WWII's impactCarrol Cox nos dice(n):
To make WWII a universal cause of everything that has since happened gives that war both too much and too little "credit." It created, or rather *was* the world that followed it, in every respect, and hence to draw a direct causal line between it and any one "effect" seems ahistorical and/or tautological. It is something like blaming capitalism for capitalist profits or blaming h20 or water. Yes, of course, but...
I am a strong defender of the idea that every revolutionary movement in the Third World should be understood basically analyzing its "domestic origins", so in general I agree with Carrol Cox. Some comments, however, may be of use.
It is not exactly WWII, it is the whole crisis of world capitalism that, after 1930 and, say, up to 1948 (just to state a year), weakened the central, imperialist countries, and gave the colonial and semi-colonial world a chance to attempt, at least, formal independence, and, at most, socialism.
Precisely because it is the _Third World (i.e., the colonial and semicolonial world)_, in these countries there is always a party or a fraction of the ruling elites (and sometimes, in very successful experiments such as Uruguay or Argentina, even large fractions of subordinate classes, and even of the working class at times) that express _within the formation_ the power of imperialism.
This expression is manifold. It sometimes implies straightforward business partnership, sometimes just the effect of hegemonic / ideologic dependence as a result of a successful "paedagogic colonization". If the expression sounds too queer, it is due to the fact that the vast theoretical and political work made in Argentina on these issues has never attained universal diffusion; those interested in similar ideas may have a profitable look at Memmi or Fanon for the Algerian experience; there is also an interesting book by a Cuban, Roberto Fernández Retamar, known as "Algunos usos de civilización y barbarie" -with a foreword by the Argentine Eduardo Luis Duhalde, a Left wing Peronist intellectual.
Ultimately, the power of these groups and classes wells out from the power of the imperialist countries. Each time this power weakens, the power of their allies or supporters within the colony weakens too.
In a certain sense, our domestic politics is "foreign politics", a reasonable reversing of the general Marxist notion that foreign politics is the expression of domestic politics. This is the political correlate of the fact that metropolitan, self-centered, economies try to use the world market to their own benefit, while extroverted economies are adapted to the world market for the benefit of the imperialist bourgeoisies.
So that when we attribute to the WWII (or rather to the complex process whereby the war at last was fought) a "demiurgic" role in the history of the second half of our century we may be not too wrong. It could be even argued that the war triggered a process of Third World revolutions that only reached its end with the liberation of Mozambique and Angola, by the mid-seventies. Thirty years of turmoil and revolution _may_ seem too much a blame to be put on a war, of course, but cannot be explained without reference to that war.