European Imperialism In The Early 20th Century

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Europe at the beginning of the 20th century saw the development of ‘mass society’; the continual developing industrial sprawl, mass housing, mass class bound fashions, mass political, mass production and new imperialism defined this period. Thus, concerns for the individual became forefront within society and subsequently saw the progress of human rights in the latter half of the century. European modernity can be defined as the development of the human rights movement, built upon these early 20th century concerns for the individual. European imperialism during the first half of the century, saw Western powers conquer Africa and parts of Asia, as trade became imperative for the growth of domestic economies. Through the development of policies…show more content…
Joseph Chamberlain projected this view for the British empire, in which the welfare of Britain depended upon the preservation of the empire. “I am convinced that it is a necessity as well as a duty for us to uphold the dominion and empire which we now possess.” Early 1900s saw daily life saturated with imperial themes and messages and imperial rhetoric became increasingly central within political discourse. Ideas of the ‘civilizing mission’ which would elevate these territories to a higher standard, a western standard, were based upon the ideas of ‘social Darwinism’. The doctrine of the survival of the fittest from Charles Darwin’s evolutionary thesis was applied to human society and therefore fitness was synonymous for white skin. Thus almost every relationship between colonizers and the colonized…show more content…
The early documents of human rights such as The Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights excluded particular social, religious, economic, political groups, people of color and women. Contemporary International Human Rights have their beginnings in the establishment of the United Nations (UN) in 1945, after the atrocities of the Second World War. This was to achieve the goals which the short-lived League of Nations were unable to achieved after the First World War. December 10, 1948, the 56 members of the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a unanimous vote establishing these rights as interdependent and indivisible. A significant moment in the human rights movement and the development of European modernity. The Nuremberg trials 1945-46 (47-49) in which many of the Nazi leadership were charged with committing war crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity, also marked a milestone in the new global human rights regime which had developed. European modernity had established legal capacities during this time which transcended traditional sovereignty developing out of the atrocities committed by empires in the first and second world war. The world wars as well as other imperial conflicts such as the Boer War and imperial practices such as those in the Congo expressly show the complete
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