Question 8 - 8 Compare the political and economic relationship between the countries of western Europe and the rest of the world at the start of the

Question 8 - 8 Compare the political and economic...

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8.Compare the political and economic relationship between the countries of western Europe and the rest of the world at the start of the 20th century (c. 1900) and at its midpoint (c. 1950). How did that relationship change? What were the causes of those changes? At the beginning of the 20th century, the world appeared to be divided into two very distinct spheres. Western Europeans states, with their advanced economies and massive militaries, dominated occupied territories and colonies in Asia and Africa. The rest of the world, on the other hand, had to endure a one-sided relationship that enormously favored these conquering western European states. However, from the 1950s onwards, two global wars, as well as the economic and political crises of the interwar years ultimately transformed this relationship.The 1900s began with a rapidly changing world of newly forming nation-states but there was a clear separation between the advanced countries of western Europe and the rest of the world. Prior to the 1900s, western European states had conquered most of the African continent and consolidatedtheir possessions in Asia. Politically, the dominant states treated the conquering of nations as symbols of imperialist power fueled by increased nationalism at home. For example, by 1900, Great Britain had conquered territories in parts of west, east, south and the north of Africa, followed by the French who conquered most of west and central Africa. Germany, Belgium, Italy and Portugal also had colonial possessions too. There was a lot of pride and prestige tied to the ownership of colonies and it also allowed European governments to take attention away from domestic crises. Economically, colonies and other overseas territories were an important source of raw materials and labor. To a lesser extent, colonies were also markets of European-made finished goods. Belgium's control of the Congo was largely because of rubber while the British were interested in the gold and diamonds of southern Africa. Overseas territories also had strategic military and economic importance. In Egypt, for instance, the Suez Canal was an important
link to Great Britain's "jewel in the Crown", India as well as its possessions in China and territories in Oceania. This in turn encouraged the French and

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