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Kwame Nkrumah and the Dawn of the Cold War - The West African National Secretariat 1945-48 - cover

Kwame Nkrumah and the Dawn of the Cold War - The West African National Secretariat 1945-48

Marika Sherwood

Publisher: Pluto Press

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Summary

The West African National Secretariat (WANS) has almost been forgotten by history. A pan-Africanist movement founded in 1945 by Kwame Nkrumah and colleagues in London and France, WANS campaigned for independence and unity. Nkrumah returned to the Gold Coast in late 1947. The colonial government accused him of being a communist and fomenting the riots of early 1948. He was jailed. This led to the beginning of the Cold War in West Africa.

Drawing on archival research including the newly released MI5 files, Marika Sherwood reports on the work of WANS, on the plans for a unity conference in October 1948 in Lagos, and on Nkrumah's return home. Sherwood demonstrates that colonial powers colluded with each other and the US in order to control the burgeoning struggles for independence. By labelling African nationalists as 'communists' in their efforts to contain decolonisation, the Western powers introduced the Cold War to the continent.

Providing a rich exploration of a neglected history, this book sheds light for the first time on a crucial historical moment in the history of West Africa and the developmental trajectory of West African independence.

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