Second World War and the End of Colonial Rule in Africa
The end of colonial rule in Africa was strongly influenced by some factors relating to the Second World War. The primary factor was the emergence of the USA and the USSR as the new world powers. These powers were opposed to imperialism and therefore took measures to undermine it. The USA did this by actively advocating for decolonization since it wanted to prevent Africa from becoming the arena of conflicts between capitalist and communist forces. The USSR, on the other hand, promised to support anti-colonial forces in Africa, therefore, jeopardizing the sovereignty that Europeans had enjoyed in their respective colonies.
A major impact of the Second World War was that it economically crippled most of the European countries. This included Britain and France, which were major colonial powers. Due to these new economic realities, Europeans began to see their colonies as economic burdens that could not be sustained. The colonial powers could no longer afford to spare significant amounts of money and manpower to administer their colonies.
As a result, the efficiency with which the colonies had been run reduced. The War also led to the formulation of the Atlantic Charter and the United Nations Charters, which affirmed the right of nations to choose their leaders. These rights provided the grounds on which many countries made demands for independence from their colonizers.
The final contributing factor of the Second World War to decolonization stemmed from the fact that most colonial powers elicited men from their colonies to fight in the European battlefronts. This led to a situation where African servicemen fought alongside white soldiers for a similar cause.
These experiences brought about a realization that Europeans were not inherently superior to Africans. Therefore, many African ex-servicemen were at the forefront in making demands for independence when they returned to their motherlands.