Cold War and Decolonization in Guinea, 1946-1958

Cold War and Decolonization in Guinea, 1946-1958

by Elizabeth Schmidt
     
 

ISBN-10: 0821417630

ISBN-13: 9780821417638

Pub. Date: 10/22/2007

Publisher: Ohio University Press

Guinea claimed its independence in September 1958, voting "No" to a constitution that would have relegated it to junior partnership in the French Community. In all the French empire, Guinea was the only territory to vote "No." Although Guinea's stance vis-a-vis the 1958 constitution has been recognized as unique, until now the historical roots of this phenomenon have…  See more details below

Overview

Guinea claimed its independence in September 1958, voting "No" to a constitution that would have relegated it to junior partnership in the French Community. In all the French empire, Guinea was the only territory to vote "No." Although Guinea's stance vis-a-vis the 1958 constitution has been recognized as unique, until now the historical roots of this phenomenon have not been adequately explained.

Based on previously unexamined archival records and oral interviews with grassroots activists, Cold War and Decolonization in Guinea, 1946-1958 argues that Guinea's vote for independence was the culmination of a decade-long struggle between local militants and political leaders for control of the political agenda. Orchestrating the "No" vote was the Guinean branch of the Rassemblement Democratique Africain (RDA), an alliance of political parties with affiliates in French West and Equatorial Africa and the UN trusts of Togo and Cameroon. Since 1950, when RDA representatives in the French parliament severed their ties to the French Communist Party, conservative elements had dominated the RDA. In Guinea, local cadres had opposed the break. Victimized by the administration and sidelined by their own leaders, they quietly rebuilt the party from its base. Their voices muted throughout most of the decade, leftist militants gained preeminence in 1958, when trade unionists, students, the party's women's and youth wings, and other grassroots actors pushed the Guinean RDA to endorse a "No" vote. The significance of this book extends far beyond its primary subject. In illuminating the Guinean case, Elizabeth Schmidt helps us understand the dynamics of decolonization and its legacy forpostindependence nationbuilding in many parts of the developing world.

About the Author:
Elizabeth Schmidt is a professor of history at Loyola College in Maryland

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780821417638
Publisher:
Ohio University Press
Publication date:
10/22/2007
Series:
Western African Studies Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.00(d)

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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations     ix
Abbreviations     xi
French Colonial Officials, 1944-59     xiii
Introduction     1
Reformed Imperialism and the Onset of the Cold War, 1945-50     8
The Break with the PCF and Dissension within the Ranks, 1950-53     45
The Fraudulent Elections of 1954 and the Resurgence of the RDA, 1954-55     68
The RDA's Rise to Power and Local Self-Government, 1956-57     97
The Renaissance of the Left: From Autonomy to Independence, 1956-58     125
Defiance and Retribution: The Referendum and Its Aftermath, 1958-60     157
Conclusion and Postscript     180
Acknowledgments     187
Notes     191
Bibliography     283
Index     293

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