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Cold War, Civil Rights: Decolonization and the Global Human Rights Movement Ed Martini Department of History, Western Michigan University World History Workshop Presentation 18 May 2011 I. Overview: World History as an Interpretive • Teaching the Post-1945 LensPeriod, whether US or World, should be more about considering multiple viewpoints than “adding” content • We can teach many of the same events (and meet many parts of the new standards) without reinventing the wheel • Students should be able to put U.S. History into a global context, to see the ways in which recent global events have shaped the U.S. (and viceversa) Decolonization & the Cold War What happens if we take decolonization, rather than the Cold War, as the defining global event of the post-1945 world? A Snapshot of Decolonization • From the mid-19C to WWI more than 450 million people were subjected to colonial rule • Decolonization began after WWI, but was greatly accelerated by WW2 • “Led” by the examples of India and Vietnam, 25 new nations were created between 1957 and 1962 alone, mostly in Africa The Role of the Cold War • Anticolonial Social Movements radicalized by Cold War dynamics, particularly when U.S. chose anti-communism over anti-imperialism • Many movements, drew on rhetoric, resources of Cold War institutions, particularly Universities • Made the world smaller, and helped leaders and activists around world see commonalities The Cold War as a War of Narratives • Westad (The Global Cold War, 2005) argues that the Cold War was, in part, a battle between United States’ “empire of liberty” (US) and Soviets’ “empire of justice” • In this battle, both superpowers attempted to convince new nations to join their camp; the leaders of new nations had to choose which (if either one) to cast their lot with • By emphasizing the Challenging the Bipolar View experience of newly postcolonial states, the bipolar superpower worldview is subject to revision • The non-aligned movement, as well as the specific case studies of India, Ghana, Vietnam, or Ethiopia, can serve as examples of how the view from the developing Tracing the Effects of Decolonization • By the early 1960s, New Left leaders were hailing the “Third World” as “the future” and as a model for liberation movements in the West • Vietnam and Cambodia in Southeast Asia; Algeria in Africa; India in the Near East; and even Cuba in the West served as inspiration for anticolonial liberation movements Some Critical Thinking • How did the colonial experience of nations in Questions different regions inform their liberation movements? • How did decolonization effect the Cold War, and how did the Cold War effect decolonization? • To what degree was the Cold War simply a new form of imperialism toward the developing world? • What role did Communist ideology play in anticolonial movements? • Were the wars in Vietnam primarily anticolonial struggles or battles in the Cold War? Cuba? • • • How to Get There? Group Work on Comparative Colonial Revolutions (Vietnam/India/Algeria/Cuba) Comparing Maps From 1850, 1900, 1950 to visualize the rise and fall of modern colonialism Rewrite a section on the Cold War from a U.S. history textbook from a World History perspective Some Possibly Familiar Primary Sources • Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnamese Declaration of Independence (1945) • Richard Wright’s Report from the Bandung Non-Aligned Conference (1955) • UN Declaration on Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (1960) • SDS Port Huron Statement (1962) Cold War, Civil Rights The Early Cold War • 1947 - W.E.B. DuBois’ Appeal to the World used Truman’s language of Free v. Slave world, calling on the nations of the world to pressure the U.S. to end segregation • 1957 - Little Rock - Eisenhower’s speech to the country couched in language of the Cold War and of international human rights JFK and the Early 1960s • • • 1960 - “Year of Africa” - 17 New Nations in Africa alone • • Sit-In Movement launches new phase of CRM Castro stays in Harlem to highlight U.S. racism Several African leaders to the U.S. are refused service in Delaware, Maryland, en route from NYC to DC 1963 - Birmingham Actions are larger scale replay of Little Rock - broadcast to entire world; Kennedy’s first call for Civil Rights Act also couched in language of Cold War and human rights MLK’s Letter From a Birmingham Jail • Directed at unsupportive clergy, but used a global context to make his case: • “The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jet-like speed toward gaining political independence, but we stiff creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter.” Birmingham as World History Containment on Several Fronts • • • Both Eisenhower and Kennedy sought to pursue multiple forms of containment - limit the spread of Communism, National Liberation Movements, and desegregation movement Eastern establishment figures in both administrations new about as much about the South as they did the Third World (not much) Views of most administration figures was that neither Africans nor “Negroes” were ready for democracy and should only be brought along gradually The Later Civil Rights Movement: Variations on the Theme • • • • Malcolm X - Cultivated Pan-African ties and compared U.S. situation to that of South Africa, Angola Stokely Carmichael regularly linked the struggle of Black people in the U.S. to that of those around the world The Black Panthers agenda based on the idea of “internal colonization” Martin Luther King’s statements about the war in Vietnam address which side of the “world revolution” of decolonization the U.S. is on Malcolm X’s Internationalism Martin Luther King on Vietnam • http://www.wmich.edu/teachmlk/visuals. php Thinking Globally • What happens when we view the Civil Rights Movement as part of a global struggle for human rights and against colonization? • How did the narratives of decolonization and the Cold War shape the Civil Rights movement, and vice-versa? • To what extent was the Civil Rights Movement part of the global movement for human rights since 1945?