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Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


At the close of world war i , the victors were eager to annex the former German colonies and the non-Turkish parts of the Ottoman Empire. However, US President Wilson sought a different solution for areas deemed as yet incapable of ruling themselves. Here he advocated a concept of trusteeship linked to the mandatory power of the newly-created league of nations . France, still anxious of its security vis-à-vis Germany, was especially hostile to the idea, especially as the mandates prevented the enlistment of native soldiers in defense of the mother country. It need not have fretted. In the event, the mandates were little more than a front for the maintenance of imperialism . Though some areas, principally those formerly belonging to the Ottomans, were deemed almost ready for independence, this was slow in coming. Apart from Iraq, granted self-rule in 1932, other British mandates had to wait until after World War II: Jordan in 1946 and Palestine in 1948, when much of the latter territory was assigned to the new state of Israel. French mandates in Syria and Lebanon ended in 1944. Large parts of the former German empire in Africa – Cameroons, Tanganyika and Togoland – were considered wholly unready for autonomy which was not granted until the 1950s and 1960s, by which time the united nations had assumed the League's previous supervisory role. These grants of self-rule were opposed ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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