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STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu Document A: World History TextbookLike the Portuguese, the Belgians had never really considered preparing Africans in the huge Congo for self-government, much less for independence. As a Congolese nationalist movement emerged after World War II, however, the Belgian government agreed that it should prepare the colony for self-government. Believing that the Congolese had not developed the institutions or acquired the experience needed to manage a modern state, Belgians supported a 30-year timetable to prepare them for independence. Distrusting the Belgians, Africannationalistsdemanded immediate self-government. Consequently, in 1960 Belgium suddenly announced that it would withdraw completely within a year. With little preparation, many political parties representing different ethnic groups, geographical regions and political beliefs participated in the first elections ever held in the new Democratic Republic of the Congo. Former postal clerk Patrice Lumumba became prime minister, while his rival and political enemy Joseph Kasavubu became president. Lumumba remained opposed to European influence. Angered by his stance, Belgian technicians and experts left the Congo in droves. This proved to be a major blow to the new country’s economy. Soon, the army mutiniedand the copper-rich province of Katanga seceded. The country was plunged into a crisis. An assassin killed Lumumba in 1961, and Kasavubu assumed full power. The chaos and violence continued. Source:World History: Continuity and Change. Austin, Texas: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1999, pp. 776-777. Vocabulary African nationalists: people who support African self-rule and unity droves: large groups or numbers mutiny: refuse to follow orders secede: withdraw from being part of a country
STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu Document B: Lumumba’s Independence Day Speech The Congo celebrated its independence from Belgium on June 30, 1960, with a ceremony including speeches by the King of Belgium and the new president of the Congo, Joseph Kasavubu. Lumumba was not scheduled to speak at the ceremony, but he took the podium after listening to Kasavubu and gave the following speech. Although this independence of the Congo is being proclaimed today by agreement with Belgium, an amicablecountry, with which we are on equal terms, no Congolese will ever forget that independence was won in struggle, a persevering and inspired struggle carried on from day to day.