How the World Wars created an Independent Asia: The Failure of the British and French Methods of Imperialism and how Japanese Occupation During W...

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Up until the early 20th Century, European empires struggled against each other via proxy wars in colonial lands far away. The competition was total - economics, politics, and military, and it was only a matter of time until a total war would break out on the European mainland. And when two of such wars engulfed the continent, it drew focus and resources away from the territories in Asia enabling them to rise as independent nations. The World Wars paved the way for the development of Asia because they forced European nations to devote their armies and resources to fight each other (and rebuild afterwards) allowing independence movements to develop in Asia.
By 1911, territories in Africa were running out and the idea of fair play set by the Berlin Conference was thrown out as European powers struggled for the last slices of the world pie. The situation was further complicated as two new players joined the "Great Game" - Germany and Italy. At an 1899 conference, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia suggested strengthening the limitations of armaments to halt the "accelerating arms race" which was producing larger warships, more powerful artillery, and increasing army sizes. Unfortunately, only a year after, the most powerful nations of Europe forgot about the treaty and Germany enacted the Second Naval Law and attempted to build a fleet that would rival Britain's Royal Navy. Britain responded by building more advanced and modern battleships and France struggled to militarize against Germany's army that consisted more men than the population of France.
After the dust settled in Versailles, several of the great empires in Europe no longer existed and the repercussions were felt in Asia. Germany lost all of its territories which were ceded to...

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...s, the decolonization process of Indochina was violent. Despite the French model of an overreaching empire with departments rather than Dominions, independence movements still festered (with the help of the Japanese) and led to an end of colonialism for them also.
The World Wars severely weakened the European Empires to a point where their collapse became inevitable. The Empires became too weak militarily and economically to continue their activities in Asia and outside pressure from the United States superpower and the Japanese Occupation meant an end for imperialism in Asia. As much as European policies enacted different policies to try and halt independence movements, internal and external pressures were too much and the Empire eventually recognized that , as Harold McMillan put it, "the winds of change" were blowing across the world "whether we like it or not."

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