Assess the reasons for the growth of nationalism in the European colonies after the second world war. How important was nationalism in bringing about decolonization?

The nationalist feelings were present in colonies, especially Asians, long before the second world war. The main objective of nationalist movements was to get rid of foreign rule and establishing self-rule. Nationalist argued that the development of colonies was held back in the interest of rulers. The second world war gave the stimulus to these nationalist movements in many ways:

  • The myth that European powers are invincible was shattered when Japan captured Indo-china region swiftly defeating British and French forces.
  • Asian and Africans became more aware of political and social issues as result of their involvement in the war.
  • Two points in Atlantic charter raised the hopes of colonial subjects: nations should not expand by capturing the territory of others, and people should have right to choose their own government.
  • European nations became weak after this prolonged war and were not in a position to rule further.

Nationalism made people aware of their past and increased their confidence which was shattered after long subjugation by colonial masters. With this nationalist feeling, colonial subjects would not have been able to put forward their demand of self-rule. 


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