The End of Empire in French West Africa: France's Successful Decolonization?

By Tony Chafer

With the intention to restoration its world-power prestige after the humiliation of defeat and career, France was once wanting to preserve its in another country empire on the finish of the second one global conflict. but simply fifteen years later France had decolonized, and through 1960 just a couple of small island territories remained below French control.The strategy of decolonization in Indochina and Algeria has been greatly studied, yet less has been written approximately decolonization in France's greatest colony, French West Africa. the following, the French strategy was once considered as exemplary -- that's, a gentle transition effectively controlled by means of good intentioned French politicians and enlightened African leaders. Overturning this bought knowledge, Chafer argues that the quick unfurling of occasions after the second one international struggle used to be a fancy , piecemeal and unpredictable approach, leading to a 'successful decolonization' that was once accomplished principally by chance. At independence, the winners assumed the reins of political strength, whereas the losers have been frequently repressed, imprisoned or silenced.This very important booklet demanding situations the conventional dichotomy among 'imperial' and 'colonial' historical past and may be of curiosity to scholars of imperial and French background, politics and diplomacy, improvement and post-colonial reports.

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By Tony Chafer

With the intention to restoration its world-power prestige after the humiliation of defeat and career, France was once wanting to preserve its in another country empire on the finish of the second one global conflict. but simply fifteen years later France had decolonized, and through 1960 just a couple of small island territories remained below French control.The strategy of decolonization in Indochina and Algeria has been greatly studied, yet less has been written approximately decolonization in France's greatest colony, French West Africa. the following, the French strategy was once considered as exemplary -- that's, a gentle transition effectively controlled by means of good intentioned French politicians and enlightened African leaders. Overturning this bought knowledge, Chafer argues that the quick unfurling of occasions after the second one international struggle used to be a fancy , piecemeal and unpredictable approach, leading to a 'successful decolonization' that was once accomplished principally by chance. At independence, the winners assumed the reins of political strength, whereas the losers have been frequently repressed, imprisoned or silenced.This very important booklet demanding situations the conventional dichotomy among 'imperial' and 'colonial' historical past and may be of curiosity to scholars of imperial and French background, politics and diplomacy, improvement and post-colonial reports.

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Hence, even supposing the dedication to a better France, made from metropolitan France and its in another country territories, was once retained, as was once a a little bit watered down dedication to ‘equality of rights and tasks, with no contrast in keeping with race or religion’, a few of the different provisions of the sooner constitutional draft have been revised: the connection with a Union ‘freely selected’ was once dropped, as used to be the suggestion for a resident under-secretary of nation in each one territory or staff of territories; the submit of governor was once retained; and the variety of seats allotted to AOF used to be lowered from 21 to thirteen (this elevated to sixteen in 1948 whilst the territory of Haute-Volta used to be reconstituted and elected 3 députés).

Thirteen The ensuing convention, which was once attended by means of all of the major unions together with the CATC and the Autonomes, opened at Cotonou on sixteen January 1957 and gave delivery to the Union Générale des Travailleurs d’Afrique Noire (UGTAN). Houphouët-Boigny and his allies within the RDA management additionally had cause to be happy. not just had the CGT’s unchallenged dominance of the exchange union move in AOF been damaged, yet one in every of ‘their’ males, Sekou Touré, was once its prime determine. additionally, the opposite major movers in the back of the CGTA, Bassirou Guèye and Seydou Diallo, have been Senegalese, which supplied the RDA with the desire that the recent union may provide the social gathering a springboard from which to extend its impression in Senegal.

This tradition of calls for emerged at federal, territorial and municipal point, in order that the Grand Conseil, territorial assemblies and city councils grew to become fora the place calls for have been mentioned and formulated yet the place accountability didn't have to be taken for the political or monetary results of selections. This was once one of many concerns that the Loi-cadre sought to deal with, as we will see in bankruptcy 6. one other end result of the presence of African députés within the French Parliament was once to persuade them that the coverage of assimilation used to be no longer conceivable.

The elderly, just like the FEANF, refused this type of merger, because it was once felt that the UNEF had no longer performed sufficient to help African scholars’ calls for. the 2 African unions additionally wanted to hold their id and so they consequently proposed joint activities with the UNEF as an alternative. This the UNEF in flip refused, even though it invited the African unions to wait its annual meetings as observers. the matter arose simply because French scholars thought of the Africans’ political opinions severe and accused them of over the top nationalism, while what the African scholars claimed they have been actually tough used to be an analogous rights and – 128 – Building the Nationalist stream therapy as metropolitan scholars, in response to the spirit of the French Union, and so they accused the French scholars of being, successfully, closet colonialists: ‘The query used to be now transparent for us: our comrades have been behaving like French nationalists and choosing themselves instinctively with the regime to which we have been antagonistic open air the sphere of pupil alternate unionism’.

Likelihood encounters have – xi – Preface additionally performed their half; for example, I spent many lengthy, sizzling hours speaking to a Monsieur Sangaré at the educate from Dakar to Bamako, due to which I now enjoy far better a few points of political realities at the flooring in Soudan through the decolonization interval and in addition comprehend excess of I did sooner than concerning the pitfalls of attempting to examine African election effects via Eurocentric eyes. Archivists and librarians in Europe and Africa have helped me to trace down elusive info and references.

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