Traditions and Encounters, AP Edition (Bentley), 5th Edition

Chapter 35: Nationalism and Political Identities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America


During the 1920s and 1930s, after the Great War and during the Great Depression, intellectuals and political activists in Asia, Africa, and Latin America challenged the ideological and economic underpinnings of European imperialism and neo-colonialism, as nationalist and anti-imperialist movements gained strength on each of these continents.

  • In Asia, Japan's militarist leaders sought to build national strength through imperial expansion. In China, the Ming dynasty ended, giving rise to a civil war fought between adherents of competing visions of the new Chinese state. Japanese imperial aggression complicated the progress of this war. In India, a strong nationalist movement began to threaten the hold of the British empire on the subcontinent.
  • In Africa, European imperialists tightened their control of colonial possessions, as African economic life became more tightly enmeshed in the global economy. With the onset of the Great Depression, European countries that controlled the export of African products experienced dramatic decreases in trade volume and commodity prices and, consequently, African peoples suffered. Meanwhile, African peoples challenged European imperial authority and developed competing visions of national identity and unity that would come to fruition after World War II.
  • In Latin America, statesmen and political activists worked to alter the neocolonialist economic domination of the United States, their "good neighbor" to the north. Neocolonialism, which often featured military intervention and political interference, compromised the independent political and economic development of Latin American states, but it did not prevent nationalist leaders from developing strategies to counter new forms of imperialism.
Traditions & Encounters, 5e
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