Nationalist Movements in Response to Imperialism

Essay, 2021

5 Pages, Grade: 1


After World War II, the United Nations was formed. This was due to people being oppressed by Imperialists prior to the war. The United Nations was to protect the rights of people in the colonies. These were rights to education, to have their own political institutions, and to have their social practices respected. (Shepard, 48). There was a distinct movement for decolonization throughout the world during this time.

On September 2, 1941, Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the Communist Party in Vietnam, proposed helped to form the League for the Independence of Vietnam from all groups resistant to Japanese infiltration and oppression. In 1945, he gave a speech entitled Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (Shepard, 50). In his speech he described that the Vietnamese had been oppressed by the French colonists and later the Japanese. He quoted the United States Declaration oflndependence and declared that all men were created free and equal. He announced to the world that the Vietnamese were a “free and independent people” (Shepard, 51).

On September 23, 1945, four Vietnamese catholic priests wrote a public letter to the Pope. In this letter, they declared a National Holiday to honor the martyrs who had died. Over two million people had been reported to have died of starvation and many others had died fighting the French and Japanese oppression (Shepard, 53). The holiday was set for the second Sunday in September.

Also in 1945, the fifth Pan-African Congress met in Manchester, England. It was the first such meeting of delegates from Africa. They condemned oppression and demanded that they be given rights. They declared that they would use force if necessary to achieve their freedom, as they had been exposed to force, slavery, oppression and death for ages (Shepard, 55).

George Orwell was ashamed to be a member of the British Imperialist movement in Moulmein, Burma and describes how his people treated the Burmese when he was a police officer there in his essay Shooting an Elephant. The Imperialists were hated because they oppressed the native people there in Molmein. It is understandable that a person such as Orwell would relate to the Burmese as he had no real interest in oppressing the people he wasjust born in an era when all this was happening and experienced it.

He shot an elephant which had gone wild merely because the people expected him to do so. He did not wish to do it, but felt pressured to do it when thousands of people followed him to the site and he felt he would look foolish if he did not do it. The elephant had calmed by the time he reached it, however, it had killed a local. There were mixed feelings among the Europeans about whether he should have killed it. Some did not think the killing of a lowly Burmese justified the killing. This was the attitudes of the people at the time. Older people were prone to be on the Imperialists side, while the younger generations were against oppression.

In my opinion the mixes of opinions among the older or younger generations is a common societal theme. It is younger people who object to corrupt or oppressive practices. It is also the younger people who take actions to make changes whether it be through voicing opinions or forceful actions or peaceful protests. More often it is the young who initiate changes in society, older people are used to the status quo and either see nothing wrong with it or are resigned to it.


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Nationalist Movements in Response to Imperialism
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nationalist, movements, response, imperialism
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Melissa Norris (Author), 2021, Nationalist Movements in Response to Imperialism, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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