Marco WyssFeb 7, 2022
Britain, France, and West Africa's Cold War
Oxford University Press 2021
In light of the discrepancy between Britain’s and France’s postcolonial security roles in Africa, which seemed already determined half a decade after independence, this book studies the making of the postcolonial security relationship during the transfer of power and the early years of independence (1958-1966). It focuses on West Africa, and more specifically the newly independent states of Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire, which rapidly evolved into key players in the postcolonial struggle for Africa.
Based on research conducted in fourteen archives in Africa, Europe, and the United States, Postcolonial Security: Britain, France, and West Africa's Cold War (Oxford UP, 2021) comparatively investigates the establishment of formal defence relations, the disintegration of the Anglo-Nigerian ‘special relationship’ and the Franco-Ivorian ‘neo-colonial collusion’, the provision of British and French military assistance to their former colonies and the competition they faced from West Germany and Israel respectively, and the Anglo-American partnership in Nigeria and the Franco-American rivalry in Côte d’Ivoire. It demonstrates that whereas Britain was rapidly and increasingly pushed out of and replaced in the Nigerian security sector by western competitors, France succeeded in retaining its military foothold and pre-eminence in Côte d’Ivoire. Informed by postcolonial approaches, Postcolonial Security argues that while London’s Cold War blinkers and Paris’s neo-imperial agenda were part of the equation, the postcolonial security relationship was ultimately determined by the Nigerian and Ivorian elites, which in turn responded to their local and regional circumstances against the background of the Cold War in Africa.
Marco Wyss is a Reader in International History and Security at Lancaster University, a Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, and an Associate Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.
Dong Wang is distinguished professor of history and director of the Wellington Koo Institute for Modern China in World History at Shanghai University (since 2016), a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and an elected Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.