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Colonialism and Decolonization in National Historical Cultures and Memory Politics in Europe

Modules for History Lessons

Edited By Uta Fenske, Daniel Groth, Klaus-Michael Guse and Bärbel P. Kuhn

Colonialism and decolonization are historical phenomena that are part of the historical experience of many European countries. This volume offers students and teachers a new understanding of how colonialism and decolonization fit into our shared European past and contains teaching materials for history classes in European schools. The contributions have been produced by the EU project CoDec, involving partners from Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Great Britain, Austria, Poland and Switzerland. Analyzing colonial pasts, processes of decolonization and memory politics in different European countries from comparative and transnational perspectives, the study presents useful sources and practical suggestions for cutting-edge history lessons in European schools.
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Decolonization, the Cold War and Development Aid: An Introduction


This introduction looks at the time period between the 1930s and the 1990s. These decades were marked not only by various forms of historical violence and oppression, namely the Shoa and the Second World War, the rise of the Cold War, as well as Apartheid in South Africa and genocide in Rwanda. They were also marked by liberation and the end of foreign rule. Thus, in a process often referred to as “decolonization”, many colonies in Africa and Asia shook off domination by foreign European powers and gained independence as newly founded nation states. Their relation to European countries shifted from being former colonies to so-called “third world” countries and beneficiaries of “development aid”. Moreover, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, many nations in Eastern Europe gained independence, a number of them seeking membership in the European Union.

In many instances processes of domination and of liberation not only took place at the same time, but were also connected to each other. The modules in this chapter each focus on a particular moment in this time period and give insight into their inherent contradictions and struggles. In order to provide context for these lessons, this introduction gives a brief overview of some of the contradictions within and connections among the processes of decolonization, the Cold War era, and the rise of development aid.

Decolonization refers, firstly, to the end of imperial rule by European nations over colonized societies in the Americas, Africa, Asia...

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