World War 2’s impact on the racial balance of the world

By Xerxes the Magian 30 Comments

This clip was interesting in WW2’s effect on the racial demographics of the West and white supremacy (that all Western powers including the Allies were keen to maintain).

Much as we lionise the role of Britain in this country for both World Wars; there is a feeling we are living in the aftermath of a massive decompression (lingering on because the Sovereign is still a living link to that period).

The hubris of Empire ultimately culminated in a reality where white people had to share the world and more importantly power. Unless there is a string of right-wing authoritarianism, genocide and/or ethnic cleansing the West is now perpetually multi-racial and multi-ethnic.

As the commentator above makes the point the first coloured migrants were “invited” to help rebuild society in the wake of post-war. It’s an important to remember that it’s rather churlish to invite a generation, then try to somehow disenfranchise them and then tell their children to go “back home.”

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30 Replies to “World War 2’s impact on the racial balance of the world”

  1. Looks like Germany did a massive service to the rest of the world by initiating lots and lots of carnage among the white people. A famous quip about Germany in the first half of 20th century says that Germany’s sin is unforgivable because it tried to do in Europe what Europe has been doing in the rest of the world for two centuries.

    1. Shafiq, I know you are joking. But seriously, 60 million plus people died in WW2 from all over the world. It was horrendous. A huge number of Africans, Brazilians died. Many tens of millions of Asians died.

      “Germany’s sin is unforgivable because it tried to do in Europe what Europe has been doing in the rest of the world for two centuries.” Not so. Before WWI was the 1870 Prussian-French war, the US Civil War 1861-1865, the 1856 Crimean War, the series of wars unleashed by the French Revolution 1789-1815, the 1756-1763 de facto world war.

      The Europeans were initially invited into many of their former colonies. The motivation in many cases was nonmuslim and reasonable muslim resistance to Islamist Jihadis. [Including the Philippines circa 1900 . . . which turned into an American/non muslim Filipino pogrom against muslims].

      It is worth noting that by freeing the slaves of Africa and Asia European imperialists were siding with nonmuslims against muslim slave owners. From a muslim point of view this might have appeared sectarian.

      1. You totally did not get what I meant by Germany’s sin to the white people. It meant that Germany tried to build a colonial empire within Europe. Ethnic cleansing to make ‘living space’ for German people, occupying lands for extraction and captive market, enforcing economic dependency on the periphery, all these and others were among the war aims. Of course Europe had been doing that to the non-white world for centuries.

        “The Europeans were initially invited into many of their former colonies. The motivation in many cases was nonmuslim and reasonable muslim resistance to Islamist Jihadis.” – This is outlandish even by your usual fare.

        1. “The Europeans were initially invited into many of their former colonies. The motivation in many cases was nonmuslim and reasonable muslim resistance to Islamist Jihadis.”
          How is this outlandish? The European colonizers initially presented themselves as powerful allies. It wasn’t only against Islamist Jihadis. It was also against other local groups. Without understanding this, how can the European reception in Africa in the ninetheenth and eighteenth centuries be understood?

          Why do you think Europeans wanted to ethnically cleanse colonies in Africa and Asia? In the Americas the local population dramatically declined. But this was almost entirely due to disease (germs brought by Europeans) and the local healthcare system’s inability to cope.

          “occupying lands for extraction and captive market, enforcing economic dependency on the periphery”. Hitler had a hatred of slavic peoples. I don’t think his motives were economic. Economically, militarily and strategically Hitler’s actions against Slavs didn’t make sense. Most of the Slavs initially greeted the Nazis as liberated (most Soviets and Soviet protectorates hated Stalin) and were open to joining the Nazis. Hitler insisted on harming his potential allies.

          Hitler also hated Christianity, wanted to destroy Christianity; and wanted to supplant Christianity with German Indology (German study of the East, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sanskrit).

          Many Hindus and Buddhists insisted on fighting Hitler in WWII because he was misusing Eastern philosophy, Eastern technology and Eastern faiths.

        2. Yes, colonialism was about the white man’s burden.
          Anan’s notion that Europeans went in to their colonies because of “reasonable Muslim” (whatever that means) resistance to “Jihadis” is a-historical and quite bizarre, even for Anan.

  2. Recent topics for discussion on BP:
    British-India partition conflict
    Israel – Palestine conflict
    LTTE – Sinhalese conflict
    Genghis Khan carnage
    World War II conflict

    Where is it going? 🙂

    1. Seems to be a lot of conflict. A few of these are not even directly related to South Asia.

      1. I’m respecting our European conflict.

        We are reflecting the world around us; this is just from my Tweet Feed. I follow Owen Jones who linked to Ayo Caesar and this figured on the top of our profile.

        1. Well, one could argue that Israel-Palestine and WWII don’t really have much to do with South Asia. Of course part of WWII was fought in Burma and the Indian National Army was in Burma so there is some connection. Also, Indian (and Pakistani) soldiers did fight in Europe.

          BP has a total right to discuss whatever topics the contributors want, but it seemed to me that it was supposed to be vaguely related to South Asia.

          1. Kabir, the Indian Army won WWII for the allies. It is completely related to South Asia. It demonstrated the wisdom and power of British India before the rest of the world.

            Palestine Israel is also related to all three Abrahamic faiths and South Asia. The British Indian Army was deployed to Palestine. The 1947/1948 dual English partitions and departures were related in the English mind.

        2. I am interested in all those topics of conflict. I am highlighting the fact that they seem to be coming back to back. Perhaps no one planned it that way but they could have been spaced.

          1. Hoipolloi,
            I am interested in these conflicts too. But perhaps there is too much emphasis on geopolitical conflict on BP (the only one I don’t particularly care about is the LTTE one). I agree with you that the conflict posts should be more spaced out.

            Anan,
            Palestine is a Middle Eastern and an Islamic problem. If we must discuss Palestine-like conflicts in South Asia, the issue of Kashmir stares us in the face daily. By the way, WWII was won by the Americans. The tide only really shifted after the US Entry into the War. That is just a fact.

          2. Kabir wanted/complained to diversify our topics from Indo-Pak so i egged sbarrkum to get Tamil-Sinhalese thing going 🙂

          3. Saurav,
            Indo-Pak is boring. The Sri Lankan Civil War is definitely a topic worthy of coverage. I think I just read one novel on it: “Anil’s Ghost”.

            But my conflict interests are pretty much met by the “Muslim” causes of Kashmir and Palestine. Even those seem so intractable, it’s probably best to move on to things we can actually do something about.

  3. Sadguru has said that if not for WWI and WWII, India would still be part of the English Raj. Not that this would be an entirely bad thing. A united India (SAARC+Burma) would have been an independent dominion inside a stronger version of the commonwealth. In this alternative history the English Royal family would likely have married Indians (from greater India) and we would have Anglo Indian royals. Likely some of the Royals would have moved to India and reigned from Indian palaces. India would have been the crown jewel and center of what started as the English empire.

    “Much as we lionize the role of Britain in this country for both World Wars.” I don’t lionize the British role in WWII. I do lionize the role of the glorious British Indian Army (including the English officers who served with her) and the other colonial army in saving the world from Hitler of Tojo. All they asked in return was graves to bury their dead. The entire world owes them an enormous debt of gratitude, although they fought not for gratitude; but fought for what was right.

    “The hubris of Empire ultimately culminated in a reality where white people had to share the world and more importantly power.”

    The Indians and other former colonies were always potentially very powerful and wise. [Isn’t this what Bah’ai teaches?] They were held back by the European colonization of their minds with inferiority complex and a lack of self confidence. Part of how this happened was through post modernism. In WWII the English were saved from near certain defeat by the brave British Indian Army and other colonial armies. Seeing that the Indian Army and other colonial armies were able to do what the British could not opened the eyes of the former colonies. They realized that they were strong and wise. Independence and power flowed from this.

    Power cannot be given or shared. The inherent sleeping power inside us can be inspired or sparked by others. But the power was and is always there.

    I strongly disagree with the phrase “white supremacy”. There is no such thing. It is impossible. This phrase is a subtle colonization of the mind to reduce the self confidence of and impose inferiority complex on “darkies”. We must fight this post modernist imperialist orientalist hegemonic exploitative oppressive nonsense.

  4. The West is indeed now multi-cultural, for better or for worse. The genie has been let out of the bottle, and the way I look at it the presence of immigrants in the West is a natural consequence of the globalisation that the West had dragged the rest of the world into, kicking and screaming. Globalisation was immensely harmful for the industries in the East in the centuries past. But now along with good, services and knowledge the movement of people is inevitable.

    But it’s not just the West that will see it – I expect India, China, Latin America, etc to all be receipeints of immigrants one day. How will these societies, which haven’t been used to this sort of thing on an international scale, change? The racism against Africans in India might be a groom sign of things to come.

    And finally, climate change – which I foresee to be the biggest driver of migrants in the coming century. How will Europe deal with millions of sub-saharan Africans? How will India deal with millions more of Bangladeshis? Etc.

    1. Immigration is already a huge issue for India, China, Latin America. None of them have good immigration policies. They have famous good inexpensive universities. They need to expedite student visas and foreign student admissions to their universities to the tune of hundreds of thousands per year. These foreign students should be encouraged to live in the countries of their alma mater and have a pathway to citizenship. Business and Work Visas for skilled labor also needs to be expedited. China has outperformed India in this department so far. But China also needs to do much better.

      Student Visas, Business Visas and skilled labor work Visas are great ways of attracting the best and brightest (with a high degree of physical health privilege, mental health privilege and intelligence privilege) and increasing long term economic growth. This is one of the best ways to increase economic growth.

      India has the additional advantage of millions or more spiritually oriented foreigners who want to live in India. India should fast track their citizenship, especially for foreign nationals who have some combination of physical health, mental health, intelligence or wealth privilege.

  5. most of the non-white diversity in the west is in the new world. ww2 had no impact there. so this is irrelevant and eurocentric. europe is demographically marginal anyway, and always would have been (one thing nazis were concerned with was with fertility decline).

    this viewpoint is really eurocentric.

    1. Do you mean Latin American immigration to the US, Canada and Europe? If so, Brazil and Mexico joined WWII in 1942 when the outcome was uncertain and Brazil fought valiantly in Italy. Mexicans fought in the Philippines albeit on a smaller scale. Latin America was greatly affected by WWII. Although I don’t wish to write an article about it at this time.

      I have long been fascinated by Brazil’s role in WWII.

      1. Latin America was greatly affected by WWII.

        no it wasn’t. lots of latin americans didn’t die. latin america wasn’t attacked. the whole new world came out of ww2 relatively unscathed. even the USA, despite our non-trivial mortalities. the context of the post is obviously how europe was totally fucked demographically and infrastructure wise by ww2.

        anyway, i’m not talking about latin america. 10% of ppl in the united states were black in 1940.

        and latin america is part of the new world and is part of the west, and it’s racially diverse.

        europe is not diverse. it’s only diverse compared to what it was.

        london is just like new york city. except it’s way whiter.

        1. Understand what you mean now. You are correct that the European mainland is increasingly marginal to the world.

    2. Agreed. Though I would say Europe is the cradle of everything that we today call civilization and culture. This may sound very “internally colonized” of me but the rest of the world needs to learn from Europeans how to be educated and how to live the good life.

      1. no one can deny the seminal and necessary role of europe in defining everything that we consider modern (most people now find it normative to dress something like europeans, especially high status men [suits]).

        but islam and hinduism, and aspects of east asian deep culture (eg japan) are seminal and necessary natively to understand those societies.

        more precisely, i would say that *universal civilization* is of european origin. the UN is the heir to westphalia.

  6. Kabir, Americans exaggerate the American role in winning WWII. This is one of the causes of anti-Americanism.

    I am learning a lot about the LTTE conflict and enjoying the process.

    1. Yeah, there would have been no D-Day without the US. We (Americans) won that War for Europe. Be grateful.

      1. i think the war would not have been won without the USA. and i think USA + britain would eventually have beaten germany. but, we americans neglect the role that the soviet union played in grinding down the german war machine in a game of attrition. intellectually most intelligent americans will admit the reality…but it’s somewhat neglect because of the post ww2 rivalry.

        1. Razib, you are right that the USA would have eventually won thanks to the nuclear bomb. This said the USSR, China, Indian Army, other colonial armies, Canadian military, Aussie/Kiwi military, Brazilian military, Serbian military, Greek military, all played important roles. As did many other countries.

          America is lucky that England held out until the US was able to contribute to WWII. The Indian Army deserves a lot of the credit. If not for the Indian Army; Africa, the middle east, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and the Soviet Union would likely have fallen or joined the Axis.

          In the East the Chinese and Indian Army bled the Japanese dry. The British frequently boasted that the Indian Army was the best army in the world. The Indian Army stopped Rommel.

          It is also important to remember that many countries contributed mightily the Nazi cause; including the Soviet Union’s many enemies (Finland, Eastern Europe, Croats etc.)


          1. Razib, you are right that the USA would have eventually won thanks to the nuclear bomb.

            well, i think even without the bomb in a war of attrition we would have won. on a per person basis the german soldiers were the world’s best (i believe 1.4x effectiveness vs. allied soldiers). but the USA was the largest wealthy country in the world with a lot of resources.

            of course it’s not a guarantee. and i think if the soviets sued for peace like the russians did in ww1 it would have taken longer. who knows if the germans could have gotten the bomb first?

  7. Razib, the US would have gotten the nuclear bomb first. Then it would be game over.

    “the USA was the largest wealthy country in the world with a lot of resources.” Completely true. The US had over half of global GDP. The US paid for the Chinese military, Soviet military and paid for the Indian Army after 1941. The US paid for everyone. In this way American money and foreign blood won WWII.

    The Brazilians in 1942 asked America to help them train, transport and logistically support 100,000 Brazilian troops in Europe. America told the Brazilians to wait until 1944, since the US preferred to fund others first and had limited transportation capacity.

    America is a special place and special country; unlike any other. I love American “can do anything and solve any problem” ism. The American deep culture use to have a goodness, honor and virtue that was beautiful and admirable for all of America’s tragic flaws. Too bad this deep culture is dying, being replaced by post modernism.

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