The Rhodesian Unilateral Declaration of Independence was one of the last crises of formal imperialism. British settlers in present-day Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia, refused to accept demands from London that they accept requirements for majority rule before they could receive independence. In 1965, they declared independence and attempted to establish their own state that would preserve white minority rule indefinitely. For the next fifteen years, the Rhodesian government fought to win international acceptance and stabilize its own internal affairs. While the country remained a pariah state internationally, it won friends and supporters as well. Meanwhile, the ongoing resentment over the denial of economic and political rights for the country’s black majority soon spiraled into a guerilla war, one that threatened to drag in the Soviet Union.
’s The White House and White Africa: Presidential Policy Toward Rhodesia During the UDI Era, 1965-1979
(Routledge, 2018) examines the complicated relationship between the United States and Rhodesia. Michel charts the complicated course that successive presidential administrations navigated, particularly in terms of bolstering support for the white minority government or inflaming the country’s civil war into a broader regional conflict. Michel also makes clear the differences between different administration, noting for example the quiet support provided to Salisbury by the Nixon Administration. Ultimately, the White House under Carter played an important role in the negotiations that ended the civil war and white minority rule, allowing an independent Zimbabwe to come into existence in 1980.
Zeb Larson is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University with a PhD in History. His research deals with the anti-apartheid movement in the United States. To suggest a recent title or to contact him, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.