Mastering Modern World History

Fifth edition, Palgrave Master Series

by Norman Lowe

Source questions for Part V: De-colonization and after

Chapter 24 - The struggle for Kenyan independence

Study Source A and then answer the questions that follow.

Source A

Extract from a report of the British government’s Royal Commission on conditions in African towns, published in 1955.


The wages of the majority of African workers are too low to enable them to obtain housing in Nairobi [the capital of Kenya]. The high cost of housing relative to wages causes over-crowding, because housing is shared to lighten the cost. This, with the high cost of food in towns, makes family life impossible for the majority.

Source:  Quoted in Basil Davidson, Modern Africa: A Social and Political History (Longman, 1989 edition).

(a) Using the source and your own knowledge, explain why the African nationalists began to campaign for Kenyan independence in the early 1950s.

(b) Was the British government at first unsympathetic to Kenya’s demands for independence?

(c) How important was the contribution of Harold Macmillan in Kenya’s achievement of independence in 1963?

Chapter 25 - Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid campaign in South Africa

Study the source and then answer the questions that follow.

Source A

Extracts from a speech by Nelson Mandela in 1964 during his trial for sabotage.


Our fight is against real, not imaginary hardships, or, to use the language of the State Prosecutor, ‘so-called’ hardships. We fight against two features which are the hallmarks of African life in South Africa, and which are entrenched by legislation which we seek to have repealed. These features are poverty and lack of human dignity.

The whites enjoy what may well be the highest standard of living in the world, whilst Africans live in poverty and misery. . . . The complaint of Africans, however, is not only that they are poor and whites are rich, but that the laws which are made by the whites are designed to preserve this situation. There are two ways to break out of poverty. The first is by formal education, and the second is by the worker acquiring a greater skill. As far as the Africans are concerned, both these avenues of advancement are deliberately curtailed by legislation. The other main obstacle to the economic advancement of the Africans is the industrial colour bar by which all the best jobs are reserved for whites.

Above all, my lord, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent. . . . It is an ideal which I hope to see realized. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

Source:  Quoted in Brian MacArthur (ed.), The Penguin Book of Historic Speeches (Penguin, 1996).

(a) What can be learnt from the source about the grievances of black Africans in South Africa, and about what they hoped to achieve by their campaign.

(b) Explain why the black anti-apartheid campaign was largely unsuccessful in achieving its aims up to 1978.

(c) Why was apartheid gradually brought to an end during the period 1978 to 1993?

Chapter 26 - US – Latin American relations in the second half of the 20th century

Study Sources A and B and then answer the questions which follow.

Source A

US President Nixon (1969-74) comments on the situation in Chile in 1971.


Control of Latin America is a necessary condition for establishing a successful order elsewhere in the world. Our main concern in Chile is the prospect that [Allende] can consolidate himself, and the picture projected to the world will be his success....If we let the potential leaders in South America think they can move like Chile and have it both ways, we will be in trouble.....No impression should be permitted in Latin America that they can get away with this, that it’s safe to go this way. All over the world it’s too much the fashion to kick us around.

Source: quoted in Noam Chomsky, Hopes and Prospects (Penguin, 2010)

Source B

Nikolas Kozloff, an American journalist specializing in Latin American affairs, writes about Hugo Chavez’s economic arrangements.


With Venezuela leading the charge, Washington’s neo-liberal policies have been rolled back. ... Even as he carries out alternative economic arrangements, Chavez has campaigned against large financial institutions influenced by the United States. The president has paid off all Venezuela’s debt to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and claims that he wants these large financial institutions to ‘disappear soon’. When asked if he is seeking to replace the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund with his own , oil-flush ‘Bank of Hugo’, Chavez explained that he would like to create an International Humanitarian Bank as ‘an alternative way to conduct financial exchange’. Indeed, bolstered by windfall oil profits, he is now offering more direct state funding to Latin America and the Caribbean than the United States. Just in the first eight months of 2007, Venezuela spent $8.8 billion in aid throughout the region. In terms of scale, this funding is unprecedented for a Latin American country.

Source: Nikolas Kozloff, Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)

(a) What conclusions can you draw from Source A about US foreign policy at this time?

(b) Explain what the writer of Source B means by the term ‘neo-liberal’.

(c) What clues does Source B give as to the success or otherwise of the foreign policy aims described in Source A?

(d)  What do you think the writer of Source B means by the statement ‘With Venezuela leading the charge’? Give some examples to illustrate your answer.