Killing LumumbaAuthor(s): BRUCE KUKLICKSource: Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society,Vol. 158, No. 2 (JUNE 2014), pp.144-152Published by: American Philosophical SocietyStable URL: Accessed: 23-11-2019 18:44 UTCJSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a widerange of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity andfacilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available atAmerican Philosophical Societyis collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extendaccess to Proceedings of the American Philosophical SocietyThis content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Sat, 23 Nov 2019 18:44:14 UTCAll use subject to
Killing Lumumba1BRUCE KUKLICKProfessor of HistoryUniversity of PennsylvaniaAt the end of June of 1960, Belgium hurriedly relinquished itsvast colony of the Congo to the first democratically electedAfrican government. Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, atalented and unrestrained nationalist, led the new Republic of theCongo. A flamboyant and charismatic leader, Lumumba had high hopesas a pan-Africanist for directing his new country into an honored placeon the continent and in the world political community. But stability inthe just-born country immediately broke down. Uncontrolled, theCongo's army mutinied and spread havoc rather than peace. Themilitary from Belgium intervened to protect its nationals and to gainsome power over Lumumba; the Europeans quickly came to detest hisbrashness, volatility, and lack of deference. In the far southeast of thecounty, Katanga Province—always suspicious of a centralizednationalism, and especially of Lumumba's fervor—took the opportunityto declare its own independence, seceding from the Republic.In desperation, the Congo's leaders at once asked the UnitedNations to get Belgium out, to end the secession, and to put Lumumba'sarmy in good order. By mid-to-late July, peace-keeping troops fromfourteen countries had arrived, and ultimately numbered 20,000 asmany as in the local military. Fearful of instability in Africa and of theinfluence of Communism on Lumumba, the United States maneuveredbehind the scenes, fretting about the extension of the Cold War betweenthe Soviet Union and America to Africa. In January of 1961, six monthsafter independence, Lumumba was tortured and murdered inbreakaway Katanga.1 This essay derives from a lecture delivered at the meeting of the American PhilosophicalSociety on 19 April 2012 and retains some of the informality of that lecture. A more completeexposition of the events surrounding the murder and a fuller interpretation of its meaningcan be found in Emmanuel Gerard and Bruce Kuklick, Death in the Congo: MurderingPatrice Lumumba (Cambridge M.A.: Harvard University Press, 2015).