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World Association of International Studies

PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post Post-WWII Border Changes, Continued
Created by John Eipper on 09/25/18 6:03 AM

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Post-WWII Border Changes, Continued (David Duggan, USA, 09/25/18 6:03 am)

John E asked this question on September 24th:  "What are the cases of post-WWII changes in borders by force?  I cannot think of many, with the exceptions of Israel, Vietnam, Russia (Crimea) and the successful separatist movements in Eritrea, Timor, Sudan, and a few other places."

How about the whole of Yugoslavia? India-Pakistan-Bangladesh?

JE comments:  A few times during our discussion of revanchism, I've tried to make a distinction between separatism and redrawing borders per se.  All the newly hatched nations after WWII have subdivided an existing country.  Yugoslavia and Bangladesh are in this category, as are the former Soviet countries, South Sudan, Cyprus, etc.  None of the nations have carved out their territory from more than one "parent."  Am I wrong here?  Or does the distinction not really matter?


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  • Post-WWII Border Changes: Goa and the Sand War (Sasha Pack, USA 09/26/18 3:17 AM)
    On the subject of territories seized by force since 1945, JE has suggested that cases of violent border redrawing have usually been tied to the breakup of an existing state, not the hostile annexation of territory by a neighboring state, as occurred more frequently in prior eras. I think he is generally correct, but there are exceptions of course. I can add to the list of exceptions that seem to prove the rule:

    Goa, a Portuguese enclave on the Indian subcontinent since the early 16th century, was seized by India in 1961. The Portuguese had conquered it from the Delhi Sultanate in the 1520s around the time the rest of that polity was being devoured by the Mughal Empire. Goa remained in Portuguese hands throughout the period of the British Raj, and when the British departed in 1947 Portugal refused to cede Goa to the new Indian republic. In 1960, the International Court of Justice mainly upheld Portugal's claim. But as the Portuguese were committing their resources to fighting in Angola, Indian PM Nehru simply occupied Goa (with UN support) and forced the Portuguese to depart.


    Another, unforgettable example is the Sand War of 1963-64, fought over the patch of desert along the Algeria-Morocco border corresponding to portions of the Tindouf and Bechar districts just to the north of Mauritania. This waterless expanse had long functioned, like many other stretches of the Sahara, as an ocean-like crossing for nomadic tribes loosely affiliated with the Ottoman or Moroccan sultanates. When the French wrested Algeria from the Ottomans, the 1845 Treaty of Lalla-Maghnia defined a formal limit with Morocco in districts near the Mediterranean coast, but the domains further inland were regarded as uninhabitable, rendering superfluous the designation of boundaries. But by the 20th century, when the French held colonial claims on both Algeria and Morocco, the desert patch showed promise of oil and mineral wealth. In 1952, France annexed these domains from Morocco to Algeria, which it considered a fully sovereign territory. After withdrawing from Morocco in 1956, French forces occupied Tindouf-Bechar directly. The French departure from Algeria in 1962 precipitated a violent confrontation with Morocco over the boundary in 1963. A peace was brokered in 1964 in Algeria's favor, essentially upholding French-Algeria's annexation-by-force for its postcolonial successor republic.


    In the same neighborhood, Morocco has attempted to annex the Western Sahara by force, but its claim is controversial.


    JE comments:  Goa has always been on my Bucket List; the battlefields of the Sand War, not so much.  Within the Goa district lies Aldona, the "most beautiful village in the world" (Google it).  My Aldona should be able to get a deal on food and lodging.


    Great to hear from you, Sasha!  My best to Emilie and the twins.  And here's a coincidence:  Your city (Buffalo) came up in my Spanish III class on Monday.  While explaining that it's one of the handful of US cities that changes its spelling in Spanish (Búfalo), I was thinking of my visit to your home three years ago.  And then you wrote...the WAIS Effect!

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  • More Post-WWII Border Changes: Morocco, Somalia, Nauru (Brian Blodgett, USA 09/26/18 3:43 AM)
    More post-WWII border changes to add to our list:

    In 1956 Spanish Morocco gains independence from Spain, and French Morocco gains independence from France. They combine to form Morocco.


    In 1956 Sudan gains independence from Egypt and Britain.


    In 1960 British Somaliland gains independence from Britain. It merges with Italian Somaliland to form Somalia.


    In 1968 Nauru Island gains independence from the UN-sponsored trusteeship of Britain, Australia and New Zealand.


    JE comments:  Brian Blodgett's examples could go in the "patchwork nation" file--a new country formed of two or more former colonies.  The first of this group would probably be the United States.  Yugoslavia might be next, although the South Slav model didn't stick.


    In my early days as a geography buff, I was intrigued by tiny Nauru, which in the 1970s was one of the richest nations per capita in the world.  Its source of wealth: guano.  Now that the bird poop has all been scooped, leaving a moonscape of environmental destruction, it's one of the world's poorest.  Wikipedia reports there is 90% unemployment, and over 90% of the remaining 10% works for the government.  Nauru's budget is almost entirely bankrolled by Australia.



    Has anyone in WAISworld been to Nauru?


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