Day 32 – Q. 2 What were the key factors that contributed to the decolonization process, and how did it affect the political, economic, and social structures of newly independent countries?

  • IASbaba
  • December 29, 2022
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GS 1, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing, World History
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What were the key factors that contributed to the decolonization process, and how did it affect the political, economic, and social structures of newly independent countries?

प्रमुख कारक कौन से थे जिन्होंने विऔपनिवेशीकरण की प्रक्रिया में योगदान दिया, और इसने नए स्वतंत्र देशों की राजनीतिक, आर्थिक और सामाजिक संरचनाओं को कैसे प्रभावित किया?

Approach –

In this question candidates need to write about factors that contributed to the decolonization process and how did it affect the political economic and social structure  of newly independent countries .

Introduction –

Decolonization is the action or process of a state withdrawing from a former colony, leaving it independent. After 1945 many states in Europe and Asia were decolonized. Mainly decolonization started in Asia, Africa and Middle East.


Factors led to decolonization post world war II-

  • Lack of resources: After World War II many nations had financial crunch, ran out of financial resources, and bad administration which no longer could help them maintain colonies.
  • Freedom movements: Many independence movements started in colonial states. Many countries took the advantage of that.
  • Education and literature: Education and western literatures gave room for rational thinking and independence thoughts.
  • Third world: Many exploited and ignored states came together to oppose Imperialism.
  • Non-aligned movement: Nehru from India, Tito the communist leader from Yugoslavia, Nasser from Egypt successfully opposed French and British imperial powers.
  • Establishment of United Nations: United nations put pressure on imperial countries like UK, France to provide independence to colonies. Nation-state has been accepted as ideal form of political organization.
  • New international economic order: In 1961, non-aligned movement was followed by formation of United Nations conference on trade and development (UNCTD) which tried to promote new international economic order. It emphasized the importance of under developed countries.
  • Cold war: United States and USSR pressurized European allies to give independence and free them.
  • Atlantic charter (1941): it stated that people should have the right to choose their own government.
  • Influence from newly decolonized countries: Many states were influenced from the neighbouring countries for decolonization and they had mutual support.
  • Social causes: various films, books, museum displayed the impact of colonization which rose national feeling and patriotism among colonies.
  • Neo-colonialism started: practice of using capitalism and globalization by their power and administration

Impact On Economy

  • Newly independent African states were found to need to upgrade their economic systems. Additionally, even though the former colonies were now legally independent, they remained largely reliant on the West for assistance in building their political and economic institutions. As a result, western corporations continued to exert considerable influence over the new states.
  • In order to finance their own growth, newly independent republics borrowed money from Western nations, which led to the creation of a new debt system.
  • The major point of contention is that, even in the absence of explicit governmental controls, the interaction between more and less developed economies tends to accentuate the gap between them.
  • Dependence on foreign money has been argued to impede long-term economic growth and, more broadly, to influence the social, political, and economic makeup of the dependent country.
  • Despite these concerns, it is clear that decolonization entails a fundamental shift in the systems that govern international trade, particularly in the post-World War II era.
  • Modern states have widely recognized rights to regulate economic activity within their borders, including the ability to nationalise industries with foreign ownership and renegotiate agreements with multinational businesses.

Social Schism:

  • Each country contained a number of different tribes which had united in the nationalist struggle for freedom. However, as soon as the Europeans withdrew, their allegiance shifted back to their respective tribes thus leading to fissiparous tendencies within the nations. For eg. in Nigeria, the Congo (Zaire), Burundi and Rwanda, tribal differences became so intense that it led to civil wars.

Political Problems:

  • African politicians lacked experience of working with the system of parliamentary democracy left behind by the Europeans. Most African leaders who had taken part in Guerrilla campaigns before independence were influenced by Marxist ideas, which often led them to set up one-party States as the only way to achieve progress.
  • Politically, many countries have been unable to pay off this debt for decades, therefore it still persists. Decolonization’s effects on broader ideas of international dominance or injustice are hotly debated. Dependency and world systems theorists envisioned decolonization as causing the change in the mere form, but not the content, of core-periphery connections.


One of the most important effects of decolonization is the instability of the post-colonial political systems, which entails another, far-reaching consequences. These include deep economic problems, inhibiting growth and widening disparities between the northern and southern part of the globe

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