Decolonization without the Soviet Union

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
24,628
SoCal
Had there been no Bolshevik coup (or, alternatively, an unsuccessful Bolshevik coup) in Russia in 1917 and thus there would have been no Soviet Union, what would decolonization have subsequently looked like?

What effects did the existence of the Soviet Union have on decolonization?

Also, FTR, I was thinking of Russia be a democracy in the 1920s but perhaps descend into right-wing authoritarianism in the 1930s just like almost all of Central and Eastern Europe (all countries except Czechoslovakia) did in the 1930s in real life.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
6,162
There would have been fewer attempts at speed-modernization of newly independent nations adopting a Soviet-style planned economic system, in Africa, and elsewhere.

Given some of the indicators of the current political situation in the world, I think one of the underestimated aspects is less whether representative democracy takes hold (with whatever level of participation), and more whether liberal rule-of-law-systems with independent judiciaries are put in place. Crassly put that decides whether private property will be protected, or not, also for ordinary citizens, and that largely decides what kind of economic system can even underpin society.
 
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tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
14,394
There were several factors in the decolonisation process:
  1. Demography (the population of the colonies increased dramatically as compared to the population of the colonial powers)
  2. WW2 which showed how colonial powers could be defeated , even by non europeans (Japan) AND diminished the means that the colonial powers had at their disposal to control (and finance) their colonies
  3. US policy: the US was keen to open new markets for itself and to replace former colonial powers by a new american order, which emphasized indirect rather than direct control

The existence of the USSR and its policies had, I think, less impact than the above....
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
24,628
SoCal
There would have been fewer attempts at speed-modernization of newly independent nations adopting a Soviet-style planned economic system, in Africa, and elsewhere.
Would this have meant that more Third World countries would have embraced Western-style democracy at the onset? Or would more of them have simply adopted right-wing authoritarian governments after independence instead?

Given some of the indicators of the current political situation in the world, I think one of the underestimated aspects is less whether representative democracy takes hold (with whatever level of participation), and more whether liberal rule-of-law-systems with independent judiciaries are put in place. Crassly put that decides whether private property will be protected, or not, also for ordinary citizens, and that largely decides what kind of economic system can even underpin society.
Agreed.

There were several factors in the decolonisation process:
  1. Demography (the population of the colonies increased dramatically as compared to the population of the colonial powers)
  2. WW2 which showed how colonial powers could be defeated , even by non europeans (Japan) AND diminished the means that the colonial powers had at their disposal to control (and finance) their colonies
  3. US policy: the US was keen to open new markets for itself and to replace former colonial powers by a new american order, which emphasized indirect rather than direct control

The existence of the USSR and its policies had, I think, less impact than the above....
1. Yep--the demographic threat, if you will.
2. Technically speaking, though, Japan already defeated Russia in 1904-1905. That said, though, Japan's victories over Britain might have seemed even more impressive.
3. Yep.

Agreed with your last sentence here. That said, though, I wonder by just how long decolonization would have been delayed without World War I and/or World War II. Any thoughts on this?
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
6,162
Would this have meant that more Third World countries would have embraced Western-style democracy at the onset? Or would more of them have simply adopted right-wing authoritarian governments after independence instead?
Largely depends on what kind of pre-colonial political set-up was in place. Often decolonisation amounted to of the westerners taking down the sign and handing the keys back to whatever political elite that used to rule before them. How that political elite then managed to develop society, or even just hang on to power, has varied considerably.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
24,628
SoCal
Largely depends on what kind of pre-colonial political set-up was in place. Often decolonisation amounted to of the westerners taking down the sign and handing the keys back to whatever political elite that used to rule before them. How that political elite then managed to develop society, or even just hang on to power, has varied considerably.
In cases like Algeria, this didn't quite work due to the previous destruction of the old elite as a result of colonialism. AFAIK, Algeria had to build a new elite from scratch after decolonization--probably largely from the membership of the FLN.