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11-08-2015, 19:30

The Colonial Empires

By being defeated, the conquered nations lost their colonial empires. France proposed that Italy should retain her territories under mandate. Molotov claimed part of Tripolitania for Soviet Russia 'so that she would occupy her rightful place in the Mediterranean.' But at a meeting at London in September 1945 the Allies decided to grant independence to Ethiopia, Libya and Somaliland. The British expected all three new states to gather beneath her protective wing. Japan returned Formosa and Manchuria to China and Port Arthur and northern Sakhalin to Soviet Russia. The Koreans regained their independence. Victory did not spare the Allies' empires, where their armies had too often been discredited. America under Roosevelt's leadership repeatedly remonstrated against colonialism. Nationalist leaders were aware that the colonizers themselves were in disagreement. During the war the Allies renounced their 'territorial concessions' and privileges in China. As soon as Japan had been defeated, Sukarno claimed independence for Indonesia. The Dutch could not restore their administration without reconquering the Indonesian empire. The French Empire, particularly in Africa, remained loyal during the war, but French authority had been undermined by the presence of the English in the Middle East and Madagascar, by the Americans in French North Africa, and by the Japanese in Indochina. The Middle Eastern countries had to be granted independence. On the day the Germans surrendered an uprising broke out at Serif in Algeria, which had to be put down with bloodshed. After the Japanese withdrew from Indochina, the Chinese occupied it in the north and Great Britain in the south. Viet-Minh nationalists infiltrated everywhere. The outlook was grim. The British Empire seemed to emerge from the war unscathed, but Canada and Australia had shifted a little further awray from Britain towards American influence. During the war Burma had been promised independence. As the war ended, India was lashed by strikes, popular uprisings and mutinies.