AHC: no decolonization

Do you see any scenario in which decolonization never happened (or was limited to say India) and most of Africa, and Southeast Asia are still under European control as of 2021?

If the colonial powers actually committed resources to educate the native population so they build prosperous economies instead of just using them as a source of resources, would anti colonial sentiment be weaker?
 

HJ Tulp

Donor
Do you see any scenario in which decolonization never happened (or was limited to say India) and most of Africa, and Southeast Asia are still under European control as of 2021?

If the colonial powers actually committed resources to educate the native population so they build prosperous economies instead of just using them as a source of resources, would anti colonial sentiment be weaker?
If anything native education accelarated anti-colonial sentiment. Racism caused a glass ceiling and those educated figured they could rule themselves just as well. To forestall decolonization one could try to create Imperial Federations on equal footing, that would never fly with the population in Europe though. Besides that, would it really be colonization anymore?

Another option might be no WWI and the excess population of Europe goes overseas.
 
The problem is communications between far off territories. Cultural and ethnic differences also. Communications between let's say South Africa and Britain are slow, and expensive. It makes assimilation borderline impossible, and you need it to actually keep the land.

You also need to reduce the domestic anti-colonial sentiment. Upper-class natives will send their children to the main country for higher education where they will be exposed to anticolonial ideas, and when they return, they become independence movement leaders.

It also requires a lot of investment from the mother country. And in the case of let's say the UK, it would very quickly result in a tail wagging the dog sort of scenario.
 
The problem is communications between far off territories. Cultural and ethnic differences also. Communications between let's say South Africa and Britain are slow, and expensive. It makes assimilation borderline impossible, and you need it to actually keep the land.

What an unfortunate example for you to have chosen. I'd challenge you to listen to Oliver Tambo (or P.K. van der Byl for that matter) on YouTube.
 
I guess an argument could be made has colonialism ever actually went away? Were governments and political figures simply replaced with multinational corporations? In the end, it would come down to what incentive would a colonial territory need or desire to stay that way.
 
Define decolonization. I suppose it is possible to have a situation wherein most of Africa ends up like French West Africa, part of the sphere of influence of its former colonizer.
 
What an unfortunate example for you to have chosen. I'd challenge you to listen to Oliver Tambo (or P.K. van der Byl for that matter) on YouTube.
Yeah, I know - but I was thinking some distant colony yet that is not ethnically British and that's the first thing I thought of
 
If anything native education accelarated anti-colonial sentiment. Racism caused a glass ceiling and those educated figured they could rule themselves just as well. To forestall decolonization one could try to create Imperial Federations on equal footing, that would never fly with the population in Europe though. Besides that, would it really be colonization anymore?

Another option might be no WWI and the excess population of Europe goes overseas.
Indeed.
Education of people from the colonies in European universities only helped the people in the colonies to rebel.
The massive waste of resource in ww1 and ww2 and the conflict in the cold war destroyed any chance of the imperial powers in Europe holding on to their colonies.
You would need to nix ww1,ww2 and the cold war.
In the long term, the imperial powers looting the colonies of land and natural resources will lead to rebellions sooner or later.
Without the conflict in Europe, the imperial powers would have more resources to suppress rebellions.
 
You can delay it but it'll still happen. Avoid the suicide of europe in two world wars and you can keep africa colonial 50-200 years longer than OTL.
 
They have 2 options:

1. keep looting and use the colonies as cheap workforce depositories - this will result in eternal rebellions, long-term very unprofitable
2. invest in development and still risk rebellions, but if you integrate them fully there's a high chance you become the colony of them instead, because most colonies are territorially larger and can support more people as well as vast natural wealth
 
1) Option One:

Stop treating colonies as colonies and fully incorporate them as overseas provinces, give everyone citizenship and a say in your country's government. Portugal did this with Estado Novo but they half assed it and it was a too little too late measure that could have succeeded had they gone all in with it earlier. It should be noted that outside of Guinea-Bissau, Portugal had pretty much won its African colonial wars on the ground, they just lost political support on the mainland.

2) Option Two:

Adopt a port city settler colony/enclave system for your coastal colonies while granting the inland parts of the colonies independence under a commonwealth system. Use the easy to defend port cities/enclaves to monopolize the importation/exportation of goods and services to control your former colonies without actually having to administer them through your economic might.

3) Option Three:

Tribalize your colonies (aka: Bantustans). Instead of turning your colonies into countries, break them up into small independent ethnostate localities that are part of a loose confederation under the control of the European colonizer. Play each African ethnicity against each other to prevent greater unification and act as the peacemaker instead of the conquerer.







It should be noted that there were many colonies that didn't want independence, but it was forced due to many European countries adopting a "all or nothing" mentality towards their empires.
 
Last edited:
To summarize, the options to avoid chronic and costly revolt in a post WWI POD are:
  1. Fully incorporate the colonies and their populaces into the metropoles, accepting the inevitable offence to White Supremacist sensibilities and in many cases the real possibility of the proverbial tail wagging the dog.
  2. Cut the places loose with varying degrees of 'fig leaves', with any timetables and long-term economic links involved agreeable to whoever the New Boss is all.
  3. The Stalin route.
 
To summarize, the options to avoid chronic and costly revolt in a post WWI POD are:
  1. Fully incorporate the colonies and their populaces into the metropoles, accepting the inevitable offence to White Supremacist sensibilities and in many cases the real possibility of the proverbial tail wagging the dog.
  2. Cut the places loose with varying degrees of 'fig leaves', with any timetables and long-term economic links involved agreeable to whoever the New Boss is all.
  3. The Stalin route.
Agreed.
#1 is flat out impossible for the British Empire because in that case you might as well move the capital to New Delhi or Bombay and rename it the Indian Empire and be done with it. I don't know enough about the French Empire to know if that was possible.
#2 is certainly doable
#3 Nah, the "Stalin route" would be "Kill anyone who rebels along with their entire family and then kill people more or less at random while accusing them of rebelling just to be on the safe side"
 
If your condition is after 1945, one suggestion: call ASB to remove USA and USSR and China from this planet.
 
Indeed.
Education of people from the colonies in European universities only helped the people in the colonies to rebel.
The massive waste of resource in ww1 and ww2 and the conflict in the cold war destroyed any chance of the imperial powers in Europe holding on to their colonies.
You would need to nix ww1,ww2 and the cold war.
In the long term, the imperial powers looting the colonies of land and natural resources will lead to rebellions sooner or later.
Without the conflict in Europe, the imperial powers would have more resources to suppress rebellions.
From what I understand WW1 in particular really hurt the belief of various Colonized people in the country that directly or indirectly ruled them. From what I understand a lot of subjects in various colonies volunteered to fight at least partially because they believed that this would lead to increased rights and protections for their Colonies either out of an informal belief that by aiding their ruling country they would obtain that or various promises. They got chewed up in Europe and elsewhere and when the surviving veterans got home they found that not much had actually changed. This ended up really changing the beliefs of especially the native educated middle and upper classes who might have previously had some real belief and support for their Empires.

Similarly for the Brits the war ended up drastically changing the way that the white citizens of the Self Ruling White Dominions ( Especially Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Before the war they might not of seen themselves as Britons living abroad anymore but their was a great deal of support and affection for the Mother Country and they often still saw themselves as citizen Subjects of the Greatest Empire in the world. The war somewhat soured that relationship ( with the Anzacs in particular tending to think that they'd been used by the Brits as disposable Cannon Fodder because they weren't Brits.). The war ended up really strengthening their national identities as Canadians and Austrialians and Kiwis.

The ultimate problem especially for the British empire is that ultimately any sort of even Halfway democratic Imperial Federation ( That's at least semi democratic for the Non White subjects) is that ultimately even if the Franchise is set that only say a third or Half of Indians can vote that inevitably the center of Power would shift from London to New Delhi. In effect instead of London ruling India New Delhi would run Britain because of the vastly larger populace.
 
The problem with trying to preserve the British empire after India leaves is that much of the Imperial holdings had been about protecting India. India had been the jewel in the Imperial crown and besides Malaya the only colony that was directly a direct financial net gain for Britain. Pretty much every other colony was a net drain ( At least in terms of tax revenue. British companies did benefit from captive markets but even factoring that in many of the Colonies were still probably overall financial drains).

Aden colony for instance entire point was to protect the Suez Canal and the sea trade with India. Similarly the Suez canals main purpose was to protect trade with India.

The best the Brits could do Post WW2 was probably keep a few bits and pieces ( Like the way they Kept the Falklands, Girbraltar, Diego Garcia, St. Helena, Ascension, and a handful of islands in the Caribbean.). Malta might be doable. From what I understand the OTL independence referendum actually ended up voting to maintain some sort of status with Britain ( though from what I can recall their was low voter turnout). In OTL the Brits gave them independence anyways. I suppose Singapore might be doable with the right POD. Maybe even Sarawak or Brunei. Belize might also be doable. If the British economy does better and the British space Program actually takes off in any real way I could see the Brits setting up their launch site their similarly to the way the French set up in their remaining South American possessions or the US in Florida.

In order to keep those bits and bobs they'd probably have to copy the French and make them overseas provinces with representation in Parliament.

The problem with keeping even those is that the Postwar British economy sucked. A combination of war damage, the financial and human costs from Two World Wars, over nationalization, trying to quickly build an extensive welfare state, the costs of the post WW2 Colonial Wars, Lend Lease being cut so abruptly, having to build their own nukes and develop and maintain delivery vehicles, and maintaining a large conventional military to potentially fight the Soviets sucked up pretty much every spare pound.

In order to keep those extra bits and bobs you'd need

A) a realistic breakdown over what colonies were retainable.
B) a better British economy
c) A willingness to grant the bits that are kept representation in Parliament and semi full or full British citizenship/ subject status.
 
The Soviet Union shows how to organise a successful multiethnic ruling class imperialist capitalist state. Now you just need nomenklatura capitalism in France, the United Commonwealth and the United States.
 
If anything native education accelarated anti-colonial sentiment. Racism caused a glass ceiling and those educated figured they could rule themselves just as well. To forestall decolonization one could try to create Imperial Federations on equal footing, that would never fly with the population in Europe though. Besides that, would it really be colonization anymore?

Another option might be no WWI and the excess population of Europe goes overseas.

I disagree it would accelerated. By the late 1970's when Europeans wanted/could bring welfare state to their colonies, decolonization pretty much ended. Mayotte/Comoros, Suriname/French Guiana provide interesting contrast.

Imperial Federations are not necessary either (Puerto Rico, Gibraltar, Falkands) and in some cases not even desired (Cayman Islands).
 
From what I understand WW1 in particular really hurt the belief of various Colonized people in the country that directly or indirectly ruled them. From what I understand a lot of subjects in various colonies volunteered to fight at least partially because they believed that this would lead to increased rights and protections for their Colonies either out of an informal belief that by aiding their ruling country they would obtain that or various promises. They got chewed up in Europe and elsewhere and when the surviving veterans got home they found that not much had actually changed. This ended up really changing the beliefs of especially the native educated middle and upper classes who might have previously had some real belief and support for their Empires.

Similarly for the Brits the war ended up drastically changing the way that the white citizens of the Self Ruling White Dominions ( Especially Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Before the war they might not of seen themselves as Britons living abroad anymore but their was a great deal of support and affection for the Mother Country and they often still saw themselves as citizen Subjects of the Greatest Empire in the world. The war somewhat soured that relationship ( with the Anzacs in particular tending to think that they'd been used by the Brits as disposable Cannon Fodder because they weren't Brits.). The war ended up really strengthening their national identities as Canadians and Austrialians and Kiwis.

The ultimate problem especially for the British empire is that ultimately any sort of even Halfway democratic Imperial Federation ( That's at least semi democratic for the Non White subjects) is that ultimately even if the Franchise is set that only say a third or Half of Indians can vote that inevitably the center of Power would shift from London to New Delhi. In effect instead of London ruling India New Delhi would run Britain because of the vastly larger populace.
Indeed all good points.
giving more voting rights to the natives in the colonies would shift the balance of power and also it might lead to demands for land reform and less exploitation of the colonies for the benefit of the home country.
All this goes against the reason they acquired the colonies in the first place. Colonies were there to steal land and resources for the home countries and create creative markets for the home country.
In some ways, you could say many of the former colonies are still colonies being exploited by the powers of the world only with the administration outsources to s bunch of local thugs administering them cheaper than having troops and civil service for the home country could.
 
Last edited:
The problem with trying to preserve the British empire after India leaves is that much of the Imperial holdings had been about protecting India. India had been the jewel in the Imperial crown and besides Malaya the only colony that was directly a direct financial net gain for Britain. Pretty much every other colony was a net drain ( At least in terms of tax revenue. British companies did benefit from captive markets but even factoring that in many of the Colonies were still probably overall financial drains).

Aden colony for instance entire point was to protect the Suez Canal and the sea trade with India. Similarly the Suez canals main purpose was to protect trade with India.

The best the Brits could do Post WW2 was probably keep a few bits and pieces ( Like the way they Kept the Falklands, Girbraltar, Diego Garcia, St. Helena, Ascension, and a handful of islands in the Caribbean.). Malta might be doable. From what I understand the OTL independence referendum actually ended up voting to maintain some sort of status with Britain ( though from what I can recall their was low voter turnout). In OTL the Brits gave them independence anyways. I suppose Singapore might be doable with the right POD. Maybe even Sarawak or Brunei. Belize might also be doable. If the British economy does better and the British space Program actually takes off in any real way I could see the Brits setting up their launch site their similarly to the way the French set up in their remaining South American possessions or the US in Florida.

In order to keep those bits and bobs they'd probably have to copy the French and make them overseas provinces with representation in Parliament.

The problem with keeping even those is that the Postwar British economy sucked. A combination of war damage, the financial and human costs from Two World Wars, over nationalization, trying to quickly build an extensive welfare state, the costs of the post WW2 Colonial Wars, Lend Lease being cut so abruptly, having to build their own nukes and develop and maintain delivery vehicles, and maintaining a large conventional military to potentially fight the Soviets sucked up pretty much every spare pound.

In order to keep those extra bits and bobs you'd need

A) a realistic breakdown over what colonies were retainable.
B) a better British economy
c) A willingness to grant the bits that are kept representation in Parliament and semi full or full British citizenship/ subject status.
Indeed.
Many of the colonies were drains on the empire. The colonies that were drains on the home country were often profitable for some of the big companies doing business there.
These companies profit were in effect subsidised by the taxes payers who paid for the security and admin cost of the colony.
Probably the most expensive colony for its size the British had was Ireland.
After Britain lost its empire living standards for ordinary people in Britain went up.
Qui Bono
You need as the question who benefited for the colonies?
Thomas Paine blamed the land gentry and their system of inheritance.
The land gentry passed on their estates to the firstborn son only. The other son joined the army but only got paid 1/3 pay when not at war.
A war of conquest in the colonies meant full pay and the possibility of a land grant from the crown to set up their own estates in the colonies.
And business those who could get monopolies on imports of luxury good and anything else of value from the colonies.
While the burden of administrating the colonies was paid for by the state.
Colonies had to keep expanding and at some point, the losses of running the colonies became too great. Without the losses in the wars in Europe, this would have taken longer for the burden to become unstainable.
 
Top