"Zimbabwe achieved independence through a combination of negotiation and armed force". Discuss, for the period of 1965 to 1980. (70)

Essay by Kaz_RSAHigh School, 12th grade March 2003

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In 1953 settlers in Rhodesia began to want complete independence from Britain as well as Dominion status. They used both negotiations and armed force in order to gain their independence.

The Central African Federation was created in 1953 as it was believe that it would increase economic prosperity and maintain white supremacy. The Southern Rhodesian whites eroded black right and were unwilling to negotiate. In 1960 the British government saw the force of growing Black Nationalism in Africa and recognised the right of secession in Rhodesia. Malawi and Zambia were now formed as separate countries; this was as a result of the Rhodesian Government's refusal to negotiate and Britain's having exercised its strong hold on Rhodesia.

Ian Smith, the Prime Minister of Rhodesia, demanded independence on the same grounds as Malawi and Zambia in 1964. Despite having promised Rhodesia their independence should the Federation dissolve, Britain would not grant a 'white' Rhodesia independence.

The government imposed totalitarian measures and used armed forces to imprison African opposition and censored the press. Had Britain been willing to negotiate, armed force would not have been used.

Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence was announced on November 11th, 1965. This was a direct act of rebellion against Britain. Independent African nations requested British intervention as sanctions were ineffective due to Rhodesia's trade with South Africa.

Following talks between Smith and Wilson (1966) aboard the HMS Tiger, reasonable concessions from Britain were rejected by Rhodesia. Isolated attacks on white farmers were dealt with but this was proof that the armed struggle had begun and negotiations were no longer the only vehicle to independence. In 1968, once again, no compromise could be reached during talks between Smith and Wilson aboard the HMS Fearless. Again Rhodesia proclaimed the Republic of Rhodesia and broke all links with Britain in...