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ch40 - Chapter 40 Africa and Asia in the Era of...

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Chapter 40 Africa and Asia in the Era of Independence Chapter Summary. Deep divisions between ethnic and religious groups remained when European rulers disappeared from their former colonies. Economic life was hampered by concessions made to the departing colonizers and by an international economy that favored industrialized nations. They lacked technological and management expertise, and had to face steady population growth and environmental degradation. Social unrest occurred due to corruption, and breakdowns in traditional culture. Failure to solve the problems produced dissent and disturbances that shook existing regimes. Opponents included political and religious revivalist groups with widely different proposed solutions. Leaders adopted differing strategies to remain in power, but many were replaced by military officers who assumed dictatorial authority. In Iran an anti-Western religious movement triumphed. The Challenges of Independence. Successful nationalistic movements usually involved mass mobilization of peasants and urban workers drawn into national political life for the 1st time. Nationalist leaders promised an improved life once the Europeans departed. When lack of resources blocked fulfillment of expectations, quarrels erupted among rival leaders, classes, and ethnic groups. The resulting instability further hampered development and deflected attention from the real problems hindering progress. In Depth: Artificial Nations and the Rising Tide of Communal Strife. Internal strife and the collapse of political systems have been common in the new Asian and African states. One reaction in the West is assert that former colonial peoples are unfit to rule themselves and that many were better off under European rule. Others called for active intervention by the West and Japan. The responses do not give enough attention to the immense obstacles confronting the new nations, or to the harmful legacies of colonial rule. Western societies in the past also had to overcome disruptive social and political divisions. Nearly all new Asian and African states were artificially created by Europeans who gave minimal attention the interests of the peoples involved. The imposed boundaries incorporated often very hostile ethnic and religious groups. The colonial rulers maintained power by divide-and-rule tactics. When the colonial era ended, the rulers left resolution of long-existing problems to new regimes unable to contain them. Internal strife and war between states resulted, and democratic regimes suffered. Economic improvement was hampered by military spending, while hostilities caused extensive human suffering. The Population Bomb. Population growth proved to be one of the most important barriers to economic advance after independence. Importation of New World food crops had fueled growth, and colonial rule reinforced the trends by combating local war and disease. Modern transportation systems helped to check famine. Population growth continued after independence, especially in Africa.
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