The Congo Crisis of 1960-1965: A Non-Salvageable Political Infrastructure. Terror has struck the Congo from the beginning of foreign imperialism, with civil wars, political unrest, and the use of rape as a weapon of war by proxy militia gangs in order to gain control of the Congo’s natural resources.
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These recurring issues have gone unnoticed by so many, when they have had such a huge impact on the Congo and those countries around them since the problems started. Though the Congo gained its independence from Belgium in 1960 it did not solve any of their problems, and instead heightened them mainly with the political unrest that ensued.
Just in the past 15 years has the issue of rape and deaths caused by the proxy militia really become a huge issue for the people of the Republic of the Congo. The constant mistreatment of the Congo by the Belgians only heightened their need and want to separate from their imperialistic power because of the possibility of greater political and economic freedom. Though the Congo gained their freedom, the leftover political infrastructure from Belgium imperialism created an atmosphere of political unrest that was difficult for the Republic of the Congo to overcome. Some of these instances being the mutiny of their armed forces along with separatist movements and inter-tribal conflicts, all of which threatened to destroy the newly independent country. After Congo gained independence from Belgium there was political unrest and conflict in the Republic of the Congo, under the presidency of Joseph Kasa-Vubu. This crisis resulted in over 100,000 deaths.
With Belgium’s “…loss of the Congo, the former Belgian colony that became independent on 30 June 1960. To restore their profits, the capitalists wanted radical measures,” (Tampa). Why did the Congo want their independence from Belgium. The people of the Congo wanted their independence from Belgium because Belgium imperialism had totally taken over the country.
They had control over the Congo’s resources and even used the people of the Congo as slaves for their rubber plantations and everyday lives. After about 60 years of mistreatment the people of the Congo grew tired of it and moved towards gaining their independence. How did the conflicts in the Republic of the Congo tie into those of the Cold War. The cold war was a period of unrest after World War II, this tied into the Congo’s problems because the countries involved in the cold war used the Congo for its resources, since it was weak after breaking from Belgium’s rule. What did Belgian Imperialism have to do with the Congo Crisis during African Decolonization? How did it affect them. With the decolonization of Africa, more countries were gaining their own dependence bringing higher powers into play, since the Congo was weak.
This opened doors for the countries around the Congo to take advantage of its weakness and take away its resources, and take over its people because they had no protection against it. For many years, and even now, other countries have been taking advantage of the Congo and killing its people. Millions have died since the Republic of the Congo broke away from Belgium. Congolese sign depicting the date of their independence.
This image embodies the topic of the Congo Crisis because it is a picture of a sign in the Congo with the date of their independence on it. It looks to have been taken when they won their independence, and it depicts a man who is seemingly proud of this great feat, unknowing to the kinds of conflict that would arise. The article “Why the world is ignoring Congo war” by Vava Tampa, tries to raise awareness of all of the unfortunate things that have been happening in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In this article the author reports a major issue that the world has been blind to for a very long time, this issue being rape which is being used as a “weapon of war by proxy militia gangs fighting for control of Congo’s easily appropriable and highly valuable natural resources,” (Tampa). This war, and others in the Congo have claimed countless deaths, “nearly the same number of lives as having a 9/11 every single day for 360 days, the genocide that struck Rwanda in 1994, the ethnic cleansing that overwhelmed Bosnia in the mid-1990s, the genocide that took place in Darfur, the number of people killed in the great tsunami that struck Asia in 2004, and the number of people who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki — all combined and then doubled,” (Tampa). This is probably an overstatement, but it still shows how major this issue is, and shows that we need to pay more attention to it and other parts of the world, instead of our own country, because countless people are dying every day.
Cartoon depicting how other countries took advantage of the Congo’s political unrest by abusing their resources. Secondary Source:. In the book “Britain and the Congo Crisis, 1960-63” the author, Alan James writes about the relationship between Britain and the Congo during 1960 through 1963. James also writes about the relationship between Belgium and the Congo, and what life was like before the Congo gained independence and broke off from Belgium.
However, after a week of independence “the Congo’s gimcrack government edifice collapsed, and there was an eruption of anarchy. ” After this happened, Belgium felt obligated to intervene in order to support its nationals. After the Congo gained independence from Belgium, Britain took Belgium’s side in the matter.
According to Alan James, “It was hard, in Britain’s view, to see how else Belgium could honourably have responded to what transpired in the Congo following the grant of independence” (James 40). Britain’s taking of Belgium’s side had specific underlying reasons however, as “she had an indirect but important stake in the protection of the assets in question, inasmuch as their mismanagement might result in serious damage to some of her own” (James 40). Belgium still had ties to the Congo and their resources, which in its way tied to Britain as explained by James, if the Congo ended up in political turmoil it was possible that those resources would be lost to Belgium, and in its turn Britain as well.
Primary Sources:. The first primary source was written by an unknown author on August 28, 1884. It talks about the International African Association’s opinion of the Congo a long time before any of the issues brought upon it by the Belgians and surrounding countries.
The IAA is fearful of a relapse of the Congo back to its “primitive savagery, nor the wonderful organization which has been created upon that noble river fall into the hands of a nation that would either monopolize its benefits or give its further development a deplorable bias,” (The Congo). This however is not that case of what happened. In 1908 the Congo fell into the hands of King Leopold II. My next primary source. written by Brussels and published on June 18 th 1960, was intended for the people of London who read the Times and are interested in foreign affairs. The main argument of this newspaper article is to stress the fact that the Congo is having difficulties politically, and to talk about Lumumba and how he is affecting the Congo’s outcome.
This article was written during the time of the cold war, and 13 days before the Congo gained its independence from Belgium, becoming the republic of the Congo and a free nation. Brussels probably thought of himself higher than the peoples he was writing about in his article. These people were black and he was most likely white, and during the time racism was prominent and whites were viewed as higher than other races. This primary source supports my thesis by telling how Belgium believed that the Congo was going to fail due to Mr. Lumumba, and other factors including other rival Governments. This article also proves that political unrest was bound to happen, even before the Congo’s independence was achieved.
Secondary Source:. The paper Thoughts on the Congo Crisis written by Mahmood Mamdani talks about the collapse of many African countries.
Mamdani believes that this all started with the Congo. The above image is an illustration of the relationship between Belgium and the Congo. It is a picture of Congo slaves on a Belgian rubber plantation. The Independence of the Congo fits into the theme of conflict, because that is exactly what happened with this crisis.
It was mainly political conflict that resulted in thousands of deaths, and these deaths are still occuring today. The Congo has yet to come back to where it was before it gained its independence, or from before it was taken over by Belgian imperialists. There has been inequality in the Congo for a very long time, they were ruled by Belgium and run by the whites who lived in the Congo.
Even after gaining independence, they were still taken advantage of during the cold war, and after by the more powerful countries around them. Chained Congolese slaves on a Belgian Rubber Plantation. Digital image. Ultimatehistoryproject. N.
n. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.
Congo Propaganda Illustrative Poster. Digital image. Focusonsocialism. N. n.
Web. 7 Sept. 2014. Sign with the date of The Republic of Congo’s independence.
Digital image. Socialistworld. N. n. Web.
28 Aug. 2014. Croes, Nicolas.
” History: 50 Years since “strike of the Century” in Belgium. SocialistWorld, 20 Dec. 2010.
Web. 05 Dec. 2014. <.
James, Alan. Britain and the Congo Crisis, 1960-63.
St. Martin’s Press, INC. 1996. “The Congo. ” Times [London, England] 28 Aug.
1884: 2. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 16 Nov.
2014. Mamdani, Mahmood.
“Thoughts on the Congo Crisis. ” JSTOR. Duke University Press, Oct.
-Nov. 1999. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww. jstor.
org%2Fstable%2F466862>. Our Correspondent. “Double Crisis In Congo. ” Times [London, England] 18 June 1960: 8.
The Times Digital Archive. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. Tampa, Vava. “Why the World Is Ignoring Congo War.
” CNN, 27 Nov. 2012. Web. 7 Sept. 2014. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww. cnn.
com%2F2012%2F11%2F27%2Fopinion%2Fcongo-war-ignored-vava-tampa%2Findex. html%3Firef%3Dallsearch>. 1,125 thoughts on “ The Congo Crisis of 1960-1965: A Non-Salvageable Political Infrastructure ”.