This examination of the forces that precipitated the twentieth century collapse of all Europe's late colonial empires includes the fate of the British, French, Dutch, Belgian and Portuguese colonial empires. Investigated individually and comparatively, it addresses an important historic topic and synthesizes conventional thought on imperialism and comparative decolonization. It also offers new perspectives in contemporary European history, international politics and the legacies of colonialism across the developing world.
Ranging from the wave of European imperial expansion in the aftermath of World War I to the collapse of the last settler colonies in Africa during the 1960s and 1970s, the authors assess decolonization as a long-term process. They examine the impact of significant changes in the world in the twentieth century and shifting popular attitudes towards colonialism both within European imperial nation states and within the colonies. As the economics of empire shifted with a change in global markets, colonial urbanization and the growth of colonial organized labor, so to did the politics of empire.
Also explored is the significant role of Africans and Asians as agents of colonial change, highlighting the parts played by anti-colonial movements, popular protest, and armed insurgency as catalysts of Europe's imperial collapse.
The authors balance recent theories of post-colonial history and global history with traditional fields of diplomatic and economic history for a wide-ranging, comprehensive view of a complex area of study.