Matthew G. Stanard
This chapter identifies and develops several themes that have emerged in recent works on the end of Belgium’s empire. The first is how, before 1960, factors mainly endogenous to the Congo and the Belgian-Congo colonial relationship were responsible for shaping decolonization’s history. Paradoxically, the depth of Belgium’s colonial impact politically and economically also produced changes that undermined colonial control as well as Congo’s cohesion. The chapter analyses the depth of Belgian social, economic and political connections with its vast Congo territory in the years preceding and immediately following the 1960 crisis, the assassination of Lumumba, and the widening UN intervention of the early 1960s.
The Copperbelt region of Central Africa sits at the crossroads of political borders, trade corridors, migratory flows, and identity formations. The division of the region by a colonial/national border shaped not only its differential political economy, but also how this was perceived and represented. At the heart of all such representations was the relationship between minerals and their supposed capacity to effect economic, political, and social transformation. This article analyzes how this relationship has been understood and articulated from the precolonial period until today, and the ways that actual and potential mineral wealth have underwritten successive, often contested, political projects and aspirations. In identifying changes and enduring patterns in mining-based political representation, it suggests an alternative history of the Copperbelt region rooted in the political imaginaries surrounding mining and its potential for transformation.
Sarah Elizabeth Stockwell
This chapter considers processes of decolonization in Britain’s ‘empires’, incorporating discussion not just of the key dynamics and manifestations of decolonization in the colonial empire in India, Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere, but also in Britain’s residual ‘informal’ empire in the Middle East, and in the ‘old’ Commonwealth countries of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. The chapter argues that decolonization across these different contexts was driven by geo-political forces operating across the European empires, as the international order was reconfigured by two world wars, tilting power away from Britain and other European imperial powers. Stockwell nevertheless identifies elements of British imperial exceptionalism. She suggests that these were not to be found, as contemporaries liked to claim, in the form of a British liberal imperialism. Rather, Britain, which was at the centre of an empire larger than any other, retained a semblance of great power status, shaping British relations with the United States and Britain’s ambitions to exercise influence after empire.
This chapter considers the changing approaches adopted after the October Revolution towards Russia’s ethnic minority populations alongside efforts to construct a shared Russian or Soviet national identity within what remained a culturally diffuse land empire. Politicians and historians have produced multiple narratives of the collapse of the Romanov empire. The initial history of the Bolsheviks stressed the role of the national movements against ‘the prison of nations’ alongside the proletarian struggle against ‘the weakest link’ of imperialism. In the 1930s, the Stalin-edited ‘Short Course of the History of the Communist Party’ marginalized national movements’ roles in favour of class struggle, while post-communist national historiographies did the opposite. Recently, the growing literature on the First World War places the conflict itself at the centre of the story of imperial collapse and demonstrates how multiple factors, produced by the conditions of war, undermined empire and strengthened the ethnic and social anti-imperial movements.
Enrico Dal Lago
This article first briefly reviews the historiography of comparative slavery, so as to identify the main trends and changes it went through. It then provides a summary of the state of the art of comparative studies in the three main historical periods in which slavery flourished in the Americas: the colonial period (sixteenth to late eighteenth centuries), the revolutionary period (roughly 1770–1820), and the nineteenth century. At the heart of the article are the different ways in which comparative perspectives have enhanced our understanding of the different historical phenomena — chief among them capitalism — associated with the rise and spread of the Atlantic slave system in the New World. A long debate is still in course on the definition of the relation between slavery and capitalism and on whether we can see this relation as an alternative route to modernity followed by the slave societies in the Americas, especially the Old South. The comparative perspective helps by showing that capitalist and precapitalist elements were present in different degrees in all the areas characterized by slave labour and that it was this coexistence of different elements that provided New World slavery with features that make it comparable to systems of both free and unfree labour in other parts of the world.
The era of the French Revolution, and specifically the later 1780s and 1790s, saw the modern meanings first of “diplomatic” and then “diplomacy” become established in the political lexicon. A century before, when the Maurist monk Jean Mabillon wrote De re diplomatica (1681), his masterpiece devoted to the science of documents and the historical method, the term still retained its traditional meaning: relating to the study of diplomas or other documents. At this period the peaceful conduct of relations between states was known as “negotiations” (négociations ), a term which long continued to be employed. During the later eighteenth century, however, the terms “diplomatic” and “diplomacy” took on their present-day meaning both in French and in English. The Irish political journalist and British MP, Edmund Burke, did most to make the word familiar to Anglophone readers. In the Annual Register for 1787 he wrote of “civil, diplomatique [sic] and military affairs,” while a decade later, in one of his celebrated Letters on a Regicide Peace, he spoke of the French regime's “double diplomacy.” By shortly after 1800, the term was becoming established.
H. James Burgwyn
This article examines the essence of Mussolini's foreign policy and Italy in the Second World War. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were dreamers who indulged in a mysticism of empire and race. According to the gifted historian MacGregor Knox, there are major similarities between the dictatorships of Hitler and Mussolini. Each regime is found to be genuinely revolutionary, their evil and violent leaders committed to subverting the international system of sovereign states in favour of an Axis New Order where racial and ethnic inferiors would be either annihilated or reduced to helots serving barbaric masters. Meanwhile, according to a dominant nationalist school of thought of Italy led by Renzo De Felice, Mussolini, in seeking ‘equidistance’ between the chief European states, aimed to utilize Nazi Germany as leverage to extract colonial concessions from the Western Powers.
China’s end of empire, as elsewhere, was a protracted process, the ramifications of which are still being felt, and its imperial situation was especially complex. From the middle of the nineteenth-century onwards, more than a dozen foreign powers acquired an imperial foothold in China but none secured (and rarely sought) anything more than small pockets of territorial jurisdiction until the Sino-Japanese War of 1937–1945. This chapter considers the fates of three different Chinese empires: the Manchu Qing dynasty, the Western powers, and the Japanese. It will attempt to explain how the Qing vanquished, held, then lost a vast territory marked by pronounced cultural diversity, and explores how its end was closely bound up with the rise and fall of overseas powers in China.
The End of Empire in the Maghreb: The Common Heritage and Distinct Destinies of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia
This chapter devotes itself to explaining the dichotomy in the paths to decolonization followed by the French territories in the North African Maghreb: Morocco and Tunisia, compared to Algeria. The seminal event of the end of the French Empire, the Algerian war of independence was terribly bloody, and its most extreme acts of violence were concentrated within Algeria. Its impact on French society was profound: the long-term engagement of French troops was socially transformative, the political repercussions were huge, and Metropolitan France became a secondary theatre of the conflict. There is a pronounced imbalance in the volume of research produced on Algeria compared to that generated on Tunisia and Morocco. The sequence of events at the end of empire in North Africa and the subsequent formation of sovereign states supports an approach that pays due attention to the particular histories of the three territories, focusing chiefly on each one’s particularities.
This article proposes to shift the focus from eugenic science to its translation into concrete policy practices, adopting a comparative perspective. It draws on examples of eugenic policy-making in the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, and Germany to explore the relation between eugenic science and the state, examining the impact of different state formations on cross-national variations in the political trajectories of eugenics. Eugenic movements were thus able to exert important influence on these states' policy-making apparatuses. This article also discusses the affect of specific institutional design on the ways in which eugenic policies are implemented. It also deals with political spectrum of eugenics and tends to amalgamate eugenics with conservative and extreme right-wing political ideologies.
Bonnie G. Smith and Donald R. Kelley
This article discusses ancient Europa; national states; Renaissance innovations; imperial Europe; twentieth-century global warfare; the downfall of empires; and global migration and communication. Europa is associated with the territories north of the Bosporus starting with the Balkans, set off from Africa and Asia. The subsequent ‘Holy Roman empire’ survived for a millennium as a form of ‘Europe’, especially under the Habsburgs, until it was dissolved by Napoleon in 1806 and succeeded by the Austro-Hungarian empire until 1918. Other expansive institutions in the modern period included the overseas empires of individual European nations, the Soviet empire after 1917, and the growing European Union of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
J. F. Pollard
The first fascist movement to come to power, Italian fascism, did so in a country that was 99 per cent Catholic and the seat of the papacy, and ‘clerical fascist’ movements came to power in another two overwhelmingly Catholic countries, the first Slovak Republic and the Croatian Independent State. Fascist movements and regimes in other European countries also entered into relations with the Roman Catholic Church, and in broader terms, many Catholics, individually and collectively, were closely involved with fascist movements and regimes in the inter-war years. This article analyses the complex relationships between fascism, the institutional church, and Catholics more generally. It examines the initial attitudes of fascist movements to Catholicism/the Catholic Church, the encounter between fascism and Catholicism, and the interests and common enemies that brought them together in this encounter.
This chapter examines the geopolitical aspect of the Cold War. It discusses the origin of the term “geopolitics,” and investigates how and why relations between the United States and the Soviet Union deteriorated so rapidly after the World War 2. The chapter highlights the incompatibilities between the ideologies of the two superpowers, and explains that communism and free-market capitalism are polar opposites. It also argues against the claims about the extent to which the Cold War was based on ideological as opposed to geopolitical factors that persisted throughout the conflict.
Amy L. Sayward
This chapter explores the role of international institutions during the Cold War. It explains that while international institutions promoted their own agendas for global action, they also provided venues for raising questions about the bipolar power contest and acted as mitigators in international conflicts. The chapter also suggests that the histories of international institutions can provide insights into the complexities of the Cold War. It furthermore discusses the role of the United Nations in creating an era of global expectations and conventions that do fit into the nation-states paradigm, and highlights the emergence of the so-called world society or world culture during the Cold War.
This chapter examines historical developments in relation to international interventions in nationalist disputes. It focuses on developments since the Second World War, with particular emphasis on international interventions in the post-Cold War era. The first section looks at the shifts in international relations in this period that account for the marked increase in third-party interventions in nationalist disputes. The second section looks at the various kinds of interventions that have been undertaken, by whom, and for what purposes, highlighting innovations in practice. The third section examines some of the key issues and debates associated with international interventions in this period.
The idea of an international society of sovereign states predates the era of nationalism and the elevation of the principle of the self-determination of people to its present status as an inalienable human right (Articles 1.2 and 55 of the UN Charter). The nationalization of the sovereignty principle immediately raised the question, however, of which groups could legitimately claim the right to self-determination and state recognition? Neither in theory nor practice has this question proved easy to answer. This chapter traces the attempts to do so in the twentieth century, the emergence of an orthodox interpretation after 1945, i.e. self-determination as decolonization, the impact of the cold war, and attempts to widen the interpretation in the context of self-determination disputes in different parts of the world that have arisen since 1989. The chapter concludes that the present situation is confused and that no new consensus has unambiguously emerged.
The strong connection between eugenics and nationalism is now a clear interpretive strand in the historiography. This article discusses various studies of eugenics and emphasizes the international dimension. The long-standing historiographical interest in this aspect of eugenics stems partly from the availability of the proceedings of early international conferences. It also deals with the most ambitious consideration of eugenics and internationalism that involves consideration of apparently universal principles of evolution and inheritance for humanity as a whole. It also presents a close consideration of the role of eugenics in regulating and monitoring international human movement. Finally, it concludes that eugenics is fundamentally about the devastating implications of a science of human differentiation and needs to be understood through the modern history of universalism, internationalism, and cosmopolitanism.
Stephen A. Smith
The introduction offers a ‘global’ survey of the history of communism not only in the geographical sense but also in the sense of seeking to integrate history from above and history from below, social and cultural with political and economic history. The first half offers a synoptic view of the history of communist revolutions before and after 1945, highlighting the tensions between ‘intentionalist’ interpretations that stress human agency and political will and structuralist interpretations that stress the role of impersonal forces. It traces the way in which the meaning of the Russian Revolution was revised in the 1920s from being a mass revolution involving soviet power and radical equality to one concerned with the state mobilization of the human and material resources of a backward society to bring about economic, social, and military modernization. The second half looks at a number of major issues relating to the political, economic, and social history of communism in power. In respect of politics, these include the role of ideology in politics, the relationship of informal to formal political practices, the relationship of ‘neo-traditional’ to modern political practices, and the problem of bureaucracy. In respect of the economy, they include the relationship of the planned economy to the ‘second economy’, difficulties of economic reform, and the shift towards meeting the needs of the consumer from the 1950s. In respect of social aspects, the essay stresses the importance of non-state-directed social processes in shaping the development of communist societies, the reconstitution of forms of social inequality, ideas of cultural revolution, and policy towards women and national minorities. While not attempting to summarize historiography, the introduction seeks to give readers a sense of issues currently under debate.
Penny Von Eschen
This chapter examines the role of the transnational in the Cold War. It suggests that Cold War transnationalism must be considered as a highly specific political and ideological formation, and analyzes transnational projects such as those reflected in the memorialization film of actor Bruce Lee and Congolese political leader Patrice Lumumba. The chapter contends that attention to transnational movements and formations raises fundamental questions about who should tell the story of the Cold War and comments on Kamila Shamsie's critically acclaimed 2009 book Burnt Shadows. It also shows that interconnectedness of the Cold War with national and transnational histories that predated the particular policies/crises of the Cold War.
Globalization is a highly contested concept, and its theoretical status and validity continue to be in doubt. To be useful for the historical analysis of nationalism, ‘globalization’ has to be broken down into a number of less ambitious concepts. The chapter argues that nationalism developed and operated within a tension between the modern territorial state and various forms of transnational mobility. In many cases, nationalism was the opposite and antagonist of internationalism and globalism. At the same time, nationalists rarely lost sight of the wider global arena within which they were acting. Nationalism responded to globalization in a wide variety of ways ranging from the assertion of economic sovereignty to attempts to shape and position national culture within various horizons of normative and aesthetic universalism.