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date: 19 June 2021

Decolonization and US Foreign Relations 

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of American Foreign Relations
Jason C. ParkerJason C. Parker

When representatives from fifty nations gathered in San Francisco in April 1945 for the founding of the United Nations, probably few of the delegates imagined that within a generation UN membership would nearly quadruple in size. But even this fact does not capture the world-historical importance of postwar decolonization, as it overturned in the historical blink of an eye norms and practices of statecraft that dated back to the pharaohs. That “blink,” in turn, coincided with the first three decades of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. For reasons of ideology and heritage, both could claim an affinity with anticolonial nationalism in the decolonizing areas of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. But decolonization also presented dilemmas for both superpowers, and in an especially acute way for the United States.... ...

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