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World War II is made up of many very famous events.
Two of the events that were extremely important to Africans during the war were
the creation of the Atlantic Charter and the Brazzaville Conference.
In this section of the web site, we take a look at the North Atlantic Charter and the Brazzaville Conference. Use the table below to select which event you would like to explore.
The Atlantic Charter
The Atlantic Charter was made on 14 August 1941 as a
"joint declaration by the United States and Britain." It marked
the end of the colonial era by "[proclaiming] the right of all peoples to
choose their own form of government and not have boundary changes imposed on
them." The Charter became the basis for the United Nations
Declaration and the establishment of the United Nations.1
The Atlantic Charter is important to the African experience during World War II because it spelled the end of the colonial era for Africans after the end of the war. This declaration, working in tandem with rising nationalism in Africa, is part of the reason that after World War II, many European powers released their hold on colonial interests.
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The Brazzaville Conference
The Brazzaville Conference, held in what is now
Brazzaville, The Congo, was a forum to discuss the fate of French
colonies. Charles de Gaulle called the conference, which ran from 30
January until 8 February 1944, as a way to discuss the fate -- the conference
itself could not determine the fate of French colonial interests.
The conference "[decreed] that eventual self-government for any of the
colonies was unthinkable, but then went on to agree that the colonies must be
given greater economic social freedom, and that the indigenous populations must
take a greater part in the running of their countries."2
While the Brazzaville Conference seemed detrimental to the end of colonialism, it truly "started the movement toward independence by nearly all French colonies." By 1962, most French colonies were free.3
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