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British Decolonization: A peaceful disengagement

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Par   •  11 Mars 2018  •  Dissertation  •  636 Mots (3 Pages)  •  595 Vues

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Dissertation :

British Decolonization: A peaceful disengagement


  • “first, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”, Mahatma Gandhi

For centuries, Great-Britain has built an Empire all around the world, to define it, the British is composed of all the countries and territories Great-Britain colonized throughout the years, from America to Asia. Then came the day where colonies wanted their independence, their freedom and right to govern for themselves, Decolonization. Decolonization is the process of countries to independence in terms of politics, economy, laws…

But this process hasn’t always been easy, sometimes it was peaceful and simple indeed, however this was not always the case and violence was often used as we are going to see later. In this essay we are going to answer the question of decolonization on was the British Empire decolonization, a peaceful and non-violent process?

In order to answer this question, we are first going to study the case of the non-violent actions and peaceful independences. Then, we will see that it was not always the case for every colonies and show the consequences of these violent decolonization. Lastly, we will study what is left from these former colonies and the commonwealth nowadays.


“first, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”. This famous quote from Mahatma Gandhi, one of the face of the decolonization, illustrates the history of the British Empire and its colonies. Indeed, if the country is not interesting, has no resources, other countries don’t pay attention to you. But when something interesting is discovered like gold or in case of war in strategic places, this is where the colonizing country come and fight to take other everything. “[…] then you win.”, during the decolonization 

Plan détaillé:

The process of decolonization is not really dated, a lot of different events and laws led to it. But I will study it from the Balfour Declaration created by Lord Balfour in 1926, this declaration gave total independence to all colonies that accept to be equal in status, pay allegiance to the crown and wants to be freely associated in The Commonwealth of nations. The creation of the Commonwealth of Nations was officially acknowledged in 1931 by the Statute of Westminster and established full independence for 6 dominions (Canada, Newfoundland, Australia, the Irish Free State, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa). This was the beginning of independence and decolonization.

  1. Peace

It is true that decolonization is not always easy as both parts (the colonized country and Great Britain in this case) doesn’t agree on certain conditions or decisions. For Great Britain it was a long and difficult way but sometimes this process was very fast and well-done.

  1. Africa (Western and Southern)

One of the best example of peaceful decolonization is Western Africa. In Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and the Gold Coast

  1. Rhodésie (Zimbabwé)
  1. India
  1. Clement Atlee divide India and declare Independence
  2. Acts to promote exchange, union and peace

  1. Violence

  1. India
  1. Civil disobedience and Gandhi
  2. Massacre of Amristar (1919)
  1. Ireland
  1. Easter rising
  2. Anglo-Irish War
  3. Irish Civil War
  1. Egypt
  1. Suez Crisis
  1. AfricaRepression with Chrurchill and Anthony Eden (Eastern Africa)
  1. Kenya
  2. Uganda
  3. South Africa and White Nationalism (Aparteid and Nelson Mandela)
  1. Former colonies and the commonwealth
  1. Declaration of Commonwealth Principles
  2. The Commonwealth provides technical, educational and professional assistance
  3. Commonwealth game Trying to unite nations
  1. Division and tensions
  1. Immigration in Britain
  2. Racial segregation replaced by an economical segregation in South Africa
  3. War between countries


La stratégie adoptée par la Grande-Bretagne lui a permis dans l'ensemble d'opérer une décolonisation dans la douceur. Toutefois, la violence n'est pas toujours évitée (Inde et surtout Kenya). Certains pays ont refusé d'ailleurs d'entrer dans le jeu de la Grande-Bretagne en n'adhérant pas au Commonwealth (cas de la Birmanie ou du Soudan)


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