The East-West Ideological Struggle and the Politics of African Decolonization in the United Nations: Historical Analysis

Aderemi Opeyemi Ade-Ibijola, Bheki Richard Mngomezulu


The history of African decolonization discourses in the United Nations (UN) in the 20th century was replete with vested interests under the guise of moral concerns. This interest was occasioned mainly by the prevalence of the Ideological struggles better known as the ‘Cold War’ between West which the United States led, and the East which was led by the then Soviet Union and allies respectively. Against this background, this paper argues based on the preponderance of archival documents and relevant scholarly resources that the deep-rooted worldwide rivalry for world dominance which ensued between these power blocs after the end of the Second World War in 1945 ushered in a period of politicization of African decolonization issues in the UN from 1960 onwards. The line between egotism and empathy narrowed significantly to the extent that it became too thin to recognize. The findings of this paper show that the Cold War phenomenon significantly shaped the position taken by member states during the debates on the African colonial problem in the UN. Secondly, we conclude in this paper that from the 1960s, the UN became the battleground between the East and the West each fighting for supremacy.

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