During the Cold War, there was a contest for influence in Africa, between the US and Western powers on the one hand, and the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc countries on the other.Most of newly independent ex-colonies in Africa received military and economic support from one of the Superpowers.US President Eisenhower's government said Lumumba was a "very difficult if not impossible person to deal with, and was dangerous to the peace and safety of the world." Within weeks of independence, the Katanga Province, which was rich in copper, led by Moise Tshombe, broke away from the new republic. It said the troops were to protect Belgian nationals.
He thought that Africa was "stagnant, primitive and dark", and that his rule would bring "progress, civilisation and light." Belgium's brutal exploitation of the Congo is infamous.
Leopold accumulated a vast personal fortune from ivory and rubber using Congolese forced labour.
Despite its racist policies, the South African government was supported by many governments in the West, particularly Britain and the USA.
This was because the South African government was anti-communist.
In 1891, the price of rubber began to increase following the invention of the inflatable rubber tyre, which increased his profits even further.
He was known locally as 'Bula Matadi' (He Who Breaks Rocks) to indicate the brutality of his regime.Elections were held, and Patrice Lumumba became Prime Minister. During the Cold War, there was a contest for influence in Africa, between the US and Western powers on the one hand, and the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc countries on the other.The Cold War spread outside Europe to every region of the world.During Leopold's rule the population of the Congo declined from an estimated 20-30 million to less than nine million.In 1907, administration of the colony shifted from the king to the Belgian Government, which renamed the country the Belgian Congo.The British and American governments used political rhetoric and economic sanctions against apartheid, but continued to supply the South African regime with military expertise and hardware.The collapse of the USSR in 1989 meant that the National Party could no longer use communism as a justification for their oppression.He states that the collapse of the Soviet Union was decisive in persuading him to take this step: "The collapse of the Soviet Union helped to remove our long-standing concern regarding the influence of the South African Communist Party within the ANC Alliance.By 1990 classic socialism had been thoroughly discredited throughout the world and was no longer a serious option, even for revolutionary parties like the ANC. You can read about the crisis of Apartheid in the 1980s in section 5 of the grade 12 material.The collapse of communism in the Soviet Union was another major cause of the end of apartheid. The apartheid state used the label 'communist' to justify its repressive actions against anyone who disagreed with their policies.