Western Europe had dominated the world in the first four decades of the 20th century until 1941 when USA and USSR entered the 2nd world war, after the war USA and USSR dominated the whole world replacing Britain and France plus Germany and Italy which had been active colonial masters.
The new super powers had ideologies and wanted to deal with independent world states such led to cold war which was very important in the struggle for African liberation.
- USA and USSR were ideologically different that is USSR was the leader of the socialist bloc while the USA was the leader of the communist bloc in this ideological competition one power could not be allowed to run Africa therefore the super powers ended up advocating for independence of African states.
- USA poured in aid to LDC’s as a way of counteracting the soviet influence.In this way the colonized African states obtained the resources material, financial, military which they effectively used to challenged colonial rule.
- USA had been under British rule until 1776 when it got its independence, it had witnessed how bad colonialism was and opted to do a way with it in Africa as well. The supper powers then forced countries like Britain and France to grant independence to their colonies on humanitarian grounds.
- The super powers also wanted markets to be opened in order to have liberal world market, originally the colonial masters created monopoly markets where the colonized people had to trade with only colonial masters but now that Britain and France had merged very weak out of World WarII the new super powers exerted their influence on them to decolonize.
- More so Britain and France had been shuttered after the world economic depression in 1929 – 1930 to make matters worse World War II had sunk them into an economic abyss. They were therefore to look on to USA for economic support, USA then came up with a great Marshal Aid plan and theTru man’s doctrine to aid European countries economically, several loans were given out and sometimes physical technological machinery. However, conditions were attached for example; European countries before the aid could be released had to grant independence to African countries, African Nationalists then exploited this situation to petition in the UN and secure assistance of the super powers to do away with the colonial masters in Africa.
- Both super powers were anti-colonialism and they used the UN to condemn the colonial aggression, USA had no colonies in Africa though it practiced neo-colonialism in Liberia and had influence in the virgin high lands of Panama Canal zones, Philippines, Hawaii and Japan. However these did not amount to serious colonialism, USSR for similar reasons wanted colonial powers to quit Africa and hence subjected them to serious criticism in the UN General Assembly.
- America offered scholarships to African students who in the end became Nationalists like Nyerere, Nkrumah, Ben Bella, Kenyatta and this way USA was seen as fostering Nationalist Leaders and struggles in Africa.
- USA and USSR were also used as bases by African students to organize international conferences which were meant to criticize Africans and make them conscious of the evils of colonialism. Such made the Africans more militant in their struggles for independence.
- United States like the USSR used her influence at the UNO to condemn colonialism and due to this mandated territories like Tanganyika, Togo, Cameroon, Libya came under the Trusteeship council of the UN and due to pressure from USSR they were in position to get independence.
- More so USA used her influence to secure her membership in the Trusteeship council in order to champion the struggles for the colonized territories, both supper powers used their influence in the UN to encourage African Nationalists and other sympathizers of the oppressed Africans to wage independence struggles.
- By 1945 USA was persuing her isolationist policy and USSR under sterlin was encouraging the policy of socialism however after 1945 sterlin with red army started expanding through out Europe and for this reason USA abandoned her isolationist policy for it feared the soveit union would take over the 3rd world countries thus it decided to counteract the soviet influence. This ideological influence of the supper powers championed the independence of Africa such that they could deal directly with independence countries.
- USSR had a lot of links with Pan Africanism, it criticized Western capitalism that reflected colonialism. This ideology was later to become dominant in French speaking African intellectuals in the 1930s and 40s. This therefore became a philosophy of Liberation.
- Soviet Union spread socialist literature which was wholly anti-colonialism, they wrote books and passed over the message to the people who could go there for studies and on coming back they had ant-colonial ideas. Therefore the role of the socialist literature cannot be under estimated in raising nationalistic eye blows.
- In 1941 when Britain and France met Roosevelt of USA to sign the Atlantic charter, USA used its newly acquired supper power to status and impressed upon these colonial masters to insert a provision that after Second World War African countries and other occupied territories be given self determination. Though after 1945, Britain said it only worked for colonies that were under nazi Germany, Namdi Azikiwe took a memorandum to demand for the fulfillment of the charter, this was nationalism at play.
- Both supper powers supported Liberation movements in Africa for example Soviet Union supported Nasser to push out British influence in Egypt, others supported were Lumumba, Ben Bella of Algeria and USA also gave support to UNITA of Angola and Mobuta’s regime. These did not only give moral but financial and military assistance which were used to dislodge the colonialists.
- Before these two supper powers had replaced Britain and France they also had areas of influence for example Russia had occupied Japan in 1905 while USA had occupied Philippines but later Japan reacted against Russia while America was defeated in the Philippines. These bitter lessons influenced the two supper powers to abandon colonies basing on their own experience. However it was largely because of ideological rivalry that the two supper powers opted for independence in the occupied territories to avoid blood shed.
- The Soviet Union further used her socialist policy to influence African countries in the field of technology. She encouraged socialism in the African countries so as to solve their economic problems, the Soviet Union gave examples where countries had moved away from economic backwardness, industrialization and replacing mass illiteracy with mass literacy. Such as North Korea other African countries like Libya followed the suit.
- America also exerted her influence in the development of African Nastionalism because in 1943 President Roosevelt visited Morocco and held talks with sultan Sidi Muhammad V in Casablanca. This visit had a profound impact on the growth of African Nationalism in that his words became a key as he was calling on the colonial masters to grant independence and his physical presence on the African soil showed America seriousness on the issue this encouraged the Nationalism.
- In 1940s the Americans had influenced Africa in international and diplomatic levels for example American Armies had fought in the war against the Germans in the Maghareb for example Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia this was a manifestation of support of the Africans in their quest for independence.
In conclusion America and USSR were able to exert their influence on the colonial masters to grant independence because of their supper power influence.