Este foi o 3° ensaio do curso, de um total de 6, que conclui sobre História Mundial desde 1300. Foram 4 meses de estudo, com aulas em língua inglesa e legendas. Descobri o curso através do site coursera.com, e as aulas foram ministradas pelo prof. Jeremy Adelman da Princeton University.

Ano passado, compartilhamos outro ensaio aqui.

O tema foi oportuno pois gerou boas discussões sobre colonização das nações européias sobre os povos fornecedores de matérias-primas. A Grande guerra, período que antecede às causas da Primeira guerra até as consequências da Segunda Guerra mundial, provocou o colapso de muitas nações européias. O enfraquecimento destas gerou oportunidades de independência entre muitas nações nas décadas seguintes. Ocorre que a Guerra Fria iria pressionar uma disputa ideológica radical entre Capitalismo x Comunismo com centenas de guerras civis, golpes de estado, perseguições políticas e religiosas.

In 1939, near a third of the world’s entire population lived under colonial rule. At the end of the 20th-century, less than one per cent did so. A weakened Europe cannot resist demands for independence from Asian and African nationalists. In 1945, Europe achieved virtual control 99.5% of the non-Western world. Twenty five years later, Western nations have lost control of many colonies, leaving them 5% of the non-Western world. The process of decolonization and nation building followed three patterns:

  1. civil war;
  2. negotiated independence;
  3. and incomplete decolonization;

Asia pos guerraThe first occurred principally in China, where the ousting of Japanese occupiers led to a civil war that ended in a communist triumph. Here, national independence was associated with a Socialist revolution. The second pattern, involving negotiated independence, played out in India and much of Africa. Algeria and South Africa illustrate the third pattern, in which the presence of sizeable European settler populations complicated the path from colony to nation. Faced with rising nationalist demands, weakened European powers agreed to decolonize. The new world powers, the Soviet Union and the United States, for their own reasons, also favored decolonization. After all, through the 1950s and 1960s, western powers (especially the United States) saw South Africa as a bulwark against the spread of communism in Africa. As the cold war spread in the early 1950s, Western Europe and North America became known as the First World, or “the free world.” Later on, Japan joined this group.

My point is the more incomplete was the process of decolonization was the biggest support to armed communist seizure of power. Decolonization proved even more dif cult in the southern third of the continent, where Portuguese Angola, Portuguese Mozambique, and British Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe) did not gain independence until the 1970s.

Africa pós guerraWorld War II made the Soviet Union and the United States into superpowers. Possessing nuclear weapons, superior armies, and industrial might, they vied for global influence. As decolonization spread, the two cold war belligerents offered new leaders their models for modernization. The decolonized peopel, however, had their ideas. With the communist takeover in 1949, China had shrugged off semi-colonial status, but Mao Tse Tung soon broke from Soviet direction. Latin American countries experienced coups promoted by the military forces aligned with the United States, expelling communist leaders during the 60s. Tensions persisted to the political opening in the 80s. Most problematic for Third World nations was the expanding cold war. In Europe, First and Second worlds coexisted uneasily alongside one another, but in the Third World the conflict often turned hot and bloody. Although the French departed, decolonization in Vietnam was incomplete. North Vietnam supported the Viet Cong communist guerrillas. Karl Marx wrote, “Religion is the opium of the people”.

For Communism, Nationalism and Religion were the major impediments to the establishment of socialism. Very soon after the October Revolution, the campaign to end religion – and more specifically, Christianity, Judaism and Islam – began. By 1939 over 99% of Russian Orthodox churches had been closed. Under Krushchev, 50,000 clergy were executed and many of the church hierarchy was replaced by individuals who had connections with the KGB.

The Tienanmen Incident in 1989 was a turning point for the church in China, Fu claimed. After the enormous suffering of both Christians and Chinese generally during the Maoist era, with millions dying in the late 1950s and early 1960s from the radical policies of the Great Leap Forward, the failure of the Chinese government to chart a course away from communism led many intellectuals and professionals in the “Tienanmen Generation” to turn to Christianity. In the mid-1970s, political practices and institutions associated with the three-world order started to deteriorate. By the late 1980s, the communist Second World was disintegrating.The collapse of the Soviet Union brought the cold war to an end. At the same time, the capitalist First World gave up its last colonial possessions, and the remnants of white settle supremacy disintegrated.

The many regional conflicts of the cold war era (Vietnam, Afghanistan, Nicaragua) were costly for countries caught in the ideological cross reaction. Vietnam became a battleground for Russian, Chinese, and American ambitions. This war spilled over into Laos and Cambodia, dragging them to ruin along with Vietnam. China attracted several client states in the competition for in uence in the Third World and within the communist bloc. In Afghanistan, Moscow propped up a puppet regime, only to fall into a bloody war against Islamic and tribal guerrillas nanced and armed by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.

One catalyst in socialism’s undoing was Poland. A critical event was the naming of a Polish archbishop as pope in 1978. The first non-Italian pope in 455 years, John Paul opposed the Soviet form of socialism. In 1979, he made a pilgrimage to his native Poland, holding enormous outdoor masses; in 1980, he supported mass strikes at the Gdansk shipyard, which led to the formation of the Soviet bloc’s first shipyard independent trade union, Solidarity. On 3 October 1990 the two Germanys merged to form a new united country.Since 1949 about 2.5 million people had fled East Germany. After 1961, the Wall and other fortifications along the 860 miles border shared by East and West Germany have kept most East Germans in. In World War I, only 10% of the 20 million killed were civilians. In World War II, half of the 55 million killed were civilians. In the last decade, about 80% to 90% of the dead were civilians in regional wars. Now, enemies live among a people who are minority. Ethnic groups that were left out of the construction process of the new countries.

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