Independence movements in the 20th Century | World History | Khan Academy


– As we’ve seen in other
videos, this is a map of the European possessions,
especially the Western European possessions in much of
the world as we enter into the 20th century before World War I. You see significant
possessions by the French not just in Africa but also in Indochina. You see the British also
have significant possessions in Africa, but also in Asia. Germany, Belgium, Italy also
have imperial possessions. Now as we go through World War I, that changes the map of
Europe fairly dramatically and we talk about that in other videos but some of the major outcomes,
at least when we’re talking about imperialism is that
the Austro-Hungarian Empire gets broken up, changing
the map of Eastern Europe, the Ottoman Empire gets broken up, with much of the Middle
East now under control by the British or French
and of course Russian exits World War I having had the
Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and is now the Soviet Union. As we get into the period after
World War I, we start to see momentum gather in terms
of independence movements, in terms of this imperial
structure breaking down. In 1922, Egypt becomes
independent of the United Kingdom. Iraq, which was part of the
Ottoman Empire for centuries was put under British
control after World War I and in 1932, it gets its independence. Then we enter into World War
II, which is an incredibly traumatic time, not just for
Europe but for the world. And as we exit out of World War II, we see further momentum
being gained for the various anti-colonial independence movements. Indonesia, which was
originally a Dutch colony but during World War II, gets
under the control of Japan as part of its imperial possessions, but as we get into August of
1945, the Japanese are bombed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
effectively ending World War II and the Indonesians are able
to claim their independence nominally now from the Dutch. Then from 1944 to 1946,
further possessions that were originally part
of the Ottoman Empire but after World War I
became under the control of the French and
British, Syria and Jordan, gain their independence. Syria from France and
Jordan from United Kingdom. And then in 1947, you
have the independence of the Indian subcontinent. This is a particularly noteworthy struggle under the leadership of Mohandas Gandhi, often known as Mahatma Gandhi,
mahatma meaning great soul. And it’s a peaceful resistance that’s able to get independence. Now the subcontinent is partitioned into what will become Pakistan and India. For the most part, areas
that were majority Muslim became Pakistan and you can
see this region in the west, and this region in the
east which would later get its independence in
1971 and become Bangladesh, and then for the most part, regions that had Hindu
majorities became India. This wasn’t a clean partition
because there were some territories, princely states,
areas where the majority was not clear that
became under contention. Kashmir, even to this day,
is a point of contention between India and Pakistan. Much of the Indian
subcontinent was very mixed with some areas being 60% Hindu
or 40% Muslim or vice versa so that catalyzed one of
the largest migrations in human history, the number
of people changing borders, sometimes becoming quite
sectarian and quite bloody. But even after that, India is still one of the largest Muslim countries. The founder of Pakistan is
Muhammad Ali Jinnah and India’s first prime minister and
both of them were active in the independence movement,
is Jawaharlal Nehru, who will become famous for
the non-aligned movement, for newly liberated
countries to not want to side on either side of the Cold
War and he actually coins the term third world
which is now associated with developing countries,
but when it was coined, it meant, we don’t wanna be first world aligned with the western
capitalist countries, we don’t wanna be second world, aligned with the communist block, we wanna be independent
or the third world. As we get into the late
’40s and early ’50s, we also see an independence
movement in French Indochina. These countries will eventually
become North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos, and
Cambodia, and a significant figure here is Ho Chi Minh who will
become a very prominent figure as the French Indochina
War eventually evolves into the Vietnam War, bringing
the United States into it as part of its Cold War
containment strategy. The 1950s also see significant
independence movements throughout Africa. In 1951, Libya gains independence. From 1956 to 1958, Tunisia,
Morocco, Ghana, Guinea, all gain independence. Of particular note is Ghana,
originally called Gold Coast. The first president and prime
minister is Kwame Nkrumah and he’s known as one of the founders of the Organization of African Unity and he wanted to see where a
world where as these African countries became
independent, they unified, seeing that Africa would
have much more power as a unified entity than
as a fragmented one. And so he was a major promoter of the idea of pan-Africanism. Now the independence
movements only accelerated as we go into the 1960s. 1960 in particular was a year
of many independence movements but you can see here, most
of Africa was independent as we exit the 1960s. In blue here, listed the
French colonies that gained independence in this time period. In this salmon color,
the British colonies, and in yellow, the Belgian colonies. There would continue to be
change over the next few decades but the world starts to look very similar to the world as we recognize it today. Now I’ll leave you with a
speech that Jawaharlal Nehru made in Washington DC in 1956, which highlights his
desire for nonalignment. “The preservation of peace
forms the central aim “of India’s policy. “It is in the pursuit of this
policy that we have chosen “the path of nonalignment in any military “or like pact of alliance. “Nonalignment does not mean
passivity of mind or action, “lack of faith or conviction,
it does not mean submission “to what we consider evil. “It is a positive and dynamic approach “to such problems that confront us. “We believe that each country
has not only the right “to freedom but also to decide “its own policy and way of life.” And this is a big deal because remember, he’s giving this speech in
Washington DC which would love him to clearly align
with the western block, with the capitalist countries
led by the United States but after working so hard
for their independence, many of these nations, like
India, were not eager to lose their autonomy and realign
with more powerful countries. To close out this video, I’ll
leave you with an interesting question or a series of
interesting questions. Why do we see a good chunk of
the world become independent in the second half of the 20th century? Was it that the imperial
countries no longer had the energy or the power or the will
to control these colonies? Was it something happened
in the psychology of their peoples, they just
went through a traumatic war, and they realized that
they weren’t interested in controlling the
destiny of other people? Was it due to the efficacy
of some of these independence struggles, like the nonviolence
movement led by Gandhi? Or maybe some of the more
violent independence struggles like what we saw in
Algeria against the French. But needless to say, the
world fundamentally changed in this time period. When we were entering
into the 20th century, we had an imperial world,
especially controlled by the Western European powers. After two traumatic wars,
imperialism comes to an end and we see the world as we know it today.

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