Mi 13 Dez 2017

Do 14 Dez 2017
Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin
Explorative Workshop

The Axis Powers and Decolonisation: Debating perspectives, differences, and entanglements of the end of empire in Germany, Italy, and Japan

convened by Annalisa Urbano (University of Bayreuth)

Workshop report at TRAFO

This workshop intended to comparatively analyse the end of the German, Italian, and Japanese em-pires following the Second World War. Wartime defeat did not only mark the end of the Axis alli-ance. It also brought their imperial domination in Africa, Asia, and Europe to a close. These endings have similar characteristics. They entailed a great deal of negotiations with representatives of the international community. Allies powers managed a series of population transfers and the repatria-tion of settlers from the former colonies and territories occupied before and during wartime, such as Manchuria, Libya and parts of Eastern Europe. Moreover, a new form of international mandate, the trusteeship system of the United Nations, was created to control former enemies’ colonies and implemented in different regions as Somalia and the Pacific Islands.

In the last decade, a growing number of studies has begun to reconsider the relations among the former Axis powers offering powerful and nuanced investigations into their trans-imperial, cultural, economic, and social connections. Yet, the end of empire has not received equal consideration. What is more, the more established literature on the decolonization of European empires usually focuses on the period between the mid-1950s and the late 1970s often failing to consider the former Axis’ empires. The workshop is thus an attempt to bring these debates together, pushing their focus beyond the current chronological approach. In particular, the workshop aimed to address a number of questions, such as: Does the framework of decolonization – understood as the process of dismantling empires – provide a useful theoretical and methodological paradigm to understand social, political, and cultural processes occurring in Germany, Italy and Japan as well as in their former colonies and occupied territories at the crucial post-Second World War historical juncture? What can be gained from discussing and comparing these developments within this framework? And will this enhance our broader knowledge of the (post)colonial world order?