The Post-War World Has Been Shaped Primarily by a Clash Between Nationalism and Imperialism

Topics: World War II, World War I, Soviet Union Pages: 6 (1930 words) Published: March 25, 2013
1.The post-war world has been shaped primarily by a clash between Communism and Capitalism OR
The post-war world has been shaped primarily by a clash between Nationalism and Imperialism Choose one of these assertions and develop an argument for it.

With regards to the assignment question, I will certainly be in agreement with the argument the clash between imperialism and nationalism had shaped the post-war world more prominently as compared to the idea of communism and capitalism constituted to the molding of the past decades. Very simply, studies showed that even till this age of globalization, the notion of imperialism and nationalism are still floating among us, with a modern twist, that is (Tomlinson, 1991). We first have to ask the question, what sparked off nationalism? The answer by most scholars would most probably be the oppression of great powers during the time of imperialism. What then, defines imperialism and how did it came about? According to O’ Brian (2007), imperialism is the practice of any one state to influence or conquer another with the intention to expand its wealth, power and control over dominions or self-governing colonies. After the end of World War Two, with the declination of powers among the former colonizers across the globe, the industrializing countries like Britain and France were increasingly gaining possession of many colonies (Best, et al., 20008). It is through colonialism that the imperial powers executed what we call as imperialism where in its best sense, is the ‘natural overflow of nationality’; its test is the power of the colonist to transplant the civilization they represent to the new natural and social environment in which the colonists find themselves. And in which of course, lying beneath is a negative connotation that is often associated with a loss of identity and belonging (Hobson, 2007). The post-war world as according to Rajan and Sauer (2004) was significantly changed by the settling of foreign authority onto lands that previously had not been under any control. The intrusion of political and economic rights and cultural imperialism to mention a few had taken place and in fact, had subsequently prompted radical, socialist and even nationalist movement. To be able to gain control over a country, military force is not necessary at times (Hobsbawn, 1990). The British had illustrated a perfect scenario where apart from military control; they had also planted seeds of ‘the British way of life’ indirectly by Anglicizing basically anything from street names to the lingua franca of a local community (Moore & Johnson, 2004), like what happened in Ireland and the Malayan Peninsula where English was once to be used as the spoken and official language for all formal documents in the bureaucracy (Othman, 1990). This formed the basis for cultural imperialism. Tomlinson (1991) mentioned that cultural factors are instrumental in maintaining political-economic dominance. Hence, he defined cultural imperialism as “the process of imperialist is aided and abetted by importing supportive forms of culture” (p. 3). This issue has been so central that even Irish poet Seamus Heaney, a renowned Irish Nobel Prize winner and nationalist emphasized a great deal on cultural identities in his works, in relation to the colonization of Ireland and the intrusion of the British that seemed to wipe out the local culture by Anglicizing the names of placed in Ireland, killing those who disobeyed. ‘I am the tall kingdom over your shoulder

That you could not cajole not ignore.
Conquest is a lie.’ (Act of Union 1.9, 74)

Similarly, Brian Friel, who is another famous Irish playwright in his play Translations also highlights the loss of cultural identity after the Irish language has been literally translated into English and what is left with the locals were fragments of memories and left as victims of imperialism (Friel, 2002).

What has been a quest for most colonized countries was an...
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