African Nation State Development

Required Resources
Read/review the following resources for this activity:

  • Textbook: Chapter 14, 15
  • Lesson
  • Minimum of 1 scholarly source (in addition to the textbook)

For the initial post, address one of the following:

Option 1: Middle East
Examine the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict from its beginnings some 4000 years ago and how it has evolved/devolved over the centuries to the current time? Analyze the role of the Balfour Declaration on Israel’s rebirth in 1948 and its effectiveness in helping Jewish people in their quest to reclaim their ancient homeland.

Option 2: African Nation State Development
Examine some of the main (internal or external) reasons why the African people were to develop into nation states later than most experts feel was appropriate/normal. Examine the role of European imperial powers in African nation state development.

Writing Requirements

  • Minimum of 3 posts (1 initial & 2 follow-up)
  • Minimum of 2 sources cited (assigned readings/online lessons and an outside source)
  • APA format for in-text citations and list of references

Follow-Up Post Instructions
Respond to at least two peers or one peer and the instructor. At least one of your responses should be to a peer who chose an option different from yours. Further the dialogue by providing more information and clarification.


Good Morning, Professor and Class-

Option 2: African Nation State Development
Examine some of the main (internal or external) reasons why the African people were to develop into nation states later than most experts feel was appropriate/normal. Examine the role of European imperial powers in African nation state development.

There were numerous reasons why the African people were slower to develop into nation states than most experts anticipated. Initially, after WWI, the end of European colonial rule in Africa meant that the African population would have to be educated in ways to handle the inherent responsibilities of a representative government. While the British and French made attempts at preparing their colonies for the transition to independence, other countries, such as Belgium and Portugal, made little effort to do so (Duiker, 2015).

In addition to this inadequate support and preparation, there are several other factors that contributed to the delay of African nation state development. First of all, in comparison to most regions in Asia, colonialism in Africa was established later. Secondly, most states in Africa consisted of heterogeneous populations with very little ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and territorial unity. For example, Zaire, consisted of more than 200 territorial groups; these groups spoke 75 different languages. Establishing a strong sense of unity, essential in forming cohesive nation-states, proved to be extremely challenging. Combine this with the fact that European imperial powers, even after the establishment of colonies, frequently employed a “divide and rule” policy. This policy added to the difficulty in achieving unity when opposition to colonial rule began (Duiker, 2015).

Other factors that help to explain the delay of African Nation States include the political climate and economic conditions at the time. Persisting effects of neocolonialism, along with the extensive disparities in wealth and education, made it difficult to establish appreciable, successful, and flourishing financial conditions in much of Africa. Almost all new African countries depended on the exportation of one single resource or crop which was often under the control of a foreign entity. Price fluctuations and international market demand greatly influenced their economic success, or lack thereof. In this aspect, Western dominance was maintained economically (Duiker, 2015).

Another significant challenge to African nation-state development was the lack of national infrastructures. While the European imperial powers took credit for delivering civilization and developing Africa, they provided very little infrastructure to their former colonies. This lack of infrastructure resulted in the nation states continues dependence on Western economies for much of their energy (Thompsell, 2019). Not all problems delaying the successful development of nation states stemmed from external sources. Many new states caused their own problems. Treasury funds, intended to support and sustain the economy and improve the infrastructure, were misspent on lavish consumer goods or military equipment. Corruption and bribery were widespread as the need to obtain basic services became essential. Regionalism and ethnic rivalries undermined their success also. These external and internal obstacles to achieving unity within the nation-states resulted in increased vulnerability to external influence and conflict further delaying the development into nation states (Duiker, 2015).

answer 2:

The Arab-Israeli conflict has been going on for many years and the majority of it is due to some religious aspects but also in a battle for territory. This conflict really started to become more pronounced in the early 1900’s when the remaining Jewish people wanted a state of their own for refuge in Israel after the holocaust (Chamberlain week 6 lesson). The Jewish people started a movement known as Zionism which was re-establishment of the Jewish nation. The British had promised the Jewish people a homeland in Palestine. The Balfour Declaration was passed in 1917 which allowed them to migrate to Palestine and what became known as Israel. In an article titled: 1917: The Ambivalence of Empire, the author writes: “The Balfour Declaration marked the beginnings of Zionism as a political project authorized by a major world power rather than simply a loose complex of ideologies linked both to Jewish settlement in Ottoman Empire and national imaginings of Jewishness abroad” (Halperin, p527, 2018). This was great for the Jewish people but the Palestinians did not like this because they were taking their land. The land was divided between the Jewish people and the Arabs with Jerusalem suppose to be a city of piece between both religions and people. The tension continued to rise between the groups which ultimately led to multiple wars between the two divisions.


Week 6 Lesson: Revolutions and Independence – Postwar Asia and Africa

Table of Contents


At the end of World War II, Europe lay in ruins. Newly freed countries in Asia (and later Africa) sought their own independence, a fact that resulted in a new outbreak of wars of national liberation. The United States supported Japan’s economic recovery, but communism won out in China. This set the stage for the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The creation of Israel as a distinct nation within Palestine resulted in two Arab-Israeli wars and made the Middle East a continued trouble spot in today’s world.

The Economic Miracle of Postwar Japan

Like Germany, Japan was only a ghost of its former self. It had lost all of its colonial empire and lay in total ruin. The destruction of Japan was not just physical but psychological. Although Emperor Hirohito was allowed to maintain his position, the Japanese lost all respect for the military. They had lost their code of behavior, but Japan’s recovery lay in their willingness to surrender to their conquerors. They respected General Douglas MacArthur, who was Supreme Allied Commander in Japan until the end of the occupation (1952). MacArthur held absolute power and was only accountable to President Truman. While many Americans disliked his imperial manner, the Japanese admired MacArthur for qualities that reflected the samurai tradition (but with a touch of American informality). During the years of occupation, U.S. forces imposed a sweeping set of reforms that were quickly adopted by the Japanese central government. A new constitution established a parliamentary democracy modeled after Great Britain’s. There were many new social reforms as well, from legal equality for women to a sweeping land-reform program which essentially handed over hundreds of acres of land to landless farmers.

Sign for Honda auto manufacturer

The U.S. government eventually decided that it was in its own best interest to focus on Japan’s economic recovery. By the early 1950s, Japan had recovered from its colonial losses and was focused on its own economy. The LPD (or, Liberal Democratic Party) was firmly in control and gave confidence to Japanese investors. Labor agitation, which had erupted in the late forties, subsided and gave way to 20 years of economic growth. The U.S. helped with the Dodge Plan (Japan’s equivalent to the Marshall Plan) and new technology. Japanese entrepreneurs, like Sochiro Honda, took the lead. Honda was a Japanese mechanic who began to make motorcycles at a price well below Western markets. By the end of the 1950s, his firm was the largest in the world. He found more success when his factories began to make automobiles. By the 1970s, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore were called the “Four Dragons,” as their economies grew at an astonishing rate of 10% a year. By the 1980s, Japan was a global center of computer manufacturing. The “economic miracle” of Japan rivaled that of West Germany.

New Nations in South Asia: India and Pakistan

Domes of the Badshahi mosque

The partition of India into two distinct nations in 1947 was a tragedy that continues to be played out in disputed Kashmir and Pakistan itself. Gandhi’s dream of a unified subcontinent ended when both national and imperial leaders gave in to deep animosities that had divided India since the Muslim invasions of the 12th century. India, with its long history of tolerance, descended into ethnic and religious distrust. Pakistan was created out of land that had, for centuries, simply been part of the Indian subcontinent. Only the Muslim religion provided a bond among its diverse peoples. Loyalties were never a simple matter of language, culture, religion, or ancestry. The new nation-states were indeed fragile creations. In 1971, the Bengal people of East Pakistan separated from West Pakistan and became the new nation-state of Bangladesh. Culture and ethnicity proved a stronger bond in this case than the bonds of Muslim faith.

India had been profoundly influenced by its religious and cultural roots in Hinduism. Hinduism embraces a broad range of beliefs from animism, the concept that trees and even rivers are alive, to Brahman, the most philosophical concept of God ever conceived by man, but all of this was conditioned by India, one of the world’s oldest civilizations. There came to India early on the realization that it was impossible to unite all of its varying peoples by one way alone, that the way to unity was through diversity. In Hinduism, there are two basic paths in life, the path of desire and the path of renunciation.

Desires in and of themselves are not bad. At first glance, this may seem strange, as we often think of India as austere and otherworldly. We think of gurus and Gandhi. Pleasure is not the highest good, but it is not bad either. Hindu temples abound with erotic images of the deities. In the film, A Passage to India, Adela Quested travels to India to visit her fiancée and is awakened to her own sensuality by its culture. One day, she stumbles into an ancient temple with its sensual images of the gods and suddenly becomes aware of her own desires and the limitations of her fiancée.

Gandhi outside 10 Downing Street, London, 1931. (Public Domain)

Part of the path of desire includes success, with a focus on money, fame, and power. The true turn towards real religion occurs when one seeks meaning outside of one’s personal desires. This is the path of renunciation, which has as its goal duty towards one family and community. Indians have a word for this, dharma. There is a saying in Hinduism that one must first do one’s duty to one’s family, and only then, seek the higher stages of life.

Mohandas Gandhi was profoundly influenced by the enduring strain of tolerance found in Hinduism. The flesh-and-blood Gandhi was not what comes most people’s minds when they picture a man of such influential political and spiritual influence. Just conjure up his portrait: an elderly man, skinny and bent, naked except for a white loincloth, cheap spectacles perched on his nose, frail hand grasping a tall bamboo staff. His spiritual dictionary was the Bhagavad Gita, the great Hindu epic that became his guide. For Gandhi, it was a call to seek goodness not by renouncing the world but devoting himself to it, the path of renunciation and duty. He also found inspiration in the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. As we have seen, these principles came together in what he called satyagraha, the force of truth and love, and the ancient ideal of ahimsa, or nonviolence.

Watch the following clip on Gandhi’s early life and activism after getting his law degree in England:

Mahatma Gandhi and the Impossible Quest (9:49)

Click on the following link to access the transcript:

Link (video): Mahatma Gandhi and the Impossible Quest (Links to an external site.) (9:49)

For thirty years, Gandhi worked for India’s independence, but his greatest triumph was also his greatest disappointment. On August 15, 1947, India gained its freedom but lost its unity when Britain created the new Muslim state of Pakistan to the West and East of its Northern regions. Gandhi lived to see his dream turn into a nightmare of civil war (1947-48). He became a saint when he was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic on January 30, 1948. As Time magazine wrote, “Gandhi is that rare great man held in universal esteem, a figure lifted from history to moral icon…his concept of nonviolent resistance liberated one nation and sped the end of colonial empires around the world. His marches and fasts fired the imagination of oppressed people everywhere” (McGeary, 1999, para. 26).

Africa and the West

Dirt road in Ghana

In the 1950s and 1960s, new nations emerged out Africa’s colonial past. European powers had not colonized Africa until the nineteenth century, and only retained their control for a century. But suddenly, within a few decades, new nation-states emerged. Great Britain and France, who had the largest empires, quickly shed their colonies after the Second World War, as their attention turned to their own economic and social reforms. Some national leaders emerged, such as Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya and Leopold Senighor in Senegal. Sometimes, political pressure was enough to gain independence, as was the case in the British colonies of Nigeria and Ghana, but liberation turned violent in countries like Kenya and Algeria, where there was a large European population.

European powers had divided Africa into territories that disregarded the continent’s ethnic make-up. Most African nations began as a patchwork of disparate peoples. The story of Ghana is illustrative of the period. Several major civilizations flourished in what is now Ghana. The ancient empire of Ghana reigned until the 13th century, and that was followed centuries later by the Ashanti empire of the 18th and 19th centuries. Portuguese traders first saw the land in 1470 and called it the Gold Coast. They were soon followed by the English, the Dutch, and the Swedes. England gained control of the land in 1820, and after quelling a rebellion in 1901, gained firm control. Kwame Nkrumah was an early nationalist leader who led the people of the Gold Coast to independence in 1957. He advocated socialism and soon nationalized many businesses. His government built the world’s largest artificial lake (Lake Volta), but it left the country with massive debts. Nkrumah was finally deposed as president in 1966, leading Ghana into years of military rule. In 1981, Jerry Rawlings, a young military officer, staged a second coup and began to move the country towards economic stability. He peacefully handed over the government to a democratically elected opponent in 1992.

Although Ghana was not without its own ethnic strife, particularly in the 1990s, it has managed to chart a course of cooperation between native religions and Christianity. Traditional rulers such as queen mothers and chiefs are both the spiritual and practical leaders of a community, serving as mothers and fathers to the society, and guiding and nurturing individuals. Catholic Christians make up a large proportion of Ghana’s population. For example, Nana Akua Ageiwaah, an Ashanti queen mother, is a Catholic. She frequently visits villages to the North and prays to her forefathers to bless the women of the village, but she has given up the Ashanti practice of cursing her enemies, as contrary to Christian teachings. While Vatican officials have sometimes criticized this synthesis, Ghanians appear to be comfortable with this African solution. Ghana enthusiastically celebrated its 50th birthday in 2007.

Israel and the Middle East

The nations in what we today call the Middle East are entirely the invention of Britain, France, and, to a lesser extent, Russia. The national boundaries of Iraq, Kuwait, and Ibn Saud’s Arabia were all defined at a meeting in Uqair in late 1922. Three separate provinces – Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul – came under British control in 1918. The British called the entire area Mesopotamia, drew new national boundaries around it, and changed the name to Iraq. This meant that three very different groups were all enclosed within the same boundaries:

  • Kurds and Christians, mostly refugees from Turkey, were established in the North.
  • A very large Jewish population formed a community in Baghdad.
  • Arabs, bitterly divided into Sunni and Shiite, were established in the South.

Close-up of map of Israel, including Jerusalem, Gaza strip, and Tel Aviv

The British presence was long-standing in Persia but came under pressure in the North, in the Caspian Sea region, from the new Soviet Union. There were also internal pressures for “self-determination.” In 1921, Major-General Edmund Ironside, the British commander in the region, arranged for a new leader, Reza Khan, to take control of the country. In February 1921, Reza Khan marched on Tehran and deposed the British-supported monarch with General Ironside’s approval. Reza Khan took the throne for himself as Reza Shah Pahlavi, and in 1935, changed the name of the nation from Persia to Iran.

Following World War II, Jewish survivors of the Holocaust looked to Palestine as a place of refuge, a place where they could establish the homeland promised to them by the British in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. In 1947, the United Nations decided to divide Palestine into two separate zones, one Jewish and one Arab, and to make Jerusalem an international zone open to everyone. The Palestinians did not favor this plan. A year later, Jewish immigrants declared the territory allocated to them the state of Israel. Arabs protested this action and war soon followed. As a result of the First Arab-Israeli War, the Israelis annexed all but East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. From the time of the Israeli victory in the 1948 war, through the Suez crisis of 1956, to the effects of the 1967 Six-Day War, the Middle East has come to be a focal point of global tension. In many ways, however, it was the creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1965 that had the greatest effect on current Arab-Israel relations.

In other areas of the Middle East, nation-building did not go well. Lebanon is home to a diverse range of ethnic and religious groups. The government depended on a delicate balance among Arab Christians, Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims, and Druze. From 1975 to 1981, Lebanon was engulfed in a civil war that almost destroyed it. Christian and Muslim militias battled each other, and both Israel and Syria occupied its territories. Continuing conflict with Israel led to the formation of Hezbollah, a radical fundamentalist Islamic sect. The history of Lebanon in the 20th century is an example of how difficult it has been in the Middle East to create viable nation-states. Only Egypt, among all of the Middle Eastern nations, attained a cohesive sense of nationhood.

Watch the following video, which provides an overview of the Six-Day War:

Main Event, 25, 1967: Arab-Israeli Six-Day War (5:02)


Gandhi outside 10 Downing Street, London. (1931, November 3).,_London.jpg

Mandagaran, A. (Director). (2010). A death for peace: Mahatma Gandhi and the impossible quest [Video]. Film Ideas. Academic Video Online.

McGeary, J. (1999, December 27). Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948).

World Wide Entertainment (Producer). (n.d.). Main event, 25, 1967[Video].  Academic Video Online:.

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