Why did the European Empires collapse in such a short amount of time?.
When studying the history of the European Empires, it must be assessed as to why they collapsed in such a short amount of time. This essay will give detailed analysis on the reasons that contributed towards their downfall such as the rise in nationalism, the Second World War and arguably the First World War, the rise of the US and other such factors. By analysing these factors, a clear and concise argument shall be given as to why these empires collapsed in such a short amount of time.
One factor that must be argued to have contributed to the collapse of the European Empires was a new sense of nationalism in colonised territories. After World War II for example, with the defeat of the tyrannical and imperialistic enemy, Nazi Germany, nations like India gained a new outlook on their place within the world, not needing to be ruled by a greater force, such as the British Empire. The British Empire found itself in a difficult position when Nazi racism was apparent, meaning Britain's claim of legitimacy of a superior race ruling another was no longer valid, meaning the colonised country could see its own destiny, not needing an empire to rule them. With this in mind, an empire can no longer stay stable if a horrific war in which many countries, colonised and independent, have to fight together against an imperialist enemy, meaning the legitimacy of the allied empires can be no longer.
To truly see this emergence of nationalism, the study of the French Empire is vital and could be a contributing explanation to the collapse of the European Empires. Only second behind Britain, this Empire was still at its greatest extent by 1945 but, by 1962 it had lost all its major territories with nationalism emerging throughout this period. The French Union (the new name for the Empire) of 1946 is a clear example of desperation to keep the Empire together with its indissoluble unity.