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Writers in a common cause

Across the continent of Africa, a web of laws silenced African speech. On the eve of World War II, a small, impoverished group of Africans and West Indians in London dared to imagine the end of British rule in Africa. Printing gave oppositions a voice, initially through broadsheets, tracts, pamphlets, later through books and articles. The group launched an anti-colonial campaign that used publishing as a pathway to liberation. These writers included West Indians George Padmore, C. L. R. James, and Ras Makonnen, Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta and Sierra Leone's I. T. A. Wallace Johnson. They formed a part of International African Service Bureau (IASB), and the communists saw them as "generals without an army, they have no base and must depend on their pens". Padmore saw 'trusteeship' as a concept invoked as far back as the late nineteenth-century conferences that divided up Africa. Pan-Africa, a monthly periodical T. Ras Makonnen put out, reported that Richard Wright urged his listeners to form an international network of 'cultured progressives'. Labour-powered nationalism was to Padmore more than a drive for self-government. With the Gold Coast political ground so unsettled, neither Nkrumah nor the Convention People's Party (CPP) made Wright privy to their operations. Inspired by the movement for self-government in British West African colonies, French radicals like Leopold Senghor were rebelling against French political control. In 1969, when a small American publisher reissued A History of Pan-African Revolt , James added to it an epilogue explaining the 'rapid decline of African nationalism'.

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Carol Polsgrove

of ‘closer association’ without any promise of self-government. The French would remain in firm control of this ‘indivisible French Union’. Inspired by the movement for self-government in British West African colonies, however, French radicals like Leopold Senghor were rebelling against French political control, preparing the way for both ‘self-determination and the federation of all West African

in Ending British rule in Africa
The Syrian campaign and Free French administration in the Levant, 1941–45
Martin Thomas

an effort to curb their military commitments and prevent united opposition to French authority, successive High Commissioners sought to divide the Arab and Christian elites of the Levant, and to cultivate the loyalties of those minority groups in Syria and Lebanon judged most likely to fear Arab Muslim domination more than French political control. 3 With the style of French

in The French empire at war 1940–45
Milton Osborne

peoples would hasten to embrace the French language and accept French political control. Frenchmen living in Indo-China were deeply disturbed to find that, for the most part, the local population did not see matters this way. The peoples of Indo-China treasured their own cultures and values. The Vietnamese, in particular, showed a persistent readiness to fight against foreign rule. Dissappointment that this

in Asia in Western fiction
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France’s inter-war empire: a framework for analysis
Martin Thomas

featured in only six per cent of the College curriculum. 9 Whatever the arguments among senior military planners in France, political instability at the imperial periphery generated by indigenous resistance remained a constant preoccupation for the colonial authorities in situ . Some territories were never wholly ‘pacified’ in the inter-war period. Others that were supposedly brought under French political

in The French empire between the wars
Martin Thomas

leaders, including Ferhat Abbas and Saïah Abdelkader, destabilised French political control in the Maghreb. Following Balafrej’s detention on the eve of the riots in January 1944 (on the grounds that he had allegedly spent 1941 in Germany), Mohammed el-Yazidi became de facto leader of the Istiqlal. The party only had some 4,000 members in 1944. But once the Sultan decided to

in The French empire at war 1940–45
Martin Thomas

-China In Admiral Decoux’s Indo-China the Sûreté became an essential guarantee of French political control. But Decoux did not simply resort to repression of Vietnamese nationalist groups in an effort to maintain French authority across Indo-China. Left to maintain French sovereignty with precious few resources, Decoux’s administration sometimes preferred guile to heavy

in The French empire at war 1940–45
Peter Marks

in order to defraud the gullible inhabitants. He abhors the hold folk wisdom has over the German peasantry, seeing it as an affront to his own very French rationalism, which he links to his nation’s cultural superiority. Worse, for him, the powers attributed to the supernatural undermine French political control. On pain of death, he forces the Grimms to retrieve the missing children. Overseen by

in Terry Gilliam