Colonies After the War

May 7, 1943

Report Outline
The Colonial Problem in the Future Peace
Colonies from World War I to World War Ii
Present Attitudes of the Powers
Problem of Colonies in the Fax East

The Colonial Problem in the Future Peace

The postwar status of colonies and the whole problem of colonial rule have come in for increased attention during recent months. The colonial question will bulk large at the peace conference after the present war, as it did at Versailles in 1918–19. At Versailles the statesmen of the victorious powers found a compromise solution in a “mandate system” providing for international supervision over the colonies of enemy countries which were distributed among the victors (with the exception of the United States) after World War I. In certain cases this system brought about a more humane administration in the colonial areas under mandate; it failed to bring a solution of most of the international problem involved.

The present discussion of colonies has been stimulated by several recent developments. One is the growing unrest among peoples of the Far East over the hegemony of western powers. Another is the demand among smaller nations or nations without colonies for free access to essential raw materials in colonial lands of the larger states. Meanwhile, reexaminations by publicists and students of the causes of war have revitalized and clarified the historical truism that the struggle for colonies has been a primary menace to world peace.

Status of Colonies at Beginning of Present War

At the beginning of the present war one-third of the area of the world, inhabited by nearly one-third of the world's population, was held by nine countries in the form of colonial possessions, dependencies or protectorates, The territory of these subject lands totaled over 17,000,000 square miles, the population about 670,000,000. The bulk of these lands was held by seven western European states which had a combined prewar population of 184,000,000. Peoples under British rule alone were estimated at upwards of 460,000,000.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
World War II
Jul. 20, 1944  Foreign Relief
Feb. 09, 1944  Diplomatic Recognition
May 07, 1943  Colonies After the War
Feb. 08, 1943  War Experience of British Newspapers
May 28, 1942  North Pacific Fronts
May 07, 1942  Invasion of Europe
Apr. 06, 1942  Governments in Exile
Sep. 13, 1941  Britain's Dominions and the European War
Aug. 29, 1940  Foreign Policy of the Roosevelt Administration
Jun. 17, 1940  Gateways to the Mediterranean
Imperialism, Colonization, and Independence Movements