Towards the end of the middle-ages, Feudalism as an economic system had started to decline. This decline was further increased by the Renaissance and other developments. The changing life had created a demand for many types of goods which were previously considered as luxury goods. The methods of production had undergone a massive change and improvement. There was a revolution in the techniques and organization of the production system. This new type of economy was called an Industrial Economy. A mechanized factory system was created that produced goods on a mass scale and at a rapidly diminishing cost of production. This new system came from the second half of the 18th century in Europe.
Economic life, under Feudalism was static as production was done for local consumption and market was limited. However, the new system of society- Capitalism- was moved by the aim of profit.
Under Capitalism, the means of production were owned by private hands, with the objective of making more and more profits. The workers, under this system, own nothing but their labor, which is employed for a fixed wage. The wealth of the capitalist is used to invest in the production system, to make greater profits. Goods, under capitalism, are produced for sale in the market.
Under Feudalism, societies were divided into classes- Lords and Serfs, of which some were privileged while others were exploited. A man’s life was determined at the time of his birth, depending on the class into which he was born.
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 ruled in the name of Divine Rights. Boundaries of the states were irrational. There were many kinds of states- Empires, feudal estates and city-states. Territories within a state were not necessarily contiguous. Similarly, territories inhabited by a homogeneous people were divided into a number of states, some under the local rulers, some under church and some as part of an empire. People had blind faith in the Church and its dogmas and rituals.
The Middle Class
Middle classes emerged during the later middle ages, and played an important role in bringing Renaissance in Europe. During this time, middle classes were obstructed by the outdated political system based on privilege.
With the industrial revolution, the strength of the middle class increased, and the older system moved towards its demise. The spread of the industrial revolution in many countries was slow because of the backward political system. Another important class that emerged after the industrial revolution was the working class, or the industrial workers.
The period after 16th century witnessed an intellectual revolution. Renaissance inaugurated an era of questioning the established beliefs. This covered every aspect of thought and belief. Great progress was achieved in various sciences, which also undermined the existing beliefs. Renaissance stands for an intellectual, artistic, literary and scientific movement which widened the mental horizons of man. The new ideas were characterized by rationalism and increasingly concerned secular affairs. Because of the growing emphasis on reason, the period of 18th century in European history is called the Age of Reason or the Age of Enlightenment. Renaissance led Europe out of the middle ages and into the modern times.
Gradually, the beliefs that permitted- people to be divided into classes on the basis of birth, and the hold of the Church in the sphere of ideas, were undermined. The new ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity gave birth to the ideas of freedom, democracy and equality. Simultaneously, there also emerged 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.
Renaissance brought about a fundamental change in the attitude of mankind towards itself and the world in which it lived. This point of view is commonly called Humanism. It focused attention on the things of this world and hence the exaltation of human nature. The natural and human were given precedence over the supernatural and theological. It revived man’s power of original thinking on scientific lines. Thus, intellectualism, humanism and free thinking became the essence of Renaissance. Men realized that they had control over their lives, and became confident and ready to adopt changes.
Renaissance did not usher in the era of democracy, but it promoted the spirit of nationalism, paving the way for the nation-states. There emerged movements in many parts of Europe and America to overthrow the existing autocratic political systems and replace them by democratic political system.
It was a protest movement against certain obnoxious practices of the Roman Catholic Church, and an attempt to reform it. The Protestants and reformers soon separated themselves from the Catholic Church and started new Protestant Churches in the 16th century. Thus, Christians, in Europe, got divided into- Catholics and Protestants. Thus, Reformation acted as the final attack on the medieval order, and marked the beginning of the new era in Europe.
The immediate and decisive effect of the Reformation was the transfer of power from Church to the state. Monarchies were strengthened at the cost of Papacy. National governments passed laws limiting the intervention of the church in the affairs of the state. The Monarchs became the supporters of the Reformation movement, in order to weaken the church and to strengthen their own position. They started to object to the idea of a universal church and favored the idea of a national church.
Reformation also strengthened the idea of trade and capitalism. Certain Protestants encouraged economic individualism, and opposed the restrictions placed by the clergy.
The period between the 16th century and the middle of 18th century has been characterized as the Mercantile Era. Mercantilism grew along with the nation-state. In the 17th century, great emphasis was put on the importance of maintaining an excess of exports over imports, so that a country without gold or silver mines could obtain a continuous net inflow of the precious metals, which are essential for a nation’s wealth and strength. To control the flow of foreign goods (imports) into the state, the home government charged high tariffs. This added to the cost of foreign goods and discouraged the home people from buying them.
However, the mercantile monopolies were a hindrance to the development of industrialized capitalism. The desire to produce more and at low cost to make higher profits led to the Industrial Revolution, and further growth of capitalism. The Industrial Revolution began in England in about 1750. It was from then that machines began to replace the work of men and animals. Thus, industrial revolution was also referred to as the Machine age.
The first stage of the industrial revolution lasted from the middle of the 18th century to the mid-19th century, and included mechanization of only one consumer industry- cotton industry- and that of certain core and heavy industries like mining and metallurgy, and the development of steam engine.
The second stage of the industrial revolution commenced from second half of the 19thcentury. It is characterized by the more direct application of science to industry and by the development of the mass production techniques.
The kind of machines that were produced brought rapid changes in the lives of people. It changed men’s way of living and thinking. The Guild system gave way to the Factory system. Machines and Steam power replaced the simple tools. New cities sprang up and artisans and dispossessed peasants joined these establishments for work.
Production was carried out in factories, with the help of machines. These facilities of production were owned and managed by the capitalists. The capitalist brought the workers under one roof, for the purpose of production. Everything belonged to the owner of the factory, including the finished product and the labor of the worker.
Why England first??
England in the 18th century was the most favorable for an industrial revolution. England had accumulated vast profits and capital, through her overseas trade. England has emerged as an unrivaled power among the European nations. Her colonies ensured a regular supply of raw material.
Secondly, after the end of serfdom people were no longer tied to the land, and were free to do any job. Also, the Enclosure Movement, that began in 18th century, consolidated the large land-holdings of the big landlords. This ousted the small peasants, who became unemployed. Thus, there was no shortage of labor force to work in factories.
Thirdly, as a result of the revolutions of 17th century, a stable system of government had been established, which no longer dominated by the feudal classes. Thus, commercial classes had more political power and less danger of government interference.
Fourthly, England had plenty of natural resources, like Iron and coal, which were essential for industries. Fifthly, England developed a large shipping industry, and had no problem of transportation.
No other country enjoyed all these advantages in that period. Thus, England became the home for the industrial revolution, and became the Workshop of the World.
Textile Industry Revolution
In the 18th century, the English East India Company was sending cotton cloth from India to England. Calico cloth and Dacca muslin and Kashmir Shawls were in great demand in England. English businessmen began to import cotton and make it into cloth in England. However, since the workers using old-fashioned spinning-wheels and handlooms were not able to keep up with the increasing demand, a series of inventions came along in the industry.
Invention of Power loom in 1785 helped in making finer and cheaper threads. James Watt invented the Steam Engine in 1769, which made possible to produce goods at a big scale. The invention of Steam Engine revolutionized production. Later, the invention of Blast Furnace made possible the production of steel cheaply.
In 1830, the first railway train began to carry passengers and freight in England. This was followed by a great wave of railroad construction in England and US. In 1853, first railroad was laid in India. Similarly, the need to transport raw materials and goods led to the improvement of roads and digging of canals.
To extend the facilities for transport by water, which were much cheaper then overland transport, England began connecting rivers and lakes with canals.
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 spread to all other countries.
There were changes in the farming methods to produce more food and cash crops. There was a process of Farm Mechanization, like- steel plough and harrow, mechanical drill for seeding and machines for reaping and threshing. Farmers adopted intensive manuring and practice of Crop rotation to maintain soil fertility.
Under the Enclosure Movement, land-owners in England began to enlarge their farms. But in doing so, they quite unfairly got possession of the peasant’s small holdings along with his own. Since, the big land-owners controlled the Parliament, they got the laws passed that enabled them to do these things. The result was that the peasants were forced off the land. They were forced to move to the new industrial towns, to work in the factories.
Thus, in a little more than 50 years after the use of machines began, England had become the world’s leading industrial nation.
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.
⦁ France, by 1850, was developing the iron industry though she had to import both iron ore and coal.
⦁ 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.
⦁ 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.
⦁ 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.
⦁ 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.
As England was the first country with industrial revolution, she gained almost complete control over world markets. Other countries were not able to compete with England’s low prices. To check these low priced goods from invading their markets, many countries introduced protective tariffs on imported British manufactured goods.
Race for Raw Material
Search for markets and sources of raw materials resulted in international rivalries. First England, and then other countries, began to look for new markets. Towards the end of 19th century, Japan joined the race. This divided the world into colonies- spheres of influence or territories- for economic and political domination by industrialized nations. Thus emerged imperialism, under which strong nations subordinated the economies of the countries under their domination. They imposed their own terms. This race for colonies caused many international conflicts.
Capitalism and Colonialism
Colonialism directly served the purpose of Capitalism. The discovery of new lands and establishment of colonies resulted in unprecedented expansion of trade and wealth by the merchants. The trade included, not only goods, but also humans, in the form of slaves. The process of colonization was accompanied by a plunder of the wealth of the people who were colonized.
Mines, in the newly conquered areas in Americas, were exploited for precious metals. Native people were employed on inhuman conditions. Colonization of Asia caused similar havoc and devastation. The Plunder of colonizers often resulted in famines and scarcity.
Villages to Cities
Before the industrial revolution most of the population of the world lived in villages, and depended on agriculture. Towns and cities that had arisen, since the beginning of civilization, were centers of craft and political-administrative control. Trade was carried between villages and towns, affecting a small percentage of the population. However, with the growth of industrialization the picture was completely transformed. The centre of economic life now shifted to the cities. These new cities and towns were important as a centre of industry, rather than political and administrative centre.
The establishments in the cities were not connected with land directly. In many countries, though still an overwhelming majority lives in villages 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, in the smoky industrial towns and city slums. Life for a villager in the city resulted in many social strains. Many social bonds were dissolved.
On the other hand, man became freer to develop their capabilities. Industrial revolution brought countries and people together. However, the relation between the countries and peoples were not based on equality, as the industrially advanced counties began to control the economy of counties which were not industrially developed. Still, industrial revolution created an international consciousness among peoples because the developments in one place began to influence the developments in other places.
•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.
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?
During 17th to 19th century, 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.
Colonization of America was made possible by the voyages and discoveries of the early explorers from Europe. In the 16thcentury, European countries began to colonize America. The geographical discovery of Americas led to the destruction of the civilizations of the Incas and the Aztecs. During the 16thcentury, the work of Colonization in America was left almost entirely to Spain. Their programme to colonize was concentrated into South America. As the Spanish empire grew, explorers forced the native population into slavery and to convert them to Christianity. Soon, other European nations started the colonization of North America
In North America, colonies were set up by France, Holland, Spain and England. In the 18th century, England drove France out of the eastern part of the continent and Canada. England had earlier driven out Dutch from New Netherlands, changing its name to New York. By the mid-18th century, England had 13 colonies in North America along the Atlantic coast. Soon, England and France became the major contesting colonial powers in America.
There were 13 British colonies in America on the Atlantic coast of North America founded between 1607 and 1733. These were the colonies that later rebelled against the colonial rule, and came to be known as the USA. A large number of immigrants from Europe settled in these colonies. Along with the increasing population, the colonies expanded westwards.
England and France became arch rivals in these colonies. They sought to expand at the cost of the other. The 13 colonies of the Britain were surrounded by the French colonies from North and West. In early 1750s, French expansion into the Ohio river valley brought the two into armed conflicts. This culminated into the Seven Years War in 1756-63. In this war, the French got the support from the native tribes of America, while the 13 colonies sided with Britain. The 13 colonies’ representatives met at Albany Congress in 1754 and advocated for a union of the British colonies for their security and defense. The Albany Congress also adopted the proposal of Benjamin Franklin to establish a colonial union. George Washington, the first President of US, played an important role in the war.
Causes of the American Revolution
The Commercial Revolution, which commenced in the middle 18th century led to a considerable expansion in American imports and exports. Each colony, in America, 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 18thcentury, the colonists found the laws, which the English government imposed upon them, more objectionable. Thus, the idea of being an independent nation grew and developed into the Revolutionary War in which the colonists gained their independence.
The main causes of the American Revolution can be summarized as:
On the eve of American revolution, there was a stark difference between the political life in America and Britain. The relative weakness of the aristocracy, the existence of a large body of land owning farmers, the absence of a large indigenous population and the possibility of acquiring land by westward movement imparted a strong republican flavor to the politics of the 18th century America. Also, the British legacy of parliamentary politics and constitutional monarchy inspired the American Revolution to a great extent. The settlers in the American lands were independent minded and intrepid.
Much political power has been delegated to America from Britain. In these colonies, people voted for the representatives to make up popular institutions. There were arrangements for military governors in most of the colonies. Thus, the stage was already set for parliamentary politics in America, unlike the Asian and African colonies.
The colonial policy of England 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 the use of non-British ships in their trade. Certain products, like 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. Colonies were also restricted to start certain industries, like iron works and textiles. Thus, they were forced to import these goods from England. English also angered the colonists by issuing a proclamation to prevent them from moving west into the new lands. English aristocrats had bought lands in America and got rents from the farmers.
As a result of continuous wars in Europe, the English government was burdened with debt. It needed money. Thus, in 1765, English Parliament passed the Stamp Act which imposed taxes on all business transactions in the American colonies. This Act aroused violent resentment among all sections of the colonists and led them to boycott English goods. The colonists claimed that since English Parliament had no representatives from the colonies, it had no right to levy taxes on them
American revolutionaries were inspired by the ideas of the English philosophers of the 17th century, like- Locke, Harrington and Milton, who believed that men had certain fundamental rights which no government could infringe. American thinkers, like Thomas Jefferson, were also inspired by the French philosophers. Jefferson asserted the colonists’ right to rebellion. Similarly, support for independence was forcefully expressed by Thomas Paine, who detested the inequalities of English society. The religious revival, known as the Great Awakening, also weakened the traditional authority and the position of the gentry and the established Anglican clergy. All this paved way for a thriving intellectual life in America.
No Taxation Without Representation
The leaders of the Massachusetts colony called together representatives from other colonies to consider their common problems. In this Massachusetts Assembly, they agreed and declared that English Parliament had no right to levy taxes on them. ‘No Taxation Without Representation’ became their slogan. They threatened to stop the imports of British goods. This led English to repeal the Stamp Act, but the English Parliament still insisted that it had the right to levy taxes. The Parliament, then, imposed a tax on consumer goods coming into the colonies, such as paper, glass, tea and paint. In protest, the colonists cut down the English imports by one-half. The English, thus, 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 water. This incident came to be 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.
The Declaration of Independence
The representatives of the 13 American colonies met as a group, in what is called as- the First Continental Congress, at Philadelphia in 1774. The congress appealed to the English King to remove restrictions on industries and trade, and not to impose any taxes without their consent. The King, in return, declared their action a mutiny and ordered troops to be sent to suppress it. The colonies then planned for military defense with local troops. In 1775, the first battle of the revolution was fought when a thousand soldiers met the colonial militia in Independence.
The Declaration, on July 4, 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, of 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 free and independent states’.
Up to this time, the colonists had been fighting for their rights as Englishmen. After the Declaration of 1776, they fought for their right to be an independent nation.
War of Independence
George Washington was put in command of the American forces. The First Battle took place in and around Boston. The 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.
Meanwhile, trouble was emerging in Britain at home. There was a threat of rebellion in Ireland; some leader in the English Parliament were opposing the war with the colonists.
The war ended in 1781, when the English commander-Cornwallis (the same Cornwallis who later became Governor-General of India)- surrendered. Two years later, in 1783, treaty of Paris was signed, whereby the English recognized the independence of the 13 colonies.
When the war of independence started, each of the 13 colonies was a separate state, with its own army, boundaries, custom duties and finances. They only cooperated 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 set up a federal system under which powers were divided between a central/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 10 amendments which guaranteed many rights to the American people. The most noted of these are- the 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 American Revolution
The ideas of the American Revolution regarding the equality of all men, and the inalienable rights spread everywhere. Thomas Paine later participated in the French Revolution. By its example, the American Revolution inspired many revolutions in Europe 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. However, this republic was not truly democratic. The right to vote was limited. Negroes, most of them were still slaves, American Indians, and women still had no vote. Election laws in most states favored men of property for many years. But progress towards democracy had begun. In some states, State Religion was abolished, along with the religious qualifications for holding public offices.
American Revolution not only ended feudal forms of land tenure but supported more enlightened attitude towards the family. Women gained the right to hold property separately and to make contracts and do business in the absence of their husbands. The equal rights of widows and daughters were recognized in matters concerning inheritance and possession of property. Women also got the right to divorce their husband.
Expansion and Civil War
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 1850s, after a war with Mexico, the US had extended its boundaries to the Pacific Ocean. People had continued to move west. The westward expansion of the US 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 from1861 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 the discrimination against the Black people and their struggle to make equal rights a reality continued.
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.
The political and social system of France before the French Revolution was known as the ‘Ancient Regime’ or the ‘Old Regime‘. French society was divided into Estates, or classes. All rights and status flowed from the social institutions, which were divided into three orders. There was no national citizenship.
The first two estates, of clergy and nobility, were the privileged classes. They were exempted from all taxes, and controlled all high-ranking posts in administration and army. These two classes owned huge estates, which gave them disproportionate shares. Many of them received liberal grants and gifts from the monarch, from time to time. Thus, life of the nobility and clergy was characterized by extravagance and luxury.
Consisted of the religious leaders, who were in charge of the Church. They constituted only 1% of the population, but controlled about 10% of the land. Their assets came from the products produced on their land, and in the form of rent from peasants. The clergy had the power to levy a 10% tax called ‘Tithe‘, which was meant to run the day to day affairs of the Church.
Constituted about 2% of the total population of France. They enjoyed the privileges of the feudal order. They extracted forced labour from the peasants, enjoyed exemption from the Taille, or the property tax; monopolized all offices in the army, navy and the church.
The Third Estate
The rest of the population comprised the Third Estate. They were the common people and comprised about 95% of the total population of France, and formed the backbone of the country. They were the unprivileged class, but paid the largest share of the taxes. However, there were many differences in their wealth and style of living. It comprised of- the bankers, merchants, lawyers, doctors, journalists, professors, artisans, upper middle class, bourgeoisie and peasants.
The largest section of the Third Estate consisted of the Peasants, who comprised almost 80% of the total population of France. Most of the peasants were free, unlike the serfs of the middle ages. But, their lives were wretched. Many owned their own lands, but most of them were landless or had very small holdings. They could earn hardly enough for subsistence. Peasants had to pay rent to their feudal lords; tithes to the church; and taxes to the King. The plight of the tenants and share-croppers was worse. After rent, the peasants’ share was reduced to one-third or one-fourth of what he produced. Certain changes in the agriculture in the 18th century further worsened the conditions of the peasants. The burden of taxation was intolerable. Besides taxes, there was also ‘forced labor’ which had been a feudal privilege of the lord and which was more resorted to for public works.
The Middle Class
Not all the people of the Third Estate worked on land. There were also artisans and workers, who worked in the cities and towns. There were also the middle classes and the bourgeoisie. The middle 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 was the most important class. It was the forerunner of the builders of the industries which were to transform economic and social life in the 19th century. Merchant-business groups had rapidly became rich, due to the trade with French colonies in America. However, the middle class had no political rights. It had no social status and its members had to suffer many humiliations.
Workers and Artisans
The condition of the city poor- workers and artisans- was inhuman in the 18th century. They were looked upon as inferior creatures without any rights. No worker could leave his job for another without the consent of his employer. They had toil for long hours, and pay heavy taxes. Thus, the oppressed workers formed many secret societies and often resorted to strikes and rebellions. This group, later, became the mainstay of the French Revolution.
At the head of the French state stood the King, an absolute monarch. Before the outbreak of the revolution, the Bourbon dynasty ruled over France. Louis XVI was a man of mediocre intelligence and indifferent to work of the government.
His indecisiveness and conservatism led some sections of the society to view him as a symbol of perceived tyranny. His queen squandered money on festivities and interfered in state appointments. The King was biased. The state was always faced with financial troubles. Keeping a huge army and constantly waging wars made the conditions worse, bringing the state to a state of bankruptcy.
The system of taxation in France before the revolution was grossly erroneous and regressive. It was full of discrimination, nepotism and favoritism. The inequality in taxation and its oppressiveness became one of the major causes of the revolution.
France witnessed a population explosion in the 18th century. The growth of population in France was without a simultaneous growth in the food production. This period witnessed frequent food shortages. Also, from 1787 to 1789, was a period of bad harvest. There were no appropriate arrangements by the government, to face the short shortages. This led to scarcity of food and high inflation. There was also large scale unemployment.
Background: Intellectual Movements in France
In every revolution, revolutionary thinking and ideas precede revolutionary actions. The 18th century France produced many revolutionary thinkers.
Age of Reason
Because of the ideas expressed by the French intellectuals, the18th century has been called the Age of Reason. While Christianity taught that man was born to suffer, the French thinkers asserted that man was born to be happy. Happiness can be achieved if reason is used 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. Faith was put in reason.
Attack on Clergy
Clergy were the first to be attacked by the french philosophers. A long series of scientific advances helped in the campaign against the clergy. Voltaire, though not an atheist, believed that all religions are absurd and contrary to reason. Atheist and Materialist thinkers gained popularity. They believed that man’s destiny lay in this world rather than in heaven. Church was attacked because it supported autocratic monarchy and the old order.
Physiocrats and Laissez Faire
French economists of the time were called Physiocrats. They believed in Laissez Faire. They asserted that taxes must 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 of the upper classes.
Idea of Democracy
Montesquieu described the kind of government that best suited to man and outlined the principles of constitutional monarchy. He also explained the need for having a separation of powers. Jean Jacques Rousseau asserted the doctrine of popular sovereignty and democracy. He talked about 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. He advocated the need of a 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
The Estate General
In 1789, Louis XVI’s need for money compelled him to agree to a meeting of the Estates General- the old feudal assembly- at Versailles. He wanted to obtain its consent for new loans and taxes. All the three Estates were represented in it, but each one held a separate meeting. Estate General was the legislative Assembly of the three Estates. It functioned as an advisory body to the king, by presenting petitions, and consulting on the fiscal policy. Each estate had a single vote. The basic weakness of the estate general was its discriminatory representation. Despite having more than 95% proportion of the French society, the Third Estate was given only one vote.
Representatives of the Third Estate wanted a uniform taxation for all. But the First and the Second Estate were adamant about their special privileges. There were also differences about the manner of voting. The Third Estate wanted voting on the basis of head count. These differences often resulted into deadlocks.
On June 17, 1789, the members of the Third Estate, claiming to represent 96% of the nation’s population, declared themselves the National Assembly. Soon, they met in a tennis court to work out a constitution. Their solidarity forced the King to recognize the National Assembly.
Fall of Bastille
Cautioned by it, Louis prepared to break the Assembly, and called the troops. Thousands of people gathered, and surrounded the Bastille Palace, which was a state prison and a symbol of brutality and totalitarian power. On July 14, 1789, they broke open the doors, freeing all prisoners. The Bastille symbolized the fall of the autocracy. Since then, July 14th is considered as the Declaration of Independence of the French People, and is celebrated as a national holiday in France.
The National Assembly
After the fall of Bastille, the revolt spread to other towns and cities, and to countryside. In a landmark session of the National Assembly, on August 4, 1789, the nobles voluntarily surrendered their feudal rights and privileges. All the class distinctions were abolished and the principle of Equality was adopted. The National Assembly adopted the famous Declaration. It specified the equality of all men before the law, equality of all citizens for all public offices, freedom from arrest and punishment without proven cause, freedom to speech and press. More importantly, it provided for an equitable distribution of the burdens of taxation and rights of private property.
A new Constitution was adopted in 1791 in France. It overthrew the absolute monarchy, along with the relics of feudalism. Thus, the estate system ended in France. Under the new system, constitutional Monarchy was established in France and the sovereignty resided in the people. The Declaration of Rights was an integral part of the Constitution. Legislative and Executive powers were rigidly separated. The King was the head of the executive, while the legislative powers were entrusted to the legislative assembly. The Bishops and Priests were made as state employees, to be elected by popular votes.
The neighboring countries were alarmed by the intensification of the ideas of revolution in France. Soon, people of France were involved in a war to defend the Revolution and the nation. Many nobles and clerics fled the country and encouraged the foreign governments to intervene in France. The King and Queen also tried to flee but were captured and made captives.
Reign of Terror
The old National Assembly was replaced by a Legislative Assembly. It took over the property of those who had fled. The Legislative Assembly declared a war against the Austrian Emperor, when he refused to renounce treaty directed against the French nation. Soon, France was fighting against Austria, Prussia and Italy.
France had destroyed feudalism and monarchy and founded new institutions based on liberty and equality. The King and Queen were tried and executed in 1793. This was followed by war against Britain, Holland, Spain and Hungary.
In France, a radical group- the Jacobeans- came to power, under the leadership of Robespierre. They abolished Kingship from France and set up a republic. Fearing that the revolution was in danger, it took some strong measures to crush forces inimical to the revolution. In 14 months, some 17000 people were tried and executed. Thus, some people refer to it as the Reign of Terror. Soon, leaders and people of France put an end to the Reign of Terror and executed Robespierre. This change of government has been referred to as Thermidorian Reaction. This was mainly led by the middle class.
Soon, a new constitution was drawn up in 1795. it was realised that the concentration of executive power in one hand could be detrimental for the public liberties. Thus, the new constitution provided the executive power in the hand of Committee of Five Directors. They remained in power from 1795-1799, and this period was known as the Rule of Directory. However, the Directory was unable to provide substantial solutions to the problems of France. Counter revolutionaries and royalists were emerging in power. In 1797, partial bankruptcy was announced. Thus, the Directory failed miserably.
Rise of Napoleon
The army became increasingly powerful, under the leadership of Napoleon. He became a national hero. This led to the rise of the Napoleon, who was soon declared as the Emperor of the French Republic. The policies of Napoleon fulfilled the aspirations of many people. Thus, he was readily accepted as the monarch.
Rise of Napoleon was made possible only by the revolution, which had abolished the Monarchy and the estate system. Due to the introduction of the merit based system, Napoleon was able to emerge as a national hero. That is why, Napoleon has been referred to as the ‘Child of the Revolution‘.
Napoleon desired to conquer the whole world. However, the biggest hurdle in realization of this dream was the arch rival Britain. Britain maintained a strong navy which France could not rival. Napoleon tried to pressure Britain by ruining her trade and commerce upon which her power depended. France ordered a blockade of the British Isles. He ordered that any ship of any country which should touch at a British port was liable to be seized and treated as a prize. This is called as Napoleon’s Continental System. However, this system proved more detrimental to France. The prices of goods went up in France.
As a result, the subject allies of France became discontented with Napoleon and his rule became hateful to the masses. Continental system proved as a great blunder of Napoleon. He had to adopt a policy of organized aggression upon the continental countries, which led to a succession of costly wars, exhausting his men and money.
The ascendency of Napoleon in France as a result of the French Revolution proved to be watershed in the history of Europe. The political existence of Napoleonic Empire was short but it was an event with intense implications in the history of Europe. It brought Europe into contact with the ideas and institutions of France, and thereby shook the foundations of the social and political structure of Europe. Napoleon was welcomed by the people of the other countries as a liberator. From 1792 to 1815, France was engaged in war almost continuously. Some historians have termed it as an international civil war because it was fought between revolutionary France and countries upholding the old order.
Between 1793 and 1796, French armies conquered almost all of the Western Europe. However, when Napoleon pressed on to Malta, Egypt and Syria, in 1797-99, French were ousted from Italy. Napoleon defeated Austria in 1805; Prussia in 1806; and Russia in 1807. However, on the sea, French could not score against the stronger British army. Finally, an alliance of various European nations defeated France at Leipzig in 1813, and occupied Paris. Napoleon was again defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815, by the Seventh Coalition of the European powers. The coalition forces defeated France and restored King Louis XVIII to the French throne.
Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia emerged as the dominant power in Europe again. Absolute monarchy was restored in France. The immediate task before the victor nations was reconstruction of Europe according to the old order.
Congress of Vienna
The peace settlement, which involved all Europe, took place at the Congress of Vienna. Major role was played by four nations- Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia. The task of the Congress was determined by 3 principles:
⦁ The Balance of Power which would provide effective safeguards for the future peace of Europe. It meant that the Congress envisaged preventing the extensive expansion of any one great power in Europe;
⦁ Principle of Legitimacy whereby pre-revolutionary conditions were to be restored, and to prevent political revolutions in Europe. Goal was to maintain status quo and the old order; and,
⦁ The rewards to the victors and retribution to the defeated.
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.
Since France was the epicenter of Revolution, the final settlement of Congress redistributed the territories in such a manner as to prevent any one of them from becoming too powerful. France was encircled with the strong European powers. This was formally done under the principle of ‘Security‘. States near, or adjacent, to France were enlarged to act as a buffer against France.
Criticism: Congress of Vienna was with many faults. One of the strongest criticisms pointed is that it disregarded the nationalistic sentiments, which were well established during the time of its making. Instead of unifying territories and their people by shared and common language and culture, the Congress established boundaries from the purview of national interests of the victorious nations, for maintaining the balance of power. The consequences of this were soon witnessed in the form of a series of revolutions that took place in Europe.
It also gave an unsighted support and encouragement to the traditional Conservative Order, which favored peace and stability at the cost of liberty and civil rights. This stifled the social progress of the Congress.
Concert of Europe
The Concert of Europe was formulated in 1815 as a mechanism to enforce the decisions of the Congress of Vienna. The proposal of periodic meetings to solve international issues by the four powers came to be known as Concert of Europe. It consisted of the Quadruple Alliance- Russia, Prussia, Austria and Great Britain. Its main priorities were to establish a balance of power, thereby preserving the territorial status quo, and to protect ‘legitimate‘governments.
The Concert was one of the first serious attempts in modern times to establish an international society to maintain peace. This made it significant in the world history, even though it lasted only for a few decades.
Significance of French Revolution
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 were bought by the middle classes. Land of the nobles was confiscated. Privileged classes were abolished. Capitalist system replaced the feudal order in France.
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‘.
French revolution was gave the idea of sovereignty, that a nation recognizes no law or authority above its own. And that the people constituting the nation are the source of all power and authority. French Revolution and Napoleonic wars proved detrimental for the absolute monarchy and the old order in Europe. The popular support to the nation gave the French military its strength. The entire nation was united behind the army which consisted of revolutionary citizens.
Under the Jacobean 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 and livelihood. The happiness of all was proclaimed as the aim of government. Thus, it became the first genuinely democratic constitution in history. Government abolished slavery in French colonies. The former French colony of Haiti became the first republic established by the black people, in the Americas.
France became one of the first countries where the ideas of social equality, of socialism, gave rise to a new kind of political movement. French Revolution also became a world-changing event. It inspired revolutions in many countries of Europe and in South and Central America. For a long time, it remained the classic example of a revolution of the people. It completely dethroned the faith in the divine rights theory of the king.
After Napoleon seized power, the Napoleonic Code was introduced. Many elements of this code remained in force for a long time. Under him, 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, leading to the demise of the feudal order, which could never be reinstalled again.
The political and social system 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.
Role of American Revolution in French Revolution
American Revolution had a role in the outbreak of the French Revolution:
⦁ Ideas like- Liberty, Equality and No taxation without Representation, symbolized the crux of the American Revolution. These ideas inspired the whole world, including France;
⦁ French soldiers participated in the American Revolution, against the British forces. From there, they gained the idea of patriotism, liberty, equality and limited monarchy;
⦁ The cost of participating in the American war of independence, to France was enormous. This made King Louis bankrupt, putting the country under fiscal imbalance. The attempts to stabilize the situation hit the masses of France badly.
Phase Year Detail
Phase I 1789-92 Constitutional Monarchy; end of feudal rights and privileges; Declaration o f Rights of Man; Civil constitution of the Clergy; Government to be run by elected officials.
Phase II 1792-95 Monarchy abolished and Republic created; universal adult franchise for Men; King executed for treason; Reign of Terror of Robespierre
Phase III 1795-1804 5-man Directory created to share power with National Assembly. Moderates regain control.
Phase IV 1804-15 Napoleon crowned himself as emperor of France;
REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENTS IN EUROPE
⦁ HOLY ALLIANCE AND BRITAIN
⦁ GERMAN UNIFICATION
⦁ UNIFICATION OF ITALY
HOLY ALLIANCE AND BRITAIN
The period after 1815 saw the emergence of revolutionary activity in every country in Europe. While some of the revolutions aimed at overthrowing the autocratic rulers and abolition of serfdom; some others aimed at overthrow of foreign rule and social-economic-politico reforms. Nationalism emerged as a major force in this period. Revolutionaries were generally inclined towards fighting despotism everywhere. The despotic governments were also united to suppress every revolt and movement against any despotism.
The Holy Alliance
In 1815, rulers of Austria, Britain, Russia and Prussia formed an alliance, with the aim of suppressing any attempt by the people to overthrow a ruler, whom these countries considered the ‘legitimate’ ruler of the concerned country. France also joined the alliance. The alliance was openly against the democratic ideas and movements. Freedom of Press was abolished and revolutionaries were kept under control. In 1821, Austria sent her army into Italy to suppress the uprisings. However, these measures failed to control the revolutionary movements, and in 1830, a number of revolutions broke in Europe. French monarch had to flee to England, and was later succeeded by Louis Philippe, who promised to rule according to the wishes of the people. Belgium gained her independence from Holland in 1839.
In 1848, revolutions broke in most of the countries of Europe, which made a severe blow to the Holy Alliance. There were revolutions in Italy and France. France again became a republic, though for a small period, as the power was usurped by Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, or Napoleon III, in 1852. France finally became a republic in 1871, after the empire of Napoleon collapsed. Revolution in France was followed by revolutions in many parts of Germany.
Revolution also occurred in Vienna of Austrian Empire. Austrian empire was a huge empire, and comprised of Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Poland, Yugoslavia and many other areas. Due to the increasing revolts, the empire had shaken.
Revolts of 1848 failed to overthrow the oppressive regimes, though they did weaken them. These revolutions, however, introduced a new political force in Europe. Major players in these revolutions were the workers, capitalists, merchants and other middle classes, who were the product of the industrial revolutions, and wanted constitutional reforms.
Growth of Democracy in England
The first successful revolution to overthrow the autocratic monarchy took place in England in the 17th century, and resulted in the establishment of supremacy of the Parliament in England. However, the Parliament was not popularly elected. The Franchise was very restricted. Thus, through the 18th and 19th century, there grew a demand to enhance the suffrage.
Until 1832, representation in Parliament was not based on population but election districts- counties and boroughs. These counties and boroughs were not densely populated. Many of the highly populated centers and towns were not represented. Under the Act of 1832, these unpopulated areas or rotten boroughs were abolished and their seats were given to the new towns and cities. At this time, the right to vote was given to only those who owned or rented a house of a certain value. This constituted only 10% of the populations.
It was only 200 years after the Parliament became supreme that it became truly representative.
In the 18th century, Germany was divided into a number of states. By the end of the Napoleonic wars, many states ceased to exist, but still, some 38 independent states remained in Germany. Prussia, Wurttemberg, Bavaria and Saxony were the larger states. The politically divided Germany was an obstacle for its economic development. The social and economic system was also backward.
Unification of Germany
Prussia was the most powerful state. It was reactionary, and dominated by a class of big landlords, called Junkers. Prussia was also an important leader of the Holy Alliance.
After the French Revolution, people in Germany began to demand national unification, establishment of democratic government, and socio-economic reforms. In 1815, the German states and Austria were organized into a Germanic Confederation. However, each state tried to protect its independence and interest.
In 1848, revolts occurred in every German state, and the rulers were forced to grant some democratic constitutions. Also, a Constituent Assembly met at Frankfurt, to unite Germany and frame a constitution. The Frankfurt Assembly decided to make Germany constitutional Monarchy, under the King of Prussia, who would become the Emperor of Germany.
However, the King of Prussia declined to accept the position of a constitutional monarch. He was not ready to accept the crown from the elected representatives of the people. Repression followed and people lost the rights that they have secured for themselves in the initial stages of the revolution.
Bismarck: Policy of Blood and Iron
Otto Von Bismarck ( picture)
Failure of the 1848 revolution ended the dream of making Germany a democracy. Now the unification of Germany was to be attempted by the militaristic rulers. The leader of this regime 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 as one of Blood and Iron.
Blood and Iron meant a policy of War. The first step in this was the elimination of Austria from the Germanic Confederation. Bismarck 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.
Later, he united the 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
Louis Bonaparte (Picture )
In 1870, Louis Bonaparte of France, whose power had begin to collapse, declared war on Prussia, in order to maintain his empire through a military victory. The war was partly provoked by Bismarck. But it proved disastrous for the empire of Bonaparte. French armies were defeated and the French Emperor was captured. After this 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.
King William I of Prussia took the title of German’ Emperor at Versailles, in France, in the palace of the French kings. After her unification, Germany emerged very strong in Europe. It underwent heavy industrialization in a very short period and soon joined the scramble for colonies.
UNIFICATION OF ITALY
Like Germany, Italy too was divided into a number of states, like- Sardinia, Lombardy, Sicily and Naples, Papal States, Tuscany, Parma and Modena. Sardinia was the most powerful of these states. Venetia and Lombardy were under the 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- Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi. This movement aimed at the establishment of a republic in Italy. In 1848, after the revolutionary uprisings, the rulers were forced to grant certain democratic reforms to the people. But the goal of independence and unification was still far.
King of Sardinia introduced many reforms. His Prime Minister Count Cavour took the initiative of uniting Italy under the leadership of Sardinia. Cavour entered the Crimean War in 1853-56, against Russia, hoping to gain the support of Britain and France. However, no gain could be made. In 1859, he entered into an alliance with Louis Bonaparte and went to war with Austria. Austria was ousted from Lombardy, which was taken over by Sardinia.
Tuscany, Modena, Parma and Papal States of the north also joined Sardinia. Now, only Venetia was under the Austrian occupation. Other than that, Kingdom of the two Sicilies and Rome were also to be united. An Uprising broke 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. By the end of November 1860, the entire kingdom of the Two Sicilies had been liberated. However, the revolutionaries surrendered the kingdom to the King of Sardinia, Victor Emmanuel II, who then took the title of King of Italy in 1861.
Occupation of Rome
Meanwhile, Rome was being ruled by the Pope with the help of French soldiers, provided by Louis Bonaparte. When the war between France and Prussia broke out in 1870, Bonaparte was forced to withdraw his troops from Rome. Soon, Italian soldier occupied Rome in 1870, and in July 1871, Rome became the capital of united Italy.
However, in spite of the important role played by democratic and revolutionary leaders in the struggle for Italy’s unification, Italy became a monarchy.
Conclusion: Italian and German Unification
Unification of Germany and Italy, though did not prove democratic, but marked a great advance in the history of the two counties. These revolutions, along with the industrial revolution, deeply influenced the history of mankind. One of the aspects of these movements was the ever increasing number of people in the political life of the country. The period of autocracy and privileged aristocracy was coming to an end.
It is also important to remember that the new political and economic system that was emerging in Europe in the 19thcentury was also creating imperialism. Thus, the period of triumph of democracy, in Europe, was also the period of Conquest in Asia and Africa, by the imperialist power of Europe.
COLONIZATION OF AFRICA
Europeans started exploring Africa by late 15th century. These contacts were tragic and disastrous for the Africans due to the slave trade. Europeans needed slaves, as labours to work in their American colonies. In North America, slaves were used for plantation of tobacco, rice, indigo and cotton; while in South America, they were needed for sugar cultivation.
The native people of Americas were not suitable as they could escape from work, and were intolerant towards the European diseases, like smallpox, mums and measles. Whereas, African labourers were suitable as they had a developed immunity towards tropical diseases, could survive in harsh conditions, could not escape, and were readily available to the Europeans. European traders bought adult male labourers from Africa to America to work on plantation fields.
Initially Portuguese excelled in the slave trade, and established a slave market at Lisbon. Later, with the increase in demand for slaves, they were directly transported from Africa to America. As most of the American territories were under Spain, the Spaniards participated in the slave trade. Some African chiefs also participated in the slave trade; they sold slaves to Europeans in exchange of guns and ammunitions, clothes, metal ware, spirits, coins, decorative wears and horses.
Later, slave trade thrived under the British. By 17th century, an English company was actively participating in the slave trade, with the consent of the King of England, and a due share for the King. Soon, Spain gave the monopoly of slave trade to England.
The System of Triangular Slave Trade
It is the term used to describe the prosperous trading cycle across Atlantic, as a result of the slave trade. First, European merchants purchased slaves from African chiefs, in return for European manufactured goods. Second, they sold those slaves in the Caribbean, and bought easily transportable commodities like cotton, sugar and tobacco. Finally, they would sell the commodities in Europe, and fetch huge profits. Out of some profit, they would purchase some manufactured goods, which would again be used to barter slaves from Africa. Thus, the cycle continues. The entire period of 1500 to 1750 was called the Commercial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution of the 18th century owes much to the capital earned from the overseas Commercial Revolution.
The result of this system of trade was: Millions of Africans were uprooted from their homes; many were killed while resisting the invaders; many died while travelling in the congested ships from Africa to America; in the American plantations, they were forced to work in inhumane conditions; if they tried to escape, they were tortured and beaten badly; if a white man killed a runaway slave, he was rewarded.
Middle Passage is the term used to describe the brutal manner in which slaves were transported from Africa to America, in the Atlantic Ocean. They were taken in ships as inanimate objects, with little space. Male slaves were kept constantly shackled to each other, or to the deck to prevent mutiny. The conditions were so unhygienic that many-a-times the sailors revolted. As a result, not even half of the slaves captured reached America alive. Dysentery was the main killer. Most of the dead bodies were thrown into the ocean.
Decline of Slave Trade
After 1850s, slave trade quickly declined. As European economies began to shift from agriculture to industry, Europeans got a better area of investment. Secondly, slave-operated American plantations had to compete for capital and preferential laws with textile mills and other industries that hired free labourers. Thirdly, slaves in America reached point where they could reproduce enough off-springs to meet the labour needs. Thus, there was no need to incur the expenses for importing slaves from Africa.
Also, slavery was a hindrance if the interior of Africa was to be opened to colonial exploitation. Some colonial powers waged war against African chiefs in the pretext of abolishing slave trade, so they could establish a colony there.
⦁ It led to the depopulation of the African societies, making problems for the stability of the society.
⦁ Slave trading caused many wars and introduction of corrupt laws.
⦁ Further, within the tribal African societies, it created classes of elites and under-privileged.
⦁ Also slave trade was the beginning of the relationship of dependency with Europe. Africa’s valuable human resources were being traded for the factory made manufactured goods of Europe.
⦁ On a different note, African culture mixed with European and Native American cultures, and led to new mixed-cultures. Thus, there emerged new dresses, music, literature, cuisine, culture, religious practices, all of which left a deep mark on the American culture.
THE INVASION ON AFRICA
Initially African coastal regions were in the hands of the old trading nations: Portuguese, Dutch, Britain and France. Within a few years, the whole of African continent was captured and scramble for colonies started, and the colonies of African continent were cut and divided among the European powers.
Conditions in Africa
Until the mid-19th century, the interiors of Africa were almost unknown to the Europeans. European interest in Africa was aroused by the Explorers, Merchants and Missionaries. The Explorers aroused the European interest in the vast lands of Africa; The Merchants saw profits in the trade of gold, ivory and timber; while the Missionaries saw the continent as place for spreading Christianity. European governments supported all these interests by sending troops, and making conquests.
Europeans were able to win over the African colonies because:
⦁ Financially, African states were no match to the economic might of the imperialist nations of Europe, and African Chiefs had not enough resources to wage wars against Europeans;
⦁ Militarily, Europeans had superior arms and ammunitions, while the Africans fought with bows and axes;
⦁ Politically, the African states were not united, and often conflicted among themselves, and sought help from the European nations in their internal rivalries. The Imperialist countries, on the other hand, were united as compared to the African states, in their scramble for Africa.
The Scramble for Colonies
All the European countries were eager to get the maximum of African territory in the shortest possible time. Often they competed and engaged in wars. But in every case, they avoided war and signed agreements as to who will get which part of Africa.
In 1884-85, European states organized a Congress in Berlin to decide 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.
Most of the treaties signed between the European powers and African chiefs were fraudulent and bogus. Europeans gave gifts to the African chiefs and made them to sign their treaties. Thereafter, those treaties were misinterpreted and manipulated to capture the territories. Thus, by the end of the 19th century, the partition of Africa was almost completed in this manner. This came to be known as Paper Partition, because the actual partition took longer. About 30% boundaries of the African continents are straight lines because they were made on partition maps, in the conference rooms of the Europeans.
Boer War (1899)
In South Africa, the Dutch had established the Cape Colony. South Africa had a large number of Europeans, mainly Dutch, settled. These settlers were known as Boers. They owned large farms and plantations. Later, British took over Cape Colony and abolished slavery. Boers did not like it, so they went north and set up two states- the Orange Free State and the Transvaal- together called the Afrikaner republics. Transvaal was rich in gold, so the British plotted to overthrow Boer government. This led to the Boer War, in 1899. The Boers were defeated but they continued to live there.
Gandhi served from the British side, as an assistant superintendent of the Indian volunteer stretcher-bearer corps. He was awarded Boer war medal for his service.
Soon after this, the Union of South Africa was formed consisting of the Cape, Natal, Transvaal and Orange River Colony. It was ruled by the white minority- Boers, Englishmen, and a few settlers from other European countries. Later South African government declared itself a republic.
Zulu Rebellion (1906)
British had an interest in Zululand, and wanted the Zulu population to serve as labour in the diamond mines across South Africa. In the Zulu War of 1879, British suffered heavy losses but ultimately won.
In 1906, Zulu Rebellion broke out in Natal province of South Africa. It was actually a campaign against tax being imposed by the British on the Zulus, who were demanding their rights in their own land. However, the whites declared war against the Zulus. In this rebellion, Gandhi served from British side, as the officer in charge of the Indian volunteer ambulance corps. He was also given Zulu War Medal for his services. Gandhi returned this medal back to the British in 1920 during the Khilafat movement, as a sign of protest.
COLONIZATION OF CHINA
The imperialist occupation of China began with the Opium Wars. Before these wars, only two Chinese ports were open for foreign trade. China was already a prosperous civilization, which had invented paper, printing and gunpowder. There was no need for British goods in China. Thus, British had to pay in gold and silver for the goods imported from China. To cover up their costs of imports, British merchants began smuggling opium from India to China.
In India, the EIC (East India Company) had a monopoly of the opium cultivation. But there was a ban on opium in China. Therefore, the EIC traders used the private traders, licensed by the company, to take opium from India to China. These traders sold opium to smugglers along the Chinese coast for gold and silver. The EIC used this gold and silver to repurchase the goods from China, thus making profits. This illegal trade did immense physical and moral damage to the Chinese.
First Opium War 1839-42
The First Opium War took place when the Chinese government caught an opium wagon and destroyed it. It response, the EIC waged war on China and defeated the latter. The war resulted in the Treaty of Nanking, whereby- China was forced to pay fines to British for war damages; Hong Kong was given to Britain; China had to open 5 port cities to the British traders; and Chinese government was no longer free to impose tariffs on the foreign goods. Another rule was introduced that provided that- the British subjects in China were answerable only to the British laws, even in disputes with Chinese.
Another clause was added that- whenever any nation got new privileges from China, those privileges were automatically extended to Britain as well.
Second Opium War 1856-60
Soon, Britain, along with France, fought another war against China, on the pretext that a French missionary had been murdered. This war is known as the Second Opium War, or Arrow War. It resulted in the Treaty of Tianjin, whereby- freedom of movement for Christian missionaries was provided; residence in Beijing for foreign envoys; opening of several new ports for Western trade and residence; right to travel, of foreigners, in the interior of China; China was forced to grant even more privileges to the victor nations.
First Sino-Japan War
Korea had been traditionally a tributary of China. However, Japan wanted to increase its influence over Korea, because it was strategically located opposite the Japanese islands, and had reserves of iron and coal. This led to a War between Japan and China. Surprisingly, Japan emerged victorious, due to its western military technology.
As a result, China had to recognize Korea as an independent state. China also had to give away Formosa, Taiwan and parts of South Manchuria to Japan, along with 150 Million Dollars for war damages.
China did not have enough cash to pay Japan. Therefore, France, Russia, Britain and Germany agreed to give loans to China. But, in return, these countries divided China into ‘sphere of influence‘. Each western country had certain regions of China reserved exclusively for its purpose only. This division of China into spheres of influence has been often described as the Cutting of the Chinese Melon.
US: Open Door Policy
After the economic depression of 1890s, US needed foreign trade to boost its economy. In China, the American textile manufacturers had found markets for cheap cotton goods. But US feared that China would fall under the effects of the sphere of influences. Therefore, US suggested the policy known as- Open Door Policy or Me Too Policy.
According to this policy, all countries would have equal rights to make trade anywhere in China. Britain supported US in this policy, hoping that it would discourage the annexation of China by Japan or Russia.
The Boxer Rebellion
Chinese people were unhappy with the economic exploitation by the western powers; the extraterritorial rights granted to the foreigners; China’s humiliating defeats in the Opium wars and against Japan; with growing corruption and inefficiency of their royal government; and the work of Christian missionaries. All these resentments led to formation of a secret organization known as Yihetuan, or the Society of Righteousness and Harmony. The foreigners called them ‘Boxers‘.
Boxers blamed the foreigners for all the ills in China. Thus, they started seizing and destroying the properties of foreigners, Christian missionaries and Chinese converts. The movement took form of a violent rebellion. The Boxers were officially denounced by the royal court. The British, French, Japanese, Russian, Germans and Americans sent their troops to curb this rebellion. Ultimately, the might of the western powers crushed the rebellion.
After the suppression of the rebellion, China was made to pay fines for a period of 40 years; more trade concessions; and right of the foreign powers to station their troops in Beijing. After the failure of the Boxer rebellion, Imperialism continued with the cooperation from Chinese warlords. Within a few decades, China had been reduced to a status of an international colony.
However, the nature of imperialism in China was very different from colonies at other places. First, there was indirect control over the politics, economy and society, which created a kind of semi-colonization, different from the one prevailing in India/Africa. Second, no single imperial power had a monopoly of control in China. China was being simultaneously exploited by many powers.
In 1850s, US sent warships under Commodore Perry, and forced the Japanese to open their country for the American shipping and trade. This was known as Gun-boat Diplomacy. Later Japan had similar agreements with Britain, Holland, France and Russia. However, Japan itself emerged as an Imperialist country after the Meiji Restoration.
It was a political revolution under which the erstwhile Tokugawa Shogunate, which was a feudal-military government, was replaced with a new imperial government under the Emperor Meiji. Japan adopted the slogan- ‘Wealthy country and strong arms’ and sought to create a nation-state capable of standing equal among western powers. The government took a number of reforms:
⦁ Capital shifted from Edo to Tokyo;
A Bicameral Parliament, called Diet;
⦁ Dismantling of the old feudal regime, and introduction of the prefecture system of administration;
⦁ Centralization of administration;
⦁ Modern civil services;
⦁ Modern banking and fiscal system;
⦁ Modern industrial enterprises, railways, telegraphs;
⦁ Universal primary education; and,
⦁ Modern army and navy, and adoption of western military technology.
All these reforms made Japan, within a few decades, one of the most industrialized countries of the world. However, Japan had few raw materials to support her industries. Thus, she also needed new lands for material and markets. This encouraged Japan’s imperialist expansion. China provided ample opportunities for Japan’s imperialist designs.
It took place between Britain and Japan, to assist one another in safeguarding their respect interests in China and Korea. It remained as a cornerstone of British and Japanese policy in Asia until after World War I. This alliance recognized Japan as a power of equal standing with great European powers. Also, during the Russo-Japanese War, France did not intervene from Russian side, fearing that Britain would intervene from Japan’s side. This helped Japan win the war.
Under the Sphere of influence, Russia was building railroads in Manchuria. But after the Sino-Japan War, China was defeated and handed over certain parts of Southern Manchuria to Japan. Both Russia and Japan wanted to dominate Korea and Manchuria. This contestation led to the Russo-Japanese war, which led to the defeat of the mighty Russia.
After the war, US President Theodore Roosevelt served as mediator between the warring parties. A peace treaty was signed whereby; Russia handed over Port Arthur and the South Manchuria railroad to Japan; and also half of Sakhalin Island to Japan. Russia also agreed to evacuate southern Manchuria, and also recognized Japan’s control over Korea.
THE RISE OF SOCIALISM
Early Socialist Movement can be traced to the Chartist Movement in England, which aimed at winning political rights for workers. Socialism posed the greatest challenge to the ideas of capitalism. It tried to prove that capitalism itself is evil and that it needs to be replaced by a different kind and economic system in which the means of production would be owned by the society as a whole and not by a few individuals.
In the past, many thinkers had expressed their revulsion against inequalities. The French Revolution in 1789, with the promise of equality had given a new impetus to these ideas. However, it could not put an end to economic, political and social inequalities. The wide gap between the aims of the revolution and the actual conditions of life created a 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 the Babeuf’s Conspiracy, is an important event in the history of socialism.
It was led by Babeuf, who was born in 1760 and had participated in the French Revolution. He organized a secret society, called the Society of the Equals, and declared that- ‘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 emphasized the need of another revolution to create such a society. The society planned an uprising against the government, but the latter came to know about it and arrested the leaders. In 1797, Babeuf was executed. Though his attempt to bring a change failed, his ideas exercised an important influence on the growth of the socialist movement.
This group was led by Saint Simon, Charles Fourier and Robert Owen. They viewed property in relation to its usefulness to society. They recognized the evils of the 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 society were impracticable and ineffective; hence they came to be known as Utopian Socialist.
Role of Blaqui
Louis-Auguste Blanqui was an important revolutionary thinker, who played an important role in every uprising in Paris from the 1830s till 1871. he believed that through a revolutionary conspiracy, power could be captured to bring about socialism.
It was initially known as the League of the Just, and had members from many countries of Europe. Its slogan was- ‘All men are brothers’. Thus internationalism was one of its features. In 1847, it changed its name to the Communist League, and declared its aim as- the downfall of the bourgeoisie, the rule of the proletariat, the overthrow of the old society of middle class, based on class distinctions, and the establishment of a new society without classes and without private property. It instructed Karl Marx and Frederick Engels to draft a manifesto.
The Communist Manifesto first appeared in German in February 1848. It has a tremendous influence on the history of the socialist movement. It was written by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Through their works, they gave a new direction to socialist ideology and movement. Their philosophy is known as Marxism, and has influenced every field of knowledge. Their view of socialism is called Scientific Socialism.
The Communist Manifesto stated that the aim of the workers all over the world was the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of socialism, where the free development of each is the condition of free development of all. It pointed out that socialism was not merely desirable but also inevitable. Since capitalism does not serve human needs, like other social and political systems in history, it would be replaced by a system, better suited to human needs.
Marx analyzed the working of capitalism in his work- Das Capital, and pointed out the characteristics that would lead to its destruction. According to him, workers produce more value than their wages. The difference is appropriated by the capitalist as profit. This constitutes the basis of conflict in capitalism. Profits can only be increased at the cost of workers’ wages. Thus, interest of workers and capitalists are irreconcilable. Economic crisis were inevitable under capitalism because of the discrepancy between the purchasing power of the workers and the total production. This crisis can be solved only if the private ownership of property is abolished, and production is carried on for social good rather than for profits.
Marx and Engels believed that this would be accomplished by the working class, which was the revolutionary class in the capitalist system. 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 in 1848, revolutions broke in every part of Europe. One of the major forces in these revolutions was the workers who had been inspired by ideas of socialism. However, all the revolutions were suppressed.
With the failure of the 1848 revolutions, the socialist movement seems to have abated. However, it was soon to rise again. One of the outstanding features of the various socialist groups was their internationalist character. All the movements emphasized the idea that the cause of the working class in all countries was the same.
EVOLUTION OF SOCIALIST MOVEMENT
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. With it, socialism stepped on the stage of history as a world movement. It was formed at London, with delegates coming from Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Poland and Switzerland. Marx addressed the meeting, which became 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 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-‘Proletarians of all lands, unite!’.
Since its formation, it was seen by the governments as a menace, and attempts were made to exterminate it. It was persecuted and declared illegal in many countries. However, the international exercised a tremendous influence in Europe and North America, by helping to create bonds of international solidarity.
Paris Commune, 1871
The War between France and Prussia led to an important development- an uprising of workers of Paris and the seizure of power by them. This is one of the most important events in the history of socialism. After the war, French were defeated and Louis Bonaparte imprisoned. A new government came 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 surrender of Paris, cession of Alsace-Lorraine and 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 February 18, 1871 and asked the Germans to crush Paris.
The workers of Paris elected a council, which on March 28, 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. All public offices were elected by universal suffrage with people having a right to recall. The aim of the commune was declared as the ending of exploitation, stock-exchange speculation, monopolies and privileges to which proletariat attribute its slavery.
Paris Commune was the result of an upsurge of the workers. It was the result of the first workers’ revolution in history. However, it was soon crushed in blood, by the French government which had established in Versailles, with a huge army. Many thousands were killed and imprisoned.
Extermination of the Commune was followed by systematic attempts to destroy the International in almost every country in Europe. The International was engaged in aiding the refugees from Paris. It was also gaining strength in many countries in Europe. However, it soon collapsed due to internal differences. The International was not a homogenous organization. It represented many different trends in the workers’ movement. Due to these differences, it was split in 1872 and was formally dissolved in 1876.
The Second International
By 1870s and 1880s, there were socialist parties in almost every country in Europe. Some of them even participated in the elections. The German Socialist Party was the largest socialist party in Europe. In Britain emerged- the Social Democratic Federation, The Socialist League and the Fabian Society. Thus, though the First International had been dissolved, the socialist movement had become a mass movement.
To unite the socialist parties in various countries into an international organization, congress was held in Paris on July 14, 1889, on the centenary of the French Revolution of 1789. The result of the meeting was the Second International. It set a new stage in the history of socialism. An important step was to make the first May every year as a day of working class solidarity.
The period after the formation of the second international saw a steady increase in the strength of the socialist parties and of trade unions. The most significant achievement of the second international was its campaigns 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 last decade of the 19th century saw the growing militarization of every country in Europe. Wars seemed imminent. Europe was being divided into different warring groups, the struggle for colonies being the main cause of conflicts between them. Thus, struggle against militarism and the prevention of war became the major aims of the second international. They expressed conviction that capitalism was the root cause of war.
The Second International also decided that the socialist should utilize the economic and political crisis created by the war, to rouse the masses and thereby hasten the downfall of capitalist rule. It made the international solidarity of workers as a fundamental principle. When Russia and Japan were warring each other, in 1904, The leaders of socialist groups from Japan and Russia were made joint presidents of the Second International.
The Second International also condemned colonialism and committed the socialist parties to oppose the robbery and subjugation of colonial peoples. In 1904, Dadabhai Bhai Naoroji attended the Second International pleading for the cause of India.
Weaknesses of the Socialist Movement
However, in spite of its achievement and popularity, Second International had many weaknesses. Unlike the First International, it was a loose federation of socialist parties of many countries. With growing influence of different parties, there emerged internal differences. Debates started over the course to be chosen to bring socialism- with some supporting revolution, while others advocating gradual reforms. Similarly, there were internal differences over issues of War and colonialism. On the question of war, it suffered a fatal blow. When the First World War broke out, most of the socialist parties extended support to their respective governments. Thus, the second international ceased to function and the socialist movement in every country was split. Therefore, with the outbreak of the first world war, an important phase in the history of the socialist movement came to an end.
TOWARDS WORLD WAR I
The First World War broke out with the declaration of war by Austria-Hungary, on July 28, 1914, upon Serbia. The World War was fought between- the Allied Powers, consisting originally of France, Britain and Russia, and the Central Powers, consisting of Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Turkish Empire. Italy joined the Allied powers in 1915; while the USA joined the Allied powers in April 1917. Also, after the Bolshevik Revolution in November 1917, Russia withdrew from the war.
19th Century International Relations are described as a combination of nationalism, economic imperialism and balance of power. Economic Imperialism was more an outcome of ultra-nationalism, industrial revolution and capitalism.
No country wanted any other nation to become too powerful. This was prevented by either individual or collective state action. This also gave way to the formation of the power blocks and military alliances.
Events leading to the First World War
The period during 1870-1914 is referred to as the Period of Armed Peace. It was characterized by growth of mutual distrust and an increasing armament. After the German unification, Germany became the most powerful nation in Europe. Russia and Austria-Hungary also became prominent powers. Britain, on the other hand, was busy with overseas imperialism. Bismarck, the undisputed leader of Germany, started diplomacy with Russia and Austria-Hungary, who were arch rivals of each other, over their claims in the Balkans.
League of Three Emperors
In 1872, The League of Three Emperors, or Dreikaiserbund, was formed with Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary, as a loose alliance. It provided that Russia and Austria would refrain themselves from acting against each others’ interest in the Balkans. The group was a scheme of Bismarck to protect Germany against France.
Russo-Turkish War (1877)
Meanwhile, the Turkish Empire was witnessing a number of revolts from the European subjects. The Turkish Empire was ruled by a Sultan, who was seen as the religious head of the Muslims. However, the East European Christian population resented this rule. The numerous revolts led to the weakening of the Empire. Thus, Russia declared a war against Turkey in 1877. After defeating Turkey, Russia imposed the Treaty of San Stephano, giving direct gains to herself and to a number of smaller Balkan states.
Congress of Berlin (1878)
Britain was getting apprehensive about the growing influence of Russia. Austria-Hungary also demanded convening of a Congress of all European nations to draft a fresh peace treaty with Turkey. But Russia opposed it, as it would go against her interest. However, Bismarck supported Austria’s claim.
Therefore, Congress of Berlin met in Germany in July 1878, under the leadership of Bismarck. Under the Congress, Russia lost some of its gained territory. Serbia, Montenegro, Rumania and Bulgaria were given full independence. And, parts of Bulgaria and Macedonia were restored to the Turkish Empire. Russia remained dissatisfied, and Austria-Russo relations remained strained.
Dual Alliance (1879)
Bismarck feared Russian attack on Austria. Thus, he adopted a policy of alliance, and entered into a secret alliance with Austria-Hungary. It provided for assisting in case of Russian attack. It meant to maintain the status quo and Austro-German friendship.
Bismarck also convened a fresh League of Three Emperors in 1881, with Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary. It was agreed that in case, any of the three powers were engaged in war with a fourth power, the other two would remain neutral.
However, Russia was interested in Bulgaria, and developed serious differences with Austria over Bulgaria. Thus, Russia withdrew from the League of Emperors in 1887.
The Triple Alliance (1882)
Triple Alliance emerged in the background of the search of Italy for security and alliance, against the differences with France. Thus, on May 20, 1882, Italy entered into a Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary. The terms of the alliance, however, were kept secret. Austria and Germany assured Italy to come to the assistance in the event of French aggression.
It was specifically provided that, nothing in this treaty would be directed against Great Britain, and in case a war with a power other than France and one of the three signatories is fought, the other two countries would observe benevolent neutrality. This treaty lasted till the outbreak of the First World War.
The Triple Entente
It emerged as a reply to the Triple Alliance. However, it was not formed through a single treaty. Rather it was a product of three different treaties between different countries. Triple Entente consisted of- France, Britain and Russia.
In March 1888, Emperor William-I of Germany died. He was replaced by William II, who was an impatient monarch. He dismissed Bismarck in 1890, thereby ending the period of Bismarck’s domination over the international relations. Germany refused to renew the reinsurance treaty with Russia, which compelled Russia to search for allies. In such circumstances, France became the first and natural ally of Russia. In 1894, a military alliance between France and Russia provided for mutual assistance in case of attack by Germany or its allies.
Britain, initially, followed a policy of isolation. But this became difficult under the hard attitude of Kaiser William II of Germany. Thus, Britain was forced to make an alliance with France. In 1904, Entente Cordiale was agreed between France and England. France allowed Britain a free hand in Egypt, while Britain gave France a free hand in Morocco.
Britain and Russia came to the negotiating tables under the perceived threat from Germany. Thus, in 1907 they signed an Entente whereby they promised to abstain from interfering in the internal affairs of Tibet. Russia accepted to allow British Protectorate in Afghanistan. Iran was also divided into sphere of influence.
Thus, Europe was divided into Two Camps- Triple Alliance and Triple Entente.
Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902)
This alliance emerged in the background of the 1894-95 Sino-Japanese War, where Japan came to control some parts of China. However, Russia objected to it and compelled Japan to return the gains. Japan wanted to take revenge of this insult, but needed an ally. During this time, there were certain differences between Russia and Britain. Thus, Japan and Britain signed an alliance in 1902.
According to it, if any one of them is involved in war, while protecting their special interest in China and Korea, the other would observe neutrality. But, if the ally of the enemy helped, than the other ally would immediately come to support. This treaty prevented France from interfering into the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. Ironically, Japan defeated Russia.
Annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina
These were under the Turkish empire. However, Austria-Hungary annexed them without any provocation in 1908. Serbia resented this action as these provinces belonged to her. Since Austria had violated the Berlin Settlement, France and Russia also resented this action.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand- the Austrian heir apparent- was assassinated on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia province. Austria-Hungary put the blame of assassination on Serbia, and demanded humiliating terms. Austria wanted to liquidate the powers of Serbia. Meanwhile, Germany supported Austria. Serbian media and authorities began to mock Austrian authorities.
Austria gave Serbia a 48 hours ultimatum, on July 26, 1914, demanding all anti-Austrian propaganda to be stopped; prosecution of Serbian officials, involved in the assassination; permission to Austrian officials to visit Serbia to coordinate with the persecution process; and dissolution of all terrorist organizations.
Meanwhile, Russia had assured Serbia of assistance, in case of any aggression. Thus, Serbia did not bow down. This led Austria to declare a war on Serbia on July 28, 1914, marking the beginning of the World War. Russia declared war on July 30, 1914. While Germany, after giving a 12 hour ultimatum to Russia, declared war on Russia on August 1, 1914; and on France on August 3. Germany also invaded Belgium on its way to France. Britain, on the other hand, entered the war to protect Belgium.
The Balkan Wars
Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece constituted the Balkan League. They declared war against Turkey in the winters of 1912, taking advantage of the Italy-Turkey conflict. Turkey suffered heavy losses during 1912-1913. The First Balkan War ended with the signing of theTreaty of London on May 30, 1913. This treaty freed almost all East European territories. Large part was given to the Balkan League.
However, there were certain problems within the Balkan League, regarding the distribution of the territories. Bulgaria tried to attain a dominant position, and waged an aggression on Serbia on June 29, 1913. This led to the Second Balkan War, wherein Greece, Turkey and Rumania supported Serbia. Thus, Bulgaria lost badly. A peace treaty was signed in August 1913. Bulgaria had to compromise with large parts of its territories.
Through this war, Serbia emerged as a powerful state. Serbia became more hostile towards Austria. Even Austria looked forward to having war with Serbia, in order to establish her supremacy.
WORLD WAR I PEACE TREATIES
After the end of the First World War on November 11, 1918, a number of peace treaties were signed in 1919-20. Meanwhile, President Woodrow Wilson, of USA, gave his famous 14 Points for ‘peace without victory’ in January 1918.
Wilson’s 14 Points
Woodrow Wilson was an idealist, and wanted peace to be restored, without any retribution or revenge. Thus, he came up with the following 14 points:
⦁ Open Covenants of Peace, openly arrived at, and the abolition of secret diplomacy;
⦁ Absolute freedom of navigation in the seas, outside the territorial waters;
⦁ Removal of Economic barriers, and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions;
⦁ Reduction of the national armaments, to the minimal level, consistent with the domestic safety;
⦁ Free, open-minded and impartial adjustment of all colonial claims in accordance with the interest of the population concerned;
⦁ Evacuation of all Russian territory, and an unhampered opportunity for the independence, determined by her own political development and national policy;
⦁ Evacuation and Restoration of Belgium;
⦁ Evacuation and Restoration of France, and restoration of Alsace-Lorraine to France;
⦁ Readjustment of the frontiers of Italy;
⦁ Free opportunity of autonomous development for the people of Austria-Hungary;
⦁ Evacuation and Restoration of Serbia, Romania and Montenegro;
⦁ Autonomous development for the non-Turkish possessions of the Sultan;
⦁ Resurrection of an Independent Poland with access to sea; and, Formation of a general association of nations, for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to all alike.
These points were accepted by all as the basis of peace and negotiation. The victorious nations met at Paris to formulate the peace treaties.
Paris Peace Conference
Representatives of the Allied powers assembled at Paris, in January 1919, to draw a new political map of Europe and the world. Paris was deliberately chosen as the venue for the peace treaties, as France had earlier suffered a lot from Germany. Thus, the French were full of hatred and vengeance, and insisted on having Paris as the venue of peace negotiations. France wanted to impose a harsh treaty on Germany.
The Paris conference was attended only by the victor nations. The Conference was dominated by four prominent leaders- President Woodrow Wilson of USA; PM Lloyd George of Great Britain; PM George Clemenceau of France; and PM Vittoria Orlando of Italy.
President Wilson was an idealist, and is seen as the saviour of the Allies. He was very popular in Europe, but lost popularity in US, and lost the elections of 1918.Wilson went to the Paris Conference without any Republican delegate. He failed to get the draft of the peace treaties passed in the Senate. Thus, USA could not become a party to the Peace treaties.
Clemenceau of France, was the Chairman of the Conference. His goal was to exalt and secure France, and to weaken Germany. Similarly, Britain and Italy also wanted to punish Germany, and secure their own interests.
The Paris Conference held 6 Plenary sessions. The stated aim of the conference was to create a peaceful new social order, to secure democracy in the world, and to establish an international organization for peaceful settlement of international disputes. Throughout the Conference, there remained a conflict between the idealism of Wilson, and Realism of Clemenceau. Thus, the resultant treaty was a product of feelings of revenge and materialism.
Treaty of Versailles
It was signed between the Allies and Germany. It was actually imposed upon the Germans, against the threat of invasion. It was a detailed treaty to rip Germany apart. Various clauses of the treaty were:
The province of Alsace-Lorraine were taken back from Germany, to returned to France. Small territories of Eugene, Malmady and Morsnet were given to Belgium, by way of Compensation. Northern sector of Schleswig were given to Denmark by Plebiscite. Parts ofWest Prussia were given to Poland, while the state of Poland was resurrected. German city of Danzig was made independent.
The Coal rich areas of Saar valley were put under the League of Nations for 15 years. Kingdom of Austria-Hungary was broken up into a number of nation-states. The new Austrian state was a small German-speaking landlocked country. Austria and Germany were not allowed to unite in future, without unanimous permission of the council of the League.
Small strip of territory of Germany was ceded to Czechoslovakia. Germany was deprived of all her overseas colonies. German colonies were placed under a Mandate system of the League of Nations.
Thus, Germany was deprived of about One-tenth of her population and 15% of territory.
France, Britain and Italy wanted to impose severe war indemnities on Germany, even though Wilson opposed it. The treaty held Germany and its allies responsible for the War. However, it recognized the incapacity of Germany to make complete payments for reparation. Therefore, certain categories of losses were enlisted for which Germany was expected to pay reparations.
A Reparation Commission was to be appointed by the Allies to determine the extend of civilian losses of Allies, while keeping in view the capacity of Germany to pay. Germany was required to make on ‘on account’ payment of ₤ 1,000,000,000. Germany was also to surrender all Submarine telegraph cables to Allies. All her merchant ship, of more than 1600 tonnes, were taken. Also, a large number of horses and cattle were to be given to France and Belgium. Reparation Commission, in its report, set the total reparation at ₤6,600,000,000.
Germany was also to supply 70 lakh tonnes coal per year to France; 80 lakhs tonnes coal per year to Belgium; and 60 lakhs tonnes coal per year to Italy, for the next 10 years. It was also decided that the Allies could punish Germany as they like, in case of voluntary default in payment of instalments.
Germany was to give special facilities to Allies for 5 years, in respect to trade in certain commodities. Landlocked states, like Czechoslovakia and Switzerland, were given facilities to access the sea through Germany.
Also, Germany was to return all the trophies, flags and works of art taken during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. The original Koran of the caliph of Ottoman was returned to the King of Hedjoz.
Germany was militarily crippled. German army was limited to only 1,00,000 troops. There was a ban on conscription. Germany Navy was limited to only 6 battle ships of 10000 tonnes, 6 light cruisers, 12 destroyers, and 12 torpedo boats. No submarines were allowed. Naval strength was restricted to only 15000 men.
Germany was debarred from having an Air Force. German General staff was abolished. Restrictions were placed on the quality and quantity of war material. Banks of River Rhine were demilitarized.
Provisions of War Guilt and War Crimes
Germany was made solely responsible for the War. German leadership was accused as guilty. Former German monarch- Kaiser William II- was found guilty of violation of international law and treaties. The new German government, handed over such persons for trials. But William II could not be tried, as he fled to Holland.
League of Nations Provision
The First part of the treaty provided for the establishment of a world organization called the League of Nations. It was to consist of an Assembly, a Council, and a Secretariat.
A Permanent Court of International Justice was also set up. It was to settle the international disputes, establish peace and improve the socio-economic life of people.
As a guarantee, the entire are of Rhineland was to be temporarily occupied by Allied forces for 15 years. A section of Rhineland was to be vacated after 5 years; another one after 10 years; and the third portion after 15 years. However, if Germany ever misbehaved, the occupation would be extended indefinitely.
PEACE TREATY WITH OTHER NATIONS AND EVALUATION OF TREATY OF VERSAILLES
Evaluating the Treaty of Versailles
The treaty was unjust as the Germans were never consulted. The treaty was imposed, against the threat of resumption of war, in case of non-conformity. Therefore, it was criticized all across the world. To some extent, it also became a cause of the Second World War.
Due to the nature of the treaty, it could not be passed in the US Senate, leading to the ouster of USA from the League of Nations as well.
Treaty of Versailles was a result of several compromises. None of the parties were satisfied with the results. Italy remained dissatisfied and frustrated with the treaty, as the territories, promised to Italy under the secret negotiations, were not given to Italy. German colonies in far East Asia, instead of being restored, were handed over to Japan as mandates. That is why, China refused to sign the Treaty as well.
The humiliation, due to the treaty, provoked the Germans to seek revenge. Thus, Democracy failed miserably in Germany. The Treaty, and the ideals of the Paris Conference, were destroyed in the next 20 years.
The League of Nations also proved as a failure. It failed to bring disarmament. It could never become a universal association of independent nations. Next, the amount of Reparation was grossly inappropriate and unrealistic. As a result, reparation were almost dead by 1932.
However, Lipson has given the justification for the treaty on certain grounds: First, that Allies had already made it clear that Germany had to pay for the civilian losses. Thus, there was no cheating with the nature of the reparations demanded. Secondly, Wilson’s principles were too idealistic, and to some extent self-contradictory, and could not be implemented. Thirdly, the new boundaries, that were created, were the nearest approximation ever achieved to ethnic boundaries. Finally, it was argued that if Germany would have won the war, she would have imposed a more harsher treaty. However, all these justifications are not very convincing.
Peace Treaties with Other Defeated Powers
Treaty of St. Germaine
It was concluded with Austria in September 1919. It also included the covenant of the League of Nations. The Treaty provided for reparation by Austria. But, it was dropped due to a severe famine in Austria. The Austria-Hungary Empire was separated. Ban was imposed on the unification of Austria and Germany. Austrian army was also restricted to only 30000 troops.
Treaty of Neville
It was concluded with Bulgaria in November 1919. It transferred the port of Macedonia to the newly created Yugoslavia. Heavy reparation was deemed, and army was restricted.
Treaty of Trianon
It was concluded with Hungary in June 1920. Large territory was ceded, and heavy reparation was imposed. Navy was abolished and army reduced to 35000 troops.
Treaty of Sevres
It was imposed on Turkey in August 1920. It separated Egypt, Sudan, Tripoli, Morocco, Syria, Mesopotamia, Palestine and some other regions. It imposed heavy reparation, and reduced the army and navy considerably. However, internal political situation of Turkey led to abrogation of the treaty with mutual consent, and signing of a new and better treaty, called Treaty of Lausanne in July 1923.
There was a revolution in Turkey, and overthrow of the monarchy, and set up of Republic, under Mustafa Kamal Pasha.
LEAGUE OF NATIONS: A CHILD WITH A BAD FORTUNE
League of Nations was established to bring peace in the world, through peaceful settlement of international disputes. It was formed under the Paris Peace Conference, and came into existence on January 10, 1920. It had its headquarters at Geneva. It was the result of a search for a world organization. US President Woodrow Wilson is regarded as the ‘Godfather’ of the League of Nations.
International Organisations Before the League of Nations
A few other International Organizations existed in Europe before the League came into existence.
⦁ The most prominent one was the Concert of Europe, which was a product of the Vienna Congress (1815). However, it could not last long, and ended in 1823.
⦁ There also was the Court of Arbitration, which was set up after the two Hague Conferences, in 1899 and 1907. It was made to devise a system for pacific settlement of international disputes.
⦁ Finally, there existed some non-political international institutions, like the Universal Postal Union.
The Birth of the League of Nations
The need of an international organization was felt since the late 19th century. However, it were the ideas of Wilson that it got materialized. The last point of the Wilson’s 14-points referred to an international organization to establish world peace and justice. During the Paris Peace, the draft of covenant of the League of Nations was prepared by a committee, presided by Wilson. Its modified version was later adopted by the Conference. Ironically, US Senate did not passed the treaty, due to which USA could not become a member of the League of Nations.
Also, Soviet Union was not invited to join the League, after it turned to communism in 1917. Thus, League could never become a universal organization, and was, thus, referred to as the Victors’ Club.
Germany entered the League as late as in 1926. Gradually, other powers also got seat into the League. However, its influence had deteriorated by then. It existed merely as a loose confederation of independent states, and functioned more like an advisory body.
Soon, League became a platform for the expression of national policies, and conduct of open diplomacy. However, League was still a novelty, for its principles.
Basic values, mentioned in the Preamble of the League, were: Not to resort to War; Open, just, honourable relations between nations; rule of conduct; maintenance of justice; respect for all treaty obligations; and international cooperation.
Membership of League was open to all states. It had two types of members- the original members, and the admitted members. Original members were those self-governing states, dominions or colonies, who had signed the peace treaties, or who were invited by Paris Peace Conference to become the members of the League.
Under Admitted membership, membership could also be extended to any state by a Two-Third majority vote of the Assembly, provided that such a state gives assurance of its desire to observe its international obligations. Also, any member could withdraw from the League after giving a two year notice. Brazil, Costa Rica, Japan, Germany and Italy withdrew from the League, voluntarily.
Member states could also be expelled, for violation of the League covenant, by a unanimous vote of the Council. Soviet Union is the only country that was expelled from the League.
League had 42 original members. By 1927, its membership went up to 56, and in 1935, it became 62. However, it started to decline thereafter, reaching 46 at the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, and only 43 in 1946.
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 in Russia. The Russian Revolution took place in 1917, affecting the course of world history for many decades.
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 the 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 the 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 Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, popularly known as 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. The 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. This 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 this 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.
THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
It aroused the people and prepared them for revolution. It drew soldiers and the peoples of non-Russian nationalities into close contact with the Russian revolutionaries.
Hoping to satisfy his imperial ambitions by annexing Constantinople and the Straits of the Dardanelles, the Czar took Russia into the 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 modern 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 fiend named Rasputin who virtually ran the government. Corruption in the state resulted in great suffering among the 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 front. By February 1917, 600,000 soldiers had been killed in war. 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 tune 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. On 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 hands 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 Russian 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 0ld Russian calendar, it occurred on 27 February 1917. The fall of the Czar, however, marked only the beginning of the revolution.
The most important demands of the people were fourfold: 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 clear 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 tile 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. The 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 all 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 there was no unearned income to live on. The right to work became a constitutional right and it 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 in 1936. The constitution gave the republics formed by the nationalities autonomy to develop their 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.
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 the 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 state 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 eat’, 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 nip 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-interests. 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 for 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.”
⦁ Explain the following terms: Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, Soviet, February Revolution, October Revolution, Bloody Sunday, Communist International
⦁ Describe the social and economic conditions in Russia before the Revolution of 1917. How did Russia’s participation in the First World War help create conditions for the fall of the Russian autocracy,
⦁ What were the main objectives of the Russian revolutionaries?
⦁ Describe the immediate consequences of the October Revolution on Russia’s participation in the First World War, the ownership of land, and position of the non-Russian nationalities of the Russian empire.
⦁ Explain the attitude of the USSR. towards the movements for independence in Asia.
⦁ Collect pictures connected with the Russian Revolution for display. Describe the events and the role of personalities shown in the pictures.
⦁ Collect documents connected with the Russian Revolution (for example, the text of the Decrees on Land and Peace) and select statements for a bulletin board display.
⦁ Discuss the impact of the Russian Revolution on the world.
⦁ Discuss the view that the Russian Revolution was brought about by a small group of revolutionaries without the support of the masses.
WORLD BETWEEN THE TWO WARS
Between the WarsHARDLY twenty years had passed since the end of the Fast 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 the 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 towards 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. The 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 a 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 shortlived. 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 par ties 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 but 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 earlier about the unification of Italy and her imperialist ambitions. The Italian government had shown little concern for the welfare of the 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. About 700,000 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 tree, ties had failed to satisfy her ambitions. The Italian government at the time was dominated by capitalists and landlords. These sections began to support antidemocratic 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 m 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 takeover 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 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 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 born the name of the part’ which Hitler 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 Kampf (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. About this, you will read later. 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, the 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 was organized on a large scale. On 27 February 1933, the Reichstag (Parliament) building was set on fire by the Nazis. The Communist Party 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 and, in 1934, became the President. Trade unions 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 worldwide 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 reroamed 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 the 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 antidemocratic 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 the First World War was the decline in the supremacy of Europe in the 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 this 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 worldwide 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. In spite 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 than 9,000 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.
FACE OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION:
A MOTHER-OF-THREE WHO HAD JUST SOLD THE FAMILY’S TENT TO BUY FOOD
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 the 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 the 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 overproduction. 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 the factories are closed to stop further production. With the closure of factories people are thrown out of employment which makes the 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, the 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 antidemocratic programme. In many countries, hunger marches were organized and the socialist movement pressed for far-reaching changes m the economic system so that such crises would not recur. The only country which was not affected by the economic crisis of 192933 was the Soviet Union.
The economic crisis had worst affected—the economy of the United States. It led to the 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 counterrevolutionary forces has already been mentioned. By 1920 the counterrevolutionary 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 for the people. There was a severe shortage of food. The production of industrial goods had fallen far below the prewar 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 reintroduced and production of goods and their sale in some industries under private control was permitted. A few years later, in 1929, the USSR slat ted 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 landholdings most of which were very small. The small landholdings or farms 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 bonging 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. Accor ding 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 m 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 the 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 the 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 and the imperialist leaders soon made it clear that the wartime slogans of freedom and democracy were not meant for then colonies. However, the war had weakened the imperialist countries arid 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 the 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. The city of Damascus which became a centre of revolt was reduced to ruins 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.
Turkey and Khilafat Movement
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 the 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 backwardlooking 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. In 1911, there was a revolution in China which resulted in the established 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.Sun YatSen. 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 led 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 the 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 YatSen in 1925, the unity between the 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 the 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 the 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 the 1930s were a period when the first political associations were formed. An important role in the growth of national consciousness in Africa was played by a series of PanAfrican Congresses. The Pan African 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 other 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 Chen country in 193536 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. While the long oppressed peoples in these two continents were beginning to assert their right to independence, preparations for another war were being made in Europe.
Beginning of Fascist Aggression
In the 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 the 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 the 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 the 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 m 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 antifascists to counter the danger of fascism and war. It may be recalled that Hitler had come to power m Germany because the Communist and Social Democratic Parties of Germany had failed to unite against the Nazis. The Comintern’ s advocacy of uniting all antifascist 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 worldwide 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 him worldwide 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 time and 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 this 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 the Western world to believe him. The great landowners, aristocrats, industrialists, bankers, high churchmen, army leaders —magnates of every kind in Western Europe, together with many middleclass 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 time 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 the Soviet Union”. The 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 1931. 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 the 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.
Germany had been admitted to the League of Nations some time 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 remilitarization 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 stoop’ the German remilitarization. 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 Prance, 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 1931 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 the 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 the 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 antifascist 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 m 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 fasces t 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 munitions 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 entire 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 antifascists 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.
THE SECOND WORLD WAR
The Second World War, like the First, started in Europe and assumed the character of a 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 redivision of the world and thus had to come into conflict with the established imperialist powers. The Western 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 Nonaggression Pact. In 1940, the Baltic 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 Paris 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 Union and Britain, and Soviet Union and USA. It was as a result of this unity that Germany, Italy and Japan were ultimately defeated.
Pearl Harbour: Entry of USA
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 AntiComintern 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 in Hawaii. 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 1 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 the war
The ‘Second Front’
The fascist countries began to suffer reverses in other 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. In July 1943, 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 on Germany. On 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
Nuke Attack on 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. This 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.
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 the 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. Largescale 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 m the history of the resistance movements. There were resistance movements within the fascist countries also. The fascist governments of Italy and Germany had physically exterminated hundreds of thousands of people who were opposed to fascism. However, many antifascists from these countries continued to fight against fascism inside and outside their countries. The antifascist 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 antifascists 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 Mint 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 Indochina, 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 kinds 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 practiced. 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 about 20 per 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 of her 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 then, 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.
AFTERMATH OF WW2
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 dominations which a few European imperialist powers exercised in the prewar 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 the 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 m 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 19805 as the one marking the beginning of a new phase in the history of the world after the Second World War.
Second World War: Immediate Consequences
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.
Birth of UNITED 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 were:
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
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 antifascist 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 hands. 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 —Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union which were in occupation of four 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 zone, were the Christian Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party. In 1948, Brain, France and the United States decided to merge the three zones under their control which were in West Germany and form a 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.
GERMANY: Fall of Berlin Wall
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.
France and Italy: rise of communism
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 IndoChina. The French government was trying to re-establish its rule over Indochina 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
Britain: Rise of Labour Party
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’s 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 form 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.
Many changes of great historical importance have taken place in the Soviet Union and in countries of Eastern and Central Europe. The most significant of these has been the 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 m 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 the living conditions of the people. The importance of these reforms was recognized the world over, Two Russian words were used to describe these reforms:
The hold of the Communist Party over the political life of the country was loosened and other political parties were allowed to function.
Fall of USSR
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 the republics and at the 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. However, the names of republics have changed. The new names are
New Name Old Name
⦁ Russian Federation RSFSR
⦁ Kazakhstan Kazakh SSR
⦁ Estonia Estonian SSR
⦁ Latvia Latvian SSR
⦁ Lithuania Lithuanian SSR
⦁ Ukraine Ukrainian SSR
⦁ Moldova Moldavian SSR
⦁ Armenia Armenian SSR
⦁ Georgia Georgian SSR
⦁ Azerbaijan Azerbaijan SSR
⦁ Turkmenistan Turkmen SSR
⦁ Uzbekistan Uzbek SSR
⦁ Tajikistan Tajik SSR
⦁ Belarus Byelorussian SSR
⦁ Kyrgyzstan Krighiz SSR
Equally important changes have taken place m 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 the unrest in these countries. The changes in the Soviet Union affected these countries directly. There were mass upheavals in all these countries in the late 1980s. By 1989, Soviet control over them came to an end. The monopoly of political power enjoyed by the 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 the Soviet Union and of which the communist ruled states of Europe were members, was dissolved in 1991.
Retreat of Socialism
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 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,
However, the problems of Yugoslavia did not end with its breakup. A large party of Bosnia-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.
The Cold War
A major feature of the history of the world for almost four decades after the end of the 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.
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 the 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. This 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. This 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 the 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 par ties in many parts of the world, alarmed the 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 the 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 hi 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 the setting up of military blocs.
In 1949, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed 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 the United States and Britain in other parts of the world.
In 1954 South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) was setup 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 Union 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 weaponry, new bombers, submarines and missiles have been developed which can carry these weapons over thousands of kilometres. The race for armaments which 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.
End of Cold War
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, for example:
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 the conflict into outer space and launching attacks from there.
However, the world situation began to improve after the mid 1980s 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.
NON ALIGNED MOVEMENT (NAM)
Many newly independent nations of Asia and Africa as well as many nations in other continents did not like the military blocs. They began to follow a policy of nonalignment 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 nonalignment and peace was played by India after her independence.
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.
NAM: opposition to Military blocs
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. Nonalignment has primarily been a policy aiming at the strengthening of independence, ending of colonialism and prolong 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 Minister ship of Jawaharlal Nehru played a pioneering role in making nonalignment a major force in the world. The other leaders who played an important role in the Non-Aligned movement were:
NAM: Belgrade Summit
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 the 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
⦁ respect for human rights
⦁ establishment of economic relations between nations based on equality and free from exploitation
The popularity of the policy of nonalignment was reflected by the number of countries which joined the group of Non-Aligned 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.
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.
Nehru’s speech @1st NAM conference
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, nonalignment 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. “Nonalignment” 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 nonalignment. Why? 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 underdeveloped 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.
Asian Countries: Independence
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 the 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 Southeast Asia which she had occupied. It was not easy to restore the rule of the former colonial powers over these countries.
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 outdated 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.
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. 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 independent India under the leadership 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 Antifascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) 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.
Sri Lanka, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia
SRI LANKA Within a few months of, India’s independence, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) also became free in February 1948.
THAILAND Thailand had been occupied by Japan and after the defeat of Japan became independent.
PHILIPPINES During the war, Japan had driven out the American forces from the Philippines. In 1946, the government of the United States agreed to the independence of the Philippines.
MALAYASIA In Malaya British rule had been re-established after the war. In 1957, Malaya (now Malaysia) became an independent nation.
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 (PLA). 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 KaiShek, but by 1949 his armies were completely routed. With the remnants of his troops, Chiang KaiShek went to Taiwan (Formosa), an island which had been occupied by Japan after she had defeated China in 1895.
On 1st 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.
China vs. USA
The establishment of the People’s Republic of China was 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 KaiShek 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.
China vs. India
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 UN Security Council (UNSC).
China after Mao
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.
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.
North Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) under the leadership of Korean Communists
South The Republic of Korea (South Korea) by a group of parties under the leadership of Syngman Rhee.
Rhee was an anticommunist and wanted an alliance with Chiang KaiShek 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.
One of the most heroic battles for freedom was fought by the people of Vietnam. This country along with Laos and Cambodia comprised IndoChina which had come under French colonial rule. After the French government surrendered to Germany, many parts of IndoChina were occupied by Japan. The movement for the freedom of IndoChina from French rule had started many years earlier. The greatest leader of the people of Vietnam was Ho ChiMinh. 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 ChiMinh’ 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 Mirth controlled a large part of Vietnam. In August 1945, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was proclaimed with Ho ChiMinh as President. However, the British troops as well as the troops of Chiang KaiShek arrived in Vietnam in 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 Dal, 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 done to Vietnam as a result of the heavy Viet Minh at the fortress of Dien-Bien-Phu. The French defeat at Dien-Bien-Phu has become famous because a people’s army without any sophisticated 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 Democratic Republic of Vietnam. In July 1954 an international conference was held at Geneva. It was agreed to partition Vietnam temporarily into North Vietnam South Vietnam and to hold elections all over Vietnam within two years to unify 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 the 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 guerrilla 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.
Cambodia: Khmer Rouge
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. The 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 Pot. 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 to three million.
GENOCIDE BY KHMER-ROUGE TROOPS
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
As in other parts of Asia, 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 people 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 gain 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.
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 the 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 was 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 the territories of other Arab states.
These territories include the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights 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.
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 mid1950s. 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 the 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.
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 Gamal Abdal Naseer 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 worldwide protests. The countries of Asia voiced their vehement condemnation of the invasion. There were massive protest demonstrations against the 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 the 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.
In Colonization of Africa, 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
Algeria: De Gaulle
The 1950s saw the emergence of a number of independent nations in North Africa. However, the 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 Indo China, 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 supporting the cause of Algerian independence. However, many sections in the French army were under the 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 FLN.
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 revolt 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.
Gold Coast = GHANA: Nkrumah
The first country in southern Africa to gain independence was Ghana. There was a 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 the 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 Guinea 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.
Kenya: Mau Mau rebellion
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 hi 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, SouthWest 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.
South Africa: apartheid
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 the twentieth century. It was under the exclusive control of the white minority practicing 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 trains 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.
Demonstrators protesting against apartheid laws were massacred at Sharpeville in South Africa, 22 March 1960. The main organization of the South African people which led the movement for ending the rule of the white minority and establishing a nonracist 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 1960, 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 the suit. The United Nations also condemned the policies of South Africa. In the 1980s some Western countries which had maintained 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 Africans for the first time were given the light to vote, was held in April 1994. 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.
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 SouthWest 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.
AFRICA Renaming Places
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 cities 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 re-establish 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 still fighting for their independence. The most significant step taken in this direction was the formation of the Organdation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.
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 destruction. 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 Warsaw 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 super power 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 in human 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.
⦁ What were the immediate consequences of the Second World War in Europe?
⦁ How was the political map of Europe after the war different from the prewar days?
⦁ What is meant by Cold War 7 What were the factors which gave rise to it?
⦁ Trace the history of the freedom movements in Asian countries.
⦁ What were the main aims of the foreign policy of the United States? What was the reason for the military intervention of the United States in Vietnam? What were its consequences?
⦁ What was the impact of the Portuguese revolution of 1974 on the Portuguese colonies in Africa?
⦁ What are the countries in Africa in which the struggle for liberation is still going on ?
⦁ What is meant by nonalignment? Why did most of the newly independent countries follow this policy?
⦁ Trace the history of the freedom movements in Africa
⦁ Describe the changes which have taken place in South Africa after 1989
⦁ Trace the developments that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
⦁ Describe the main changes which have occurred in Germany and the countries of Southern Europe since 1989
⦁ On an outline map of Europe, show the countries which came to have communist governments after the Second World War
⦁ Collect information on the African countries which gained their independence after 1960, Show these countries on a map
⦁ Try to get a copy of the declaration issued by the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held at Jakarta in 1992 Display it in the classroom
⦁ Prepare a list of countries where summits of the Non-Aligned Movement have b even held as well as a list of participating countries
⦁ Collect information about developments which have taken place in South Africa after 1993 and prepare a report
⦁ Collect information about the situation in Yugoslavia and the steps taken to implement the agreement between Israel and PLO since 1993.
⦁ Discuss the factors which led to the weakening of imperialism after the Second World War
⦁ Do you think the Cold War has finally ended?
⦁ Some countries of Asia had become members of military alliances. Do you think it helped in strengthening their independence? Why ? Or why not ? Give arguments with examples
⦁ Discuss the impact of the emergence of Asian and African countries as independent nations on the world.
⦁ What, in your view, led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and of the communist governments there and mother countries of Europe? Do you think this collapse means that ideas of socialism are no longer relevant? Discuss.
⦁ Do you think the post-Cold War world is a safer place to live in and there is no danger of any country dominating over other countries?