Realpolitik and African Nationalism: Labour Britain and Angola in the 1960s


Salazar’s dictatorship was the opposite of western democracy principles, but neither London nor Washington could forget the importance of Portugal as a NATO allied country. Moreover, white re-gimes in Southern Africa granted the stability necessary to pursue Anglo-Saxon interests. According to both Atlantic capitals, white settlers did not have any intention to give up and African nationalists did not have the military and economic strength to defeat them. When Salazar was succeeded by Caetano, Down-ing Street thought he would bring modernisation, by accepting foreign companies to develop the econ-omy, especially in Angola where oil and diamonds were being exported, and also by at least accepting the principle of self-determination. However, emancipation and equality of races was something on which African nationalists and black independent States could not tolerate any compromise. Once the process of political independence had been started, the following step was the achievement of economic sovereignty on a basis that old times diplomacy and cold war estimates were no longer able to understand.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22808949a5n2p611

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