comintern was often used by the Soviet Union as an instrument for pursuing its own objectives However, the formation of communist parties in many countries of the world with the objective of bringing about revolution and following common policies was a major consequence of the Russian Revolution

With the formation of the Comintern, the socialist movement was divided into two sections —socialist and communist. There were many differences between them on the methods of bringing about socialism and about the concept of socialism itself Despite these differences, socialism became one of the most widely held ideologies within a few decades after its emergence. The spread of the influence of socialist ideas and movements after the First World

War was in no small measure due to the success of the Russian Revolution

The growing popularity of socialism and many achievements made by the Soviet Union led to a redefinition of democracy. Most people who did not believe in socialism also began to recognize that for democracy to be real, political rights without social and economic rights were not enough. Economic and social affairs could not be left to the capitalists. The idea of the slate playing an active role in regulating the economy and planning the economy to improve the conditions of the people was accepted. The biblical idea revived by the socialist movement and the Russian Revolution. He that does not work neither shall he gained widespread acceptance, adding anew dignity to labour. The popularity of socialism also helped to mitigate discriminations based on race, colour and sex

The spread of socialist ideas also helped in promoting internationalism. The nations, at least in theory, began to accept the idea that their relations with other nations should go farther than merely promoting their narrow self-interest. Many problems which were considered national began to be looked upon as concerns of the world as a whole. The universality and internationalism which were fundamental principles of socialist ideology from the beginning were totally opposed to imperialism. The Russian Revolution served to hasten the end of imperialism According to Marx, a nation which enslaves another nation can never be free. Socialists all over the world organized campaigns for putting an end to imperialism

The new Soviet state came to be looked upon as a friend of the peoples of the colonies struggling for national independence Russia after the Revolution was the first country in Europe to openly support the cause of independence of all nations from foreign rule. Immediately after the Revolution, the Soviet government had annulled the unequal treaties which the Czar had imposed on China. It also gave assistance of various kinds to Sun Yat Sen in his struggle tor the unification of China. The Russian Revolution also influenced the movements for independence in so far as the latter gradually broadened the objectives of independence to include social and economic equality through planned economic development. Writing about the Russian Revolution in his Autobiography, Jawaharlal Nehru said, “It made me think of politics much more in terms of social change”


Chapter 6. The World from 1919 to the Second World War

Hardly twenty years had passed since the end of the Fust World War, when, in 1939, the Second World War broke out. It was the most destructive war in history which affected the life of the people in every part of the globe. The twenty years between the First and Second World Wars were a period of tremendous changes all over the world Many developments took place in Europe which paved the way for the outbreak of the Second World War A major economic crisis took place during this period which affected almost every part of the world and, more particularly, the most advanced capitalist countries of the West. In Asia and Africa, the period saw an unprecedented awakening of die peoples which found its fulfilment after the Second World War. The changes and developments in this period are important not only for understanding the forces and factors which led to the Second World War but also the world that emerged after the war. Thus they are crucial to an understanding of the present-day world

Europe between the Wars.

The misery caused by the First World War influenced the political developments in many countries. You have read earlier about the revolution in Germany toward s the end of the war which forced the German emperor to flee. The country Germany became a republic. The proclamation of the republic did not satisfy the German revolutionaries who attempted another uprising in January 1919. Tire uprising was, however, suppressed Two leaders of the German revolutionary movement, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, were assassinated. There was an uprising in Hungary but the revolutionary government which came into being was over thrown within few months Inspired by the Russian Revolution, there were revolutions in many other countries of Europe such as Finland, and Baltic States of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania which had earlier been parts of the Russian empire. But all these revolutions were short-lived. There were movements in other parts of Europe for improvement in living conditions. The political situation in almost every country in Europe was complicated. The period saw the growth of socialist and communist parties in almost every country of Europe However, within a few years in many countries of Europe, the socialist movements were defeated and dictatorial governments came to power. These governments not only suppressed socialist movements but also destroyed democracy. The emergence of dictatorial governments in Europe in this period had dangerous consequences not only for the peoples of Europe Hut for the whole world. The most dangerous development was the triumph of fascism in Italy and Germany which paved the way for the Second World War

Fascism in Italy

A number of political movements which arose in Europe after the First World War are generally given the name fascist. The common features of these movements were their hostility to democracy and socialism, and the aim of establishing dictatorships. They succeeded, in many countries of Europe, such as, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Germany, Spain. Their success in Italy and Germany had the most serious consequences

The term fascism is of Italian origin. It was first used for the movement which started in Italy under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini had organised armed gangs against socialists and communists in 1919. You have read earlierabout the unification of Italy and her imperialist ambitions. The Italian government had shown little concern for the welfare of die agricultural and industrial workers whose conditions were miserable in the extreme. It had, instead, plunged Italy into the First World War in the hope of gaining colonies. About700 000 Italians were killed in the war. The conditions of the people had worsened further. The growing strength of the socialist movement in Italy posed a threat to the existing system

Italy had joined the war with the aim of gaining colonies. However, the peace treaties had failed to satisfy her ambitions. The Italian government at the time was dominated by capitalists and landlords. These sections began to support anti-democratic movements which promised to save them from the danger of socialism as well as to satisfy their colonial aspirations. The movement started by Mussolini was one such movement His armed gangs were used by landlords and industrialists to organize violence against socialists and communists. A systematic campaign of terrorism and murder was launched but the government showed little interest in curbing it

In 1921, elections were held in Italy. However, no single party could win a majority and no stable government could be formed. In spite of the terror organized by Mussolini’s gangs, his party could get only 35 seats while the socialists and communists together won 138 seats. In spite of his poor showing in the elections, Mussolini openly talked of seizing power. On 28 October 1922, he organized a march on Rome. The government of Italy did not show any sign of resistance against the volunteers of Mussolini. Instead, on 29 October 1922, the king of Italy invited Mussolini to join the government. Thus without firing a shot, fascists under Mussolini’s leadership came to power in Italy

The take-over of the government by fascists was followed by a reign of terror. The socialist movement was suppressed and many socialist and communist leaders were either jailed or killed. In 1926 all political parties except Mussolini’s party were banned. The victory of fascism in Italy not only led to the destruction of democracy and the suppression of socialist movement, it also led to the preparation for war. The fascists believed that there could be no harmony between two or more nations. They glorified war which, according to them, ennobled people. They openly advocated a policy of expansion and said that nations which do not expand cannot survive for long

The victory of fascism in Italy was neither the result of a victory in elections nor of a popular uprising. The government of Italy Was handed over to the fascists because the ruling classes of Italy considered democracy and socialism as threats to their power

Nazism in Germany

Within eleven years of the fascist capture of power in Italy, Nazism triumphed in Germany. Nazism which was the German version of fascism was much more sinister than the original Italian version. The Nazis, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, established the most barbarous dictatorship of modern times

You have read earlier about the unification of Germany and certain aspects of Germany’s history up to the First World War Germany had sought to satisfy her imperial ambitions through war but she had suffered defeat. The outbreak of revolution in Germany towards the end of the First World War led to the collapse of the German monarchy. However, even though Germany became a republic, the forces behind the monarchy the industrialists, the big landowners and the officers of the army remained quite powerful. The government of the German republic was not able to destroy their power. These forces began to turn to the anti-democratic forces represented by Nazism to extend their power and to check the power of the socialist movement

The term Nazism derived from the name of the party which Hiller founded in 1921 — the National Socialist German Workers Party, for short Nazi Party. Like Mussolini, Hitler had also planned to capture power through a march on Berlin He was arrested and jailed, but released long before his term was over. In jail he wrote his book Mein Kaimpf (literal meaning My Struggle) which expressed some of the most monstrous ideas of the Nazi movement. He glorified the use of force and brutality, and the rule by a great leader and ridiculed internationalism, peace and democracy. He preached extreme hatred against the German Jews who were blamed not only for the defeat of Germany in the First World War but for all the ills of Germany He glorified violent nationalism and extolled war. The dreadful ideas of the Nazis found favour with the army, the industrialists, the big landowners and the anti-republican politicians. They began to look upon Hitler as the saviour of Germany

The Nazis capitalized on the sense of humiliation which many Germans felt at their defeat in the war and the unjust provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. They also exploited the misery of the people which had worsened due to the reparations which Germany was made to pay to the Allied powers. In 1929 occurred the most serious economic crisis which affected all the capitalist countries of the world. As a result of this crisis, eight million workers, about half of the working population of Germany, were rendered unemployed. It was during this period that the Nazi Party, which was no more than a conspiratorial group in the beginning, began to spread its influence. The Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party were powerful parties with huge following. These two parties, however, failed to unite against the Nazis.

The victory of Nazism in Germany, like that of fascism in Italy, was neither the outcome of a popular uprising, nor the result of a sham march on Berlin such as Mussolini’s on Rome. In the elections held in Germany before Hitler came to power, the Nazi Party had polled less votes than the Socialist and Communist vote put together. It had won only 196 seats out of a total of about 650. Hitler’s coming to power was the result of political intrigues. In spite of his poor showing in the elections, Hitler was appointed the Chancellor of Germany by the President of Germany on 30 January 1933. Within a few weeks, tine entire fabric of democracy in Germany was shattered

Soon after coming to power, Hitler ordered fresh elections and let loose a reign of terror. Assassination of anti-Nazi leaders, 1936 was organized on a large scale On 27 February 1933, the Reichstag (Parliament) building was set to the fire by die Nazis,. The Communist Party if Germany was blamed for the fire and was suppressed. In spite of the terror organized by the Nazis, the Nazi Party could not win a majority of seats in Parliament. However, Hitler assumed dictatorial powers aid, in 1934, became the President. Trade Onions were suppressed and thousands of socialists, communists and anti-Nazi political leaders were exterminated. The Nazis started huge bonfires into which the works of some of the best writers of Germany and other countries were thrown Besides socialists and communists, Jews were made victims of an organized campaign of humiliation and violence Within a few years they were to be completely exterminated Simultaneously, a massive programme of militarization was launched and preparations for war began. The victory of Nazism was a calamity not only for the German people but for entire Europe and many other parts of the world. It brought in the Second World War

The policies and acts of the fascist governments of Italy and Germany which ultimately led to the Second World War are described in another section

Developments in Britain and France.

The two major countries of Europe which did not succumb to fascist movements were Britain and France. However, both these countries were faced with serious economic difficulties. In 1921, there were 2 million unemployed persons in Britain. The workers movement made great advances. In 1924, the first Labour Party government came to power. However, it did not remain in power for long. In 1926 occurred the biggest strike in the history of Britain involving 6 million workers. The strike ultimately failed. A few years later, Britain was badly affected by the world-wide economic crisis and about three million people were unemployed. In 1931, the National government comprising the Conservative, the Labour and the Liberal parties was formed. This government took some steps to overcome the serious economic difficulties though the unemployment situation remained serious. After the victory of fascism in Germany, a fascist movement started in Britain but it could not make much headway and Britain continued as a democratic country

The government of France for many years was dominated by big bankers and industrialists. It hoped that by making use of the resources of die German areas which had come under her control after the war, it would be able to make France economically strong However, these hopes were not fulfilled France could not attain political stability also. Many governments came and fell. Political instability was made worse as a result of the economic crisis, and corruption became rampant Fascist movement rose its head and there was violence in the streets Ultimately, to meet the threat posed by fascist and other anti-democratic forces, a government comprising Socialist, Radical Socialist and Communist parties was formed in 1936. This is known as the Popular Front government and it lasted for about two years. During this period many important economic reforms were introduced in France

Thus Britain and France succeeded in remaining democratic countries even though they were faced with serious problems. However, the foreign policy of these countries, as you will see later, was not conducive to the maintenance of democracy in other parts of Europe and in preventing the outbreak of war

United States Emerges as the Strongest Power

One of the most important features of the period after die First World War was the decline in the supremacy of Europe in the

DWAR world and the growing importance of the United States of America She had, in fact, emerged as the richest and the most powerful country in the world at the end of the war. This was clear from the important role that she played during the framing of the peace treaties While the war had severely damaged the economy of the European countries, the economy of USA during tins time had in fact become stronger She had made tremendous industrial progress and was beginning to make heavy investments in Europe However, in spite of this progress, the United States was frequently beset with serious economic problems. These problems were the result of the capitalist system about which you have read before

The world-wide economic crisis which began in 1929 has been mentioned before. The crisis originated in USA. The years after First World War had seen a big increase in the production of goods in America, despite of this, however, more than half of the population lived at less than the minimum subsistence level. In October 1929, the entire economy began to collapse. The stock market in New York crashed. The fall in the value of shares had created so much panic that in one day 16 million shares were sold in New York Stock Exchange,. In some companies, the shares held by people became totally worthless. During the next four years, more than9 000 American banks closed down and millions of people lost their life’s savings. The manufacturers and farmers could not get any money to invest and as people had little money to buy, the goods could not be sold. This led to the closing of thousands of factories and throwing of workers out of employment. The purchasing power of the people was thus reduced which led to the closing down of more factories and to unemployment

The Depression, as this situation is called, began to spread to all the capitalist countries of Europe in 1931 After the First World War, the economies of the countries of Europe, excluding Russia, had become closely connected with and even dependent on the economy of USA, particularly on the American banks. The consequences of the Depression in Europe were similar to those in the USA and in some cases even worse. The economies of die colonies of the European countries were also affected

The Depression resulted in large-scale unemployment, loss of production, poverty and starvation. It continued throughout the 1930s even though after 1933, the economies of the affected countries began to recover. The crisis as long as it lasted was the most terrible and affected the lives of scores of millions of people all over die world. The estimates of unemployed during this period all over the world vary between 50 and 100 million. In USA alone, the richest country in the world, the number of the unemployed exceeded 15 million. Thousands of factories, banks and business enterprises stopped working. The industrial production fell by about 35 per cent, in some countries by about half

It may appear surprising that the crisis was caused by over-production You have read earlier how under capitalism, the owners of factories and business enterprises try to maximize their profits by producing more and more goods When production increases but the purchasing power of the workers remains low, the goods cannot be sold unless their prices are reduced. However, the prices cannot be reduced because this would affect the profits. So the goods remain unsold and lire factories are closed to stop further production. With the closure of factories people are thrown out of employment which makes die situation worse as the goods which have been produced cannot be sold. Such crises occurred often in almost every country after the spread of the Industrial Revolution. The crisis of 1929-33 was, however, die worst in history. In this crisis while millions were starving, lakhs of tonnes of wheat were burnt down in some areas to prevent the price of wheat from falling

The economic crisis had serious political consequences. You have read how the Nazis in Germany exploited the discontent of the people to promote their anti-democratic programme. In many countries, hunger marches were organized and the socialist movement pressed for far-reaching changes in die economic system so that such crises would not recur. The only country which was not affected by the economic crisis of 1929-33 was the Soviet Union

The economic crisis had worst affected the economy of the United States. It led to die victory of, the Democratic Party and Franklin D. Roosevelt became the President of the United States in 1933; Under his leadership a programme of economic reconstruction and social welfare was started. This programme is known as the New Deal Steps were taken to improve the conditions of workers and to create employment. As a result of the New Deal, the economy of the United States recovered from the crisis and the industrial production picked up again. In 1939, however, there were still 9 million unemployed people in the United States

The United States had retained her position as a mighty power However, her foreign policy was not very different from that of Britain and France She, like Britain and France, did not adopt a strong position to resist aggressive acts of fascist powers until after the outbreak of the Second World War when she herself had to enter the war

The Emergence of the Soviet Union.

The period after the First World War saw the emergence of the Soviet Union as a major power and she began to play a crucial role in world affairs. The military intervention by Britain, France, USA and Japan in Russia in support of the counter-revolutionary forces has already been mentioned. By 1920 the counter-revolutionary forces had been defeated and the foreign armies driven out

Russia’s participation in the First World War and the long period of civil war and foreign intervention which followed the revolution had completely shattered the economy of the country. This was a period of acute economic distress tor the people. There was a severe shortage of food. The production of industrial goods had fallen far below the pre-war level. To make the distribution of goods equitable in conditions of severe scarcity, certain strong measures were taken. The peasants were made to part with their produce which was in excess of what was essential for their own needs. They were not allowed to sell it in the market. The payment of salaries in cash was stopped and instead people were paid in kind, that is foodstuffs and manufactured goods. These measures had created unrest among the peasants and other sections of society but were accepted because they were considered essential to defend the revolution After the civil war ended, these measures were withdrawn and in 1921, the New Economic Policy was introduced Under this policy, the peasants were allowed to sell their produce in the open markets, payment of wages in cash was re-introduced and production of goods and their sale in some industries under private control was permitted. A few years later, in 1929, the USSR slatted its vigorous programme of economic reconstruction and industrialization when it adopted the first of a series of its Five Year Plans Within a few years, the Soviet Union emerged as a major industrial power. The extraordinary economic progress that the Soviet Union achieved was against heavy odds. Though the foreign intervention had been ended, many countries of Europe, and the United States followed a policy of economic boycott with the aim of destroying the revolution. However, the Soviet Union not only survived but continued to grow economically at a fast rate She was, as mentioned before, the only country which remained unaffected by the economic crisis of 1929-33 On the contrary, its industrial development went on as before while millions of people in the west were unemployed and thousands of factories had come to a standstill. Major changes were introduced in agriculture. After the revolution the estates of the landlords, the church and the nobility had been confiscated and distributed among the peasants. There were in all about 25 million land-holdings most of which were very small. The small land-holdings were considered not very productive To increase production, it was considered essential to introduce tractors and other farm machinery. It was thought that this could be done only if the size of the farms was large For this, the government started its own farms. Besides, it adopted the policy of promoting collective farms by bunging the small farms of the peasants together. In these farms, individual ownership of farms by peasants was ended and the peasants worked on these collective farms collectively. The government pursued the policy of collectivization vigorously and by 1937 almost all cultivable land was brought under collective farms. Initially, the peasants were free to decide whether they wanted to join the collective farms or not. Later, they were forced to join. The rich peasants who opposed collectivization were severely dealt with. The process of collectivization of agriculture was accompanied by many atrocities. According to some estimates, millions of people perished in this period. Thus, while the oppression by landlords had been ended, the introduction of new measures was not without serious problems and oppression. In industry also, while production of goods to profit a few capitalists had been ended and industrialization of the country took place at a fast rate, the production of goods of daily necessities was neglected

The main centres of the revolution in 1917 were in Russia. In the following years the revolution spread to many other parts of the old Russian empire and the Bolshevik Party and its supporters formed governments in the areas inhabited by non Russian nationalities. In 1922 all these territories were formally united in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), for short Soviet Union, which was a federation of many republics. At that time, the number of Republics constituting the USSR was five. When a new constitution was adopted in 1936, their number was eleven. A few years later, in 1940, their number rose to 15

After the death of Lenin in 1924 many serious differences arose within the ruling Communist Party the only political party which existed — over policies to be followed. There was also serious struggle for power between different groups and individual leaders. In this struggle, Stalin emerged victorious. In 1927, Trotsky who had played an important role in the revolution and had organized the Red Army was expelled from the Communist Party. In 1929, he was sent into exile. In the 1930s, almost all the leaders who had played an important role in the revolution and in the following years were eliminated. False charges were brought against them, and after fake trials they were executed Political democracy and freedom of speech and press were destroyed. The expression of differences even within the party was not tolerated. Stalin, who had been the General Secretary of the Communist Party, assumed dictatorial powers which he exercised till his death in 1953. These developments had an adverse effect on the building of socialism in the USSR and introduced features which were contrary to the humanistic ideals of Marxism and of the revolution. The development of art and literature also suffered because of restrictions on freedom

The Soviet Union was not recognized by most European powers and USA for a long time You have read before that she was not allowed to be represented at the Peace Conference which was held at the end of the First World War nor in the League of Nations She remained surrounded by countries which were openly hostile to her However, with its growing strength she could not be ignored and gradually one country after another recognized her Britain established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1933. In 1934 she also became a member of the League of Nations However, in spite of the ending of the isolation of the Soviet Union, the hostility towards the Soviet Union continued. The Soviet Union followed a policy of support to the movements for independence. The help given to China is notable in this context. When the fascist countries started their acts of aggression, the Soviet government pressed for action against them. However, the Western countries did not agree to the Soviet proposals. They continued to regard die Soviet Union as a danger to them and hoped that the fascist countries would destroy her. Their hostility to the Soviet Union led to the appeasement of fascist powers and paved the way for the Second World War

Nationalist Movements in Asia and Africa

The period following the First World War saw die strengthening of the movements of the peoples of Asia and Africa for independence As stated earlier, many leaders of freedom movements in Asia and Africa had supported the war effort of the Allies in the hope that their countries would win freedom, or at least more rights after war was over. Their hopes had been belied by the imperialist leaders soon made it clear that the war-time slogans of freedom and democracy were not meant for then colonies. However, the war had weakened the imperialist countries and had contributed to the awakening of the colonial peoples. Their struggles for freedom entered a new phase after the war. The support of the Soviet Union further added to the strength of the freedom movements. Even though most of the countries of Asia and Africa emerged as independent nations after the Second World War, the period after the First World War saw serious weakening of imperialism

In India this was die period when the freedom movement became a mass movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Many countries in Asia made significant advances towards freedom. You have read before that Iran had been divided into Russian and British spheres of influence before the First World War. The Soviet government after the revolution of 1917 had given up the sphere under her control and had withdrawn all her troops from there. The British, however, tried to extend their influence over the entire country. These efforts were met with a widespread uprising. In 1921, power was seized by Reza Khan who in 1925 became the emperor. The British troops left Iran and the modernization of Iran began

The British government had waged many wars against Afghanis tan in the nineteenth century. As a result of these wars, the independence of Afghanistan had been curbed. The foreign relations of Afghanistan had passed under British control. In 1919, the king of Afghanistan was assassinated and his son, Amanullah became the king Amanullah proclaimed complete independence of Afghanistan, which was immediately recognized by the Soviet Union. The British government in India waged a war against the new Afghan government but in the end Britain agreed to recognize the independence of Afghanistan. Amanullah’s government made vigorous efforts to modernize Afghanistan

There was an upsurge in Arab countries against Britain and France. The Arabs had been asked by the Allies, during the First World War, to fight against their Ottoman rulers However, the end of the war did not result in the independence of Arab countries. These countries had assumed additional importance after it was known that they had immense oil resources Britain and France had extended their control over these countries as their protectorates and mandates. There were uprisings against Britain in Egypt and Britain was forced in 1922 to grant independence to Egypt though British troops continued to stay there

Syria had been handed over to France after the war. However, from the very beginning France met with intense opposition there. In 1925 there was an open rebellion and the French government resorted to a reign of terror. Tire city of Damascus which became a centre of revolt was reduced to rums when the French troops bombed the city from the air and made use of heavy artillery to shell the city. About 25 000 people were killed as a result of bombing and shelling of Damascus. However, in spite of these massacres, the resistance to French rule continued

One of the most important events in the national awakening of the peoples after the First World War was the revolution in Turkey You have read earlier of the disintegration of the Ottoman empire which began in the nineteenth century and was completed after Turkey’s defeat in the First World War. During this period, many nations which were formerly under the subjugation of the Ottoman empire had become free. The Arab territories of the empire had been given away to Britain and France as mandates after the First World War. The Allies, however, did not stop at die dismemberment of the empire. They wanted to establish their domination over Turkey itself and to give away parts of Turkey to Greece and Italy. The treatment meted out to Turkey by the Allies had led to a mass upsurge in India directed against Britain. This upsurge is known as the Khilafat movement which had merged with the Indian nationalist movement

The nationalist movement in Turkey was organised to prevent the domination of the country by the Allied powers and the annexation of parts of Turkey by Greece and Italy. The Sultan of Turkey agreed to the terms dictated by the? Allied powers However, even before the treaty was signed by the Sultan, a national government had been established under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal with its headquarters at Ankara. This government signed a treaty of friendship with the Soviet government in 1921 under which Turkey received Soviet political support and arms for the nationalist cause. Following the treaty with the Sultan, Turkey had been invaded by Greece. The Turks under Kemal’s leadership were able to repel the invasion and the Allies were forced to repudiate the earlier treaty. The Allied troops were withdrawn from Turkish territory and the areas which were to be annexed by European countries remained in Turkey. Thus Turkey was able to win her complete independence

The success of the Turks in winning the complete independence of their country was followed by a programme to modernize Turkey and to end the influence of backward-looking feudal elements. Turkey was proclaimed a republic. The Turkish Sultan had carried the title of Caliph. The new government abolished the institution of Caliph. Education was taken out of the hands of the religious leaders Religion was separated from the state

The revolution in Turkey became a source of inspiration for the movements for freedom in Asia. It also helped to promote the ideas of social reform and modernization

Movements for independence were strengthened in the other parts of Asia. In Indonesia, for example, there were uprisings against the Dutch rule. In 1927 the National Party was organised with the aim of achieving independence In Korea there was a movement for independence from Japanese rule. Movements for independence gathered strength in Indo-China, Burma and other countries

One of the most powerful movements in this period began in China. You have read before about the imperialist domination of China. In 1911, there was a revolution in China which resulted in the establishment of a republic. However, power passed into the hands of corrupt governors called warlords. The national movement in China aimed at the overthrow of foreign domination and the unification of China by ending the rule of the warlords. The founder of the national movement in China was Dr San Yat-Sen. He had played an important role in the 1911 revolution and in 1917 had set up a government at Canton in south China. The party formed by him called Kuomintang Jed the national struggle in China for a number of years. The Russian Revolution had a deep impact on China. The new government in Russia had renounced all die unequal treaties which the Russian emperors had imposed on China and had promised full support to the Chinese national struggle. In 1921 the Communist Party of China was formed. In 1924, the Kuomintang and the Communist Party decided to work together and the Soviet government gave various kinds of aid, such as the training of a revolutionary army. A number of Soviet political and military advisers worked with the Chinese liberation movement. After the death of Sun Yat-Sen in 1925, the unity between die Kuomintang and the Communist Party was broken and a period of civil war began. In the 1930s when the Japanese attacked China with the aim of subjugating die entire country, the two parties agreed to work together to resist the Japanese invasion. The Communist Party played a leading role in the war of resistance against die Japanese invasion. It was able to establish its supremacy in the country and within a few years after the end of the Second World War was victorious in the civil war

This period also saw the emergence of political and national consciousness in Africa. Though the struggles for national independence in Africa gained momentum after the Second World War, the 1920s and 1he 1930s were a period when the first political associations were formed. An important role in die growth of national consciousness in Africa was played by a series of Pan-African Congresses. The PanAfrican movement asserted the identity and unity of the African people, and independence of Africa. The national movement in the Union of South Africa had emerged earlier than in order parts of Africa. In 1912 had been formed the African National Congress which became the leading organization of the South African people. The people of Ethiopia fought heroically against the Italian invasion of the country in 1935-36 and their resistance served as a source of inspiration to the people of Africa

The national awakening of the people of Asia and Africa and the growing strength of their struggle for freedom were factors of great importance in the making of the modern world. The long-oppressed peoples in these two continents were beginning to assert then right to independence; preparations for another war were being made in Europe

Beginning of Fascist Aggression

In tine 1930s the fascist powers began their wars of conquest which ultimately led to the Second World War. The major fascist countries were Italy and Germany. They acquired an ally in die militarist regime which came to power in Japan. The triumph of fascism in Italy and Germany has already been described, You have also read earlier about the rise of Japanese imperialism, her wars against China and Russia, the conquest of Korea and her acquisition of the German spheres in China after the First World War. The government of Japan gradually passed into die hands of militarists. These three countries started series of aggressions in Europe, Asia and Africa All of them claimed to have been fighting against communism and were united in 1937 under the Anti-Comintern Pact (Comintern is short for Communist International which, as mentioned before, had been formed after the Russian Revolution and to which die Communist Parties of various countries were affiliated) Germany, Italy and Japan came to be known as the Axis Powers

When the acts of aggression began, the aggrieved countries, the Soviet Union and many leaders in different countries of the world demanded collective action to defeat the aggressions. In 1935, the Communist International advocated the formation of Popular Fronts consisting of Communists, Socialists and other anti-fascists to counter the danger of fascism and war. It may be recalled that Hitler had come to power in Germany because the Communist and Social Democratic Parties of Germany had failed to unite against the Nazis. The Comintern’s advocacy of uniting all anti-fascist forces was followed by the formation of Popular Fronts in many countries. In France, the Popular Front succeeded in preventing a fascist takeover. The policy of Popular Front also had a significant influence in bringing together various anti-imperialist forces in the colonies. It also created a world-wide awareness of the danger that fascism posed to all countries and helped in building support for the victims of fascist aggression. The leader of the Comintern at this time was Georgi Dimitrov, a Bulgarian Communist, who had been arrested along with German Communists, by the Nazis in 1933 after the Reichstag fire. His courageous defence at the trial had won world-wide admiration and he had been released

You have read earlier that the covenant of the League of Nations contained a provision for economic and military sanctions and collective action against aggression. However, the Western governments, instead of resisting the aggressions, followed a policy of appeasement of the aggressive powers. Appeasement meant a policy of conciliating an aggressive power at the expense of some other country. But for the Western countries policy of appeasement, fascism could not have survived as long as it did and would not have been able to unleash the Second World War

Germany, Italy and Japan which launched a series of aggressions in the 1930s claimed that they were fighting communism Hitler had again declared that Germany had ambitions of conquering the vast resources and territory of the Soviet Union. In all these countries, the socialist and communist movements had been suppressed. Since the success of the Russian Revolution, the Western countries had been haunted by the danger of communism and they hoped that fascist countries would rid them of Bus danger. The attitude of the Western powers to the fascist aggressions has been summed up by a historian thus”. There was no question that the Nazis had done their best to convince the world that they were out to smash Bolshevism and conquer the Soviet Union Hitler’s speech saying that if he had the Urals all the Germans would be swimming in plenty was only an outstanding example of this propaganda Nor was there any reluctance among the elites in lire Western world to believe him. The great land owners, aristocrats, industrialists, bankers, high churchmen, army leaders —magnates of every kind in Western Europe, together with many middle-class elements -had never lost their fear that their own workers and peasants might demand a social revolution, perhaps one spearheaded and organized by communists. Their support of fascism as a force, albeit a gangster one, which would defeat communism and at the same lime leave the vested interests largely in control, had been instinctive and sincere. There can be little doubt that many powerful people in Britain and France worked to strengthen and build up the Axis powers with a view to an attack by them upon die Soviet Union” Tire Policy of appeasement strengthened the fascist powers and led to the Second World War

Japanese Invasion of China One of the first major acts of aggression after the First World War was the Japanese invasion of China in l931 A minor incident involving a railway line owned by the Japanese in Manchuria, the north-eastern province of China, was made the pretext for the invasion China, a member of the League of Nations, appealed to the League for sanctions against Japan to stop the aggression. However, Britain and France, the leading countries in the League, were completely indifferent to die appeal and acquiesced in the aggression. Japan occupied Manchuria, installed a puppet government there and proceeded to conquer more areas. The United States also did nothing to counter the aggression. In 1933, Japan quit the League of Nations. She had also started seizing the British and American property in China. However, the appeasement of Japan continued as the Western countries thought that the Japanese could be used to weaken China as well as the Soviet Union. Britain had an additional reason. She did not want to alienate Japan and thus endanger her possessions in Asia

German Militarization

Germany had been admitted to the League of Nations sometime after its formation but soon after Hitler came to power, she quit the League and undertook a massive programme of militarization. According to the Treaty of Versailles, severe restrictions had been imposed on the military strength of Germany. The beginning of German re-militarization in violation of the Treaty created a sense of insecurity in many countries, particularly France. It was in this situation that the Soviet Union became a member of the League in 1934. However, nothing was done to stop the German re-militarization. According to the Treaty of Versailles, the German area bordering France called the Rhineland had been demilitarized to make a German attack on France difficult. In 1936, Hitler’s troops entered the Rhineland in violation of the Treaty. Though this step alarmed France, nothing was done to stop Germany. By then Germany had built an army of 800 000 men while the Treaty of Versailles, you may remember, had imposed a limit of 100 000 men She had also started building a strong navy

Italian Invasion of Ethiopia.

In 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia On the appeal of Ethiopia, the League of Nations passed a resolution condemning Italy as an aggressor. The resolution also mentioned the use of economic sanctions against Italy, including a ban on the sale of arms to Italy However, no action was taken to punish Italy and by 1936 Italy had completed the conquest of Ethiopia

The Spanish Civil War.

The next event which marked the beginning of an alliance between Germany and Italy was the intervention by these two countries in the Civil War in Spain. In J 931 Spain had become a republic. In 1936 a Popular Front comprising the Socialist, Communist and other democratic and antifascist parties came to power. A section of the army under die leadership of General Franco with the armed support of Italy and Germany revolted against the government Italy and Germany started intervening openly in the Civil War that followed. They sent forces, tanks and warships in support of die rebels. The German aircrafts conducted air-raids on Spanish towns and villages. The government of the Spanish Republic appealed for help against the fascists. Only the Soviet Union came to the help of the Republican forces Britain and France advocated a policy of non-intervention and refused to give any aid to the government of Spain. They remained indifferent to the German and Italian intervention in the war However, the cause of the Republicans evoked tremendous response the world over. Thousands of antifascist volunteers from many countries including many anti-fascist Germans were organized into international brigades who went to Spain and fought alongside the Spaniards against fascism. Thousands of them were killed in Spain. Some of the best writers and artists of the twentieth century actively supported the cause of the Republicans. The battle in Spain assumed an international significance as it was increasingly realized that the victory of fascism in Spain would encourage more fascist aggressions. The sacrifice of their lives by thousands of non-Spaniards in Spain in the cause of freedom and democracy is one of the finest examples of internationalism in history. The Civil War in Spain continued for three years. About a million people were killed in the war. Finally, the fascist forces under General Franco succeeded in destroying the Republic in 1939 Soon the new government was recognized by most of the Western powers

It may by recalled that the Indian nationalist movement which was alive to the danger of fascism had extended its support to the Republican cause Jawaharlal Nehru went to Spain during this period as a mark of solidarity of the Indian nationalist movement with the Republicans

The victory of fascism was the result of the Western countries appeasement of fascism, which made the fascist countries more aggressive. Germany had tested the effectiveness of many new weapons in the Spanish Civil War which she was to use in the Second World War. The Munich Pact

While the Spanish Civil War was still going on, Hitler’s troops marched into Austria in March 1938 and occupied it Even though this was a. violation of the peace treaties signed after the First World War, the Western powers did not protest against it

The final act of appeasement of fascism by the Western powers was the Munich Pact Germany coveted Czechoslovakia which was very important because of her industries. The area also had strategic importance for the expansion of Germany in the east towards the Soviet Union Hitler claimed a part of Czechoslovakia called Sudetenland which had substantial German population. This area formed about one-fifth of the area of Czechoslovakia and had one of the largest munition factories in the world Instead of meeting the threat posed by Germany, the Prime Ministers of Britain and France met Hitler and Mussolini at Munich in Germany on 29 and 30 September 1938 and agreed to Germany’s terms without the consent of Czechoslovakia Soon after, the Sudetenland was occupied by German troops A few months later in March 1939 the Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany

The Munich Pact was the last major act of appeasement by the Western powers. It led Germany to make more demands. The only way the fascist aggression could have been checked and another world war prevented was an alliance of the Western powers with the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had been pleading for such an alliance. However, the Western policies of appeasement had convinced the Soviet Union that their main interest was to divert the German expansion towards the Soviet Union. The Munich Pact was an additional proof to the Soviet Union that the Western powers were trying to appease Germany with a view to directing her aggression eastward against the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union at this time signed a Non-Aggression Pact with, Germany in August 1939. The signing of this Pact by the Soviet Union shocked anti-fascists the world over. In the meantime Britain and France promised to come to the aid of Poland, Greece, Rumania and Turkey in case their independence was endangered

Chapter 7. The Second World War

The Second World War, like die First, start world war. In spite of the fact that Western countries had acquiesced in all the aggressions of Japan, Italy and Germany from the invasion of Manchuria to the annexation of Czechoslovakia, the fascist countries ambitions had not been satisfied. These countries were planning another division of the world and thus had to come into conflict w 1 tin the established imperialist powers. The Wes tern policy of diverting the aggression of the fascist countries towards the Soviet Union had failed with the signing of the Soviet German Non-Aggression Pact. Thus the war began in Europe between the fascist countries and the major West European Powers— Britain and France Within a few months it became a world war as it spread to more and more areas, ultimately involving almost every country in the world. The Invasion of Poland.

After the First World War, East Prussia had been separated from the rest of Germany. The city of Danzig which separated East Prussia from the rest of Germany had been made a free city independent of German control. Hitler had demanded the return of Danzig to Germany but Britain had refused to accept this demand

On 1 September 1939 German armies marched into Poland. On 3 September Britain and France declared war on Germany. Thus the invasion of Poland marked the beginning of the Second World War. The German armies completed the conquest of Poland in less than three weeks as no aid reached Poland. In spite of the declaration of war, however, there was little actual fighting for many months. Therefore, the war during this period from September 1939 to April 1940 when Germany invaded Norway and Denmark is known as the phoney war

Soon after the German invasion of Poland, the Soviet Union attacked eastern Poland and occupied the territories which were earlier in the Russian empire. It is believed that this occupation was a part of the secret provisions of the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact. In 1940, the Balkan States of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania which had become independent after the First World War were also occupied by the Soviet Union. They, along with Moldavia, became republics of USSR. In November 1939, the Soviet Union also went to war against Finland

Conquest of Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and France Germany launched her invasion of Norway and Denmark on 9 April 1940 and within three weeks completed the conquest of these two countries. In Norway, the German invaders were helped by Quisling, leader of Norway’s fascist party, who set up a puppet government in Norway under German occupation. The very name Quisling has come to mean a traitor who collaborates with the invaders of his country. In early May began the invasion of Belgium and Holland which was completed before the end of May Soon the German armies marched into France and by 14 June 1940, the capital city of Pans had fallen into German hands almost without a fight. In the meantime, Italy also had joined the war on the side of her ally, Germany. On 22 June 1940, the French government surrendered and signed a truce with Germany according to which about half of France was occupied by Germany. The remaining part remained under the French government which was required to disband the French army and provide for the maintenance of the German army in France. The French government which had surrendered to Germany ruled from Vichy. With the defeat of France, Germany became the supreme power over the continent of Europe. The war conducted by Germany with great speed and force is known as blitzkrieg which means a lightning war

The Battle of Britain

Britain was the only major power left in Europe after the fall of France Germany thought that Britain would surrender soon as she was without any allies in Europe. German air force began bombing raids on Britain in August 1940 with the aim of terrorizing her into surrender. The battle that ensued is known as the Battle of Britain. The Royal Air Force of Britain played a heroic role in its defence against air raids and conducted air raids on German territories in retaliation. The Prime Minister of Britain during the war years was Winston Churchill Under his leadership, the people of Britain successfully resisted the German air raids with courage and determination

In the meantime, Italy had started military operations in North Africa. She also invaded Greece, but the Italian, attack in both the areas was repulsed. However, Germany succeeded in capturing the Balkans -Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and also large parts of North Africa

German Invasion of Soviet Union Having conquered almost the entire Europe, except Britain, Germany attacked the Soviet Union, despite the Non-Aggression Pact, on 22 June 1941 As mentioned before, Hitler had always coveted the vast territory and resources of the Soviet Union

He thought that the destruction of the Soviet Union would take about eight weeks. Hitler had grossly underestimated the strength of the Soviet Union. In the first phase of the war with the Soviet Union, Germany achieved significant victories. Vast areas of the Soviet Union were devastated, Leningrad was besieged and German troops were marching towards Moscow However, in spite of the initial German successes, the German onslaught was halted. The Soviet Union had built up her industrial and military strength She resisted the German invasion heroically and the German hopes of a quick victory were thwarted

With the German invasion of the Soviet Union, a new vast theatre of war had been opened. An important development that followed was the emergence of the British Soviet-American unity to fight against aggression. Soon after the invasion, Churchill and Roosevelt declared British and American support, respectively, to the Soviet Union in the war against Germany and promised aid to her. Subsequently, agreements were signed between the Soviet Umon and Britain, and Soviet Union and USA. It was as a result of this unity that Germany, Italy and Japan were ultimately defeated

The Expansion of the War

You have read before about the Japanese invasion of China in 1931. In 1937, the Japanese had started another invasion of China Japan was one of the three members of the Anti-Commintern Pact along with Germany and Italy. In September 1940, these three countries had signed another pact which bound them together even more Japan recognized “the leadership of Germany and Italy in the establishment of a new order in Europe” and Japan’s leadership was recognized for establishing a new order in Asia. On 7 December 1941, the Japanese, without a declaration of war, conducted a massive raid on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor inHawau. The American Pacific fleet which was stationed there was devastated. The Americans lost 20 warships, and about 250 aircrafts. About 3000 persons were killed. The Americans were completely taken unawares Negotiations had been going on between the Japanese and American governments to settle their differences in Asia and the Pacific. The attack on Pearl Harbor in the midst of negotiations showed that the Japanese were determined to conquer Asia and the Pacific. With this the Second World War became truly global. The United States declared war on Japan on 8 December 1941 and soon after Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. Following the U S. entry into the war, many countries in the Americas joined the war against Germany, Italy and Japan. The Japanese achieved significant victories in the war in Asia. Within six months of the attack on Pearl Harbor, they had conquered Malaya, Burma (now Myanmar) Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Hongkong and numerous other areas. By the middle of 1942, the fascist powers had reached the peak of their power after that the decline began.

The Battle of Stalingrad

In January 1942 the unity of the countries fighting against the fascist powers was cemented. The representatives of 26 nations, including Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union, signed a declaration, known as the United Nations Declaration. The signatories to this Declaration resolved to utilize all their resources to pursue the war until victory was achieved and to cooperate with one another against the common enemy, and promised not to have a separate peace treaty

One of the most important turning points in the war was the Battle of Stalingrad (now called Volgograd). In November and December 1941, the German advance on Moscow met with stubborn resistance and the invasion was repulsed Germany then launched an offensive in southern Russia. In August 1942, the German troops reached the outskirts of Stalingrad. For over five months, the battle raged. It involved about 2 million men, 2000 tanks and 2000 aeroplanes. The civilian population of Stalingrad joined the soldiers in the defence of the city. In February 1943, about 90 000 German officers and soldiers surrendered. In all, Germany had lost about 300 000 men in this battle. This battle turned the tide of war.

The Second Front

The fascist countries began to suffer reverses mother areas also. Japan had failed to capture Australia and Hawaii. In North Africa/ the German and Italian troops were routed by early 1943. The destruction of the fascist army in North Africa was also a major turning point in the war. Injulyl943, British and American troops occupied Sicily Many sections in Italy had turned against Mussolini. He was arrested and a new government was formed. This government joined the war against Germany However, German troops invaded northern Italy and Mussolini, who had escaped with the help of Germans, headed a pro German government there. Meanwhile, British and American troops entered Italy and a long battle to throw the Germans out of Italy followed. The Soviet Union was attaining significant victories against Germany and had already entered Czechoslovakia and Rumania which had been under German occupation

On 6 June 1944, more than 100 000 British and American troops landed on the coast of Normandy in France. “By September their number had reached 2 000 000. The opening of this front played a very crucial role in the defeat of Germany. This is known as the opening of the Second Front. Since 1942 in Europe the most ferocious battles had been fought between Germany and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had been demanding the opening of the second front for long, as this would compel Germany to fight on other fronts also and would thus hasten the defeat of Germany. From this time onwards the German armies were on the run on all fronts

End of the War in Europe

After 6 June 1944, German armies had to face the forces of the Allies from three directions. In Italy, the British and American troops were advancing. Northern and western France and the city of Paris had been freed and the Allied troops were moving towards Belgium and Holland On the eastern front, the Germans were facing a collapse. The Soviet army from the east and other Allied troops from the west were closing in on Germany. On 2 May 1945 the Soviet armies entered Berlin Hitler had committed suicide on the morning of the same day On 7 May 1945 Germany unconditionally surrendered. The end of all hostilities in Europe became effective from 12 00 a m. on 9 May 1945

The Capitulation of Japan

After the defeat of Germany, the war in Asia continued for another three months. Britain and USA had launched successful operations against Japan in the Pacific and in the Philippines and Burma. In spite of serious reverses, however, the Japanese were still holding large parts of China. On 6 August 1945, an atom bomb, the deadliest weapon developed during the war, was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Hus was the first time that the atom bomb had been used. With one single bomb, the city of Hiroshima was obliterated. Another atom bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki on 9 August 1945. The city was destroyed. In the meantime, the Soviet Union had declared war on Japan and had started military operations against Japanese forces in Manchuria and Korea. On 14 August Japan conveyed its acceptance of the Allied demand to surrender but the actual surrender took place on 2 September 1945 With the Japanese surrender, the Second World War came to an end Resistance Movements. In all the countries of Europe which had fallen victim to the aggressions of fascist countries, the people organised resistance movements. In many countries, the governments capitulated before die aggressors without much fighting but people of those countries continued to resist the fascist rule. For example, when the government of France surrendered, the people of France organized a popular resistance movement against the German occupation A French army was also formed outside France under the leadership of General de Gaulle which actively participated in the war. Similar armies of other countries were also organized. Inside the occupied countries, the resistance movements set up guerilla forces Large-scale guerilla activities were organized in many countries such as Yugoslavia and Greece. In many countries there were large-scale uprisings. The heroic uprising of the Polish people in Warsaw is a glorious chapter in the history of the resistance movements. There were resistance movements within die fascist countries also. The fascist governments of Italy and Germany had physically exterminated hundreds of thousands of people wfi° were opposed to fascism However, many anti-fascists from these countries continued to fight against fascism inside and outside their countries The anti-fascist forces in Italy were very powerful and played an important role in the war against Mussolini and in fighting against German troops in Italy. In France, Greece, and under the leadership of Marshal Tito, in Yugoslavia, the people fought most heroically against fascist aggression. The socialists, the communists and other anti-fascists played a very important part in the resistance movements. Millions of civilian fighters against fascism perished in the war

The people in countries which were victims of aggression fought back valiantly. In Asia, the people of China had to bear the brunt of Japanese aggression from the early 1930s. The civil war that had broken out in China between the communists and the Kuomintang in the late 1920s was superseded by a massive national resistance against Japanese aggression. In other parts of Asia also which were occupied by Japan, for example in Indo-China, Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Burma, people organized themselves into strong resistance movements. The peoples who had been fighting against British a French imperialism expressed their support to the war against fascism. Fascism was organized barbarism and was not considered an ally by the peoples who were struggling for their independence. For example, the Indian National Congress while fighting for the independence of India from British rule expressed itself against fascism

The Damage Caused by the War. The Second World War was the most destructive war in history. The fascists had converted a large part of Europe into a vast graveyard and a slave-camp. The Nazis hatred of the Jews has been mentioned before Inside Germany and in those parts of Europe which came under German occupation before and during the war, Jews were picked up and six million of them were exterminated,. The labour of the countries occupied by Germany was utilized and most horrible labour camps were started Millions of people were transferred to what are known as concentration camps and killed Many of these camps such as those in Buchenwald, Oswiecim and Dachau were death camps where new ways of killing people were introduced. People were burnt in gas chambers. There were mass massacres Prisoners were made to dig mass graves, were shot and then buried in those graves. Certain lands of factories were located near the concentration camps which produced goods made from human skins and bones. The kinds of tortures and brutalities that the fascists, particularly the German Nazis, perpetrated had no precedent nor did the mass scale on which they were practised Many of these brutalities came fully to light when Germany lost the war, after the discovery of places of mass murders and from the descriptions of those in the concentration camps who had survived. The atrocities committed by the Japanese in countries occupied by them were no less brutal, inhuman medical experiments were conducted by Japanese doctors and scientists on human beings

The destruction caused by the war in terms of human lives has no precedent in history. Over 50 million people perished in the Second World War. Of them about 22 million were soldiers and over 28 million civilians. About 12 million people lost their lives in concentration camps or as a result of the terror unleashed by the fascists. Some countries lost a large percentage of their population For example, Poland lost six million people, about five million of them civilians, which was about20per cent of the Polish population. The Soviet Union in absolute terms suffered the worst — about 20 million people which was about 10 per cent of the population. Germany lost over six million people, about 10 per cent other population. Besides the human losses, the economy and material resources of-many countries were badly damaged. Many ancient cities were almost completely destroyed. The total cost of the Second World War has been estimated at the staggering figure of $ 1 384 900 000 000

Many new weapons of destruction were devised and used in the Second World War. The most dreadful of these was the atom bomb. The atom bomb was first devised in the United States during the Second World War. Scientists of many countries, including those who had come to the United States to escape the fascist tyranny in Europe, had helped in developing it. The project to develop the bomb was taken up when a number of scientists, suspecting that the Nazi Germany was developing the atom bomb, approached the US government. They had feared that if the Nazis developed the bomb, they would use it to terrorize the world into submission. The atom bomb was first tested in July 1945 By them Germany had already surrendered Many of those who had helped in its development appealed to the US government not to use it against Japan against whom the war was still continuing. They also warned of the danger of starting a race in the production of atomic weapons if the atom bomb was used against Japan. However, the government of the United States used the atom bombs against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as has already been mentioned. The two bombs killed over 320 000 people almost instantaneously and completely wiped out large parts of the two cities. The effects of these bombs on the health of those who survived and on their children continue to this day. The government of the United States justified the use of the atom bomb on the ground that it brought the Second World War immediately to a close and thus helped to save human lives which would have been lost if the war had continued. Many other people, including many scientists who had helped in making the bomb, condemned the use of the atom bomb After the defeat of Germany and the ending of the war in Europe, Japan was not in a position to continue the war and her capitulation was a matter of days Some scholars hold the view that the main reason for using the atom bomb was to establish the superiority of USA in the world after the war as at that time she alone possessed these weapons. In any case, the prediction of the scientists that the use of the atom bomb would lead to a race for producing atomic weapons came true. Within a few years after the Second World War, some other countries also developed atomic weapons. Also other nuclear weapons, thousands of times more destructive than the ones used against Japan, were developed which, if used, can completely destroy all human life on earth

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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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