From beginning to end, the “mobilizing ideology” plays an essential part. This fundamental aspect cannot be overstated. Whatever the nature of the ideology, it has to be so highly motivating for the combatants and those who support them that they will consent, in its name, to risking their life and to losing it.
At the end of World War II, the Soviet troops were in Berlin and occupied all of central Europe and part of the Balkans. Europe, exhausted, went from being a major player to become an issue, while the European colonial empires were at the end of their rope. In Asia the colonizers had simply lost their prestige. Had they not been defeated by the Japanese in 1942-1945, in Indochina, in Indonesia, in Malaysia (the fall of Singapore in 1942 had been a traumatic experience for Great Britain) and all the way to Burma? It was during the war, in a chaotic context, that liberation movements, whatever their nature, were able to organize.
All respect for the colonizers had been lost among the colonized. In Asia, the former were thenceforth seen as illegitimate. They had been contested in the inter-war period by elites encouraged by the Bolshevik Revolution, especially in Asia, but the masses had not responded. In 1948, the Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed in San Francisco. This was a turning point. Should it be recalled that the United States was opposed to European colonialism? In the wake of World War I, the League of Nations had granted the right to self-determination only to Europe. In the wake of the elimination of Nazism based on racial superiority, could the latter still be used against the colonized peoples? In the wake of World War I, the Japanese delegation had asked the League of Nations to include an article condemning racism. This had been opposed by the United States. Black people in the United States, now renamed African Americans, would not be granted civil rights for another forty years.