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Surviving the Storm—Turkey’s Labor Movements Under a Junta

In the late 1970s, Turkey faced intense political fragmentation as its parties each struggled for a majority; due to lack of consensus in the more civil channels of politics, the country’s tensions erupted into violence. With engagements between extreme leftists and ultranationalists culminating in a bloodbath, the military orchestrated a coup and instituted martial law […]

French Colony to Sovereign State: Moroccan Independence

Moroccans celebrate November 18 as Independence Day in commemoration of their Sultan’s return from exile in 1955 and Morocco’s transition from French protectorate to autonomous nation the following year. France claimed Morocco as a protectorate in 1912. Moroccan nationalists would eventually base arguments for independence on declarations such as the Atlantic Charter, a U.S.-British statement that […]

Losing “The Congolese Bet” — The Belgian Congo’s Violent Road to Independence

Remembered as one of the most tragic victims of European imperialism, the Belgian Congo suffered decades of exploitation, violence, racism and repression. By restricting access to higher education and monopolizing political and military leadership positions, the Belgians maintained an iron hold over their resource-rich colony. Then, after a wave of African independence movements and without […]

A Precursor to the Downfall: Living Through Soviet Perestroika and Glasnost

The international community hoped great changes would come to the Soviet Union after Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in March 1985 and demonstrated his willingness to distinguish himself from the previous Soviet leaders. Gorbachev reversed the precedent of invariably praising the Soviet system when he criticized the inefficient Soviet economy in a speech delivered in […]

Unexploded Ordnance, Spam and Moonshine–Life as Ambassador to Micronesia

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), sometimes known simply as Micronesia, consists of four states — Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae – spread across the Western Pacific Ocean. They are north of Australia, south of Guam, west of the Marshall Islands and almost 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. Together, the states comprise 607 islands spread across a distance of […]

Martinis, Carpets and Sacks of Gold: A U.S. Diplomat in French Tunisia

Tunisia achieved independence from France after almost 75 years as a protectorate. Life under French rule was pleasant for some, including foreign diplomats. The number of French colonists grew, ultimately occupying one-fifth of the arable land of Tunisia, and the French directed the building of roads, ports and railroads, and the development of mines. But […]

The Last Emperor – The Fall of Haile Selassie

None could be more considered more central to the modern history of Africa’s longest independent nation, Ethiopia, than Emperor Haile Selassie.  Regent from 1916-1930, he became emperor of Ethiopia on November 2, 1930 and ruled for nearly 45 years. While Ethiopia was able to avoid colonization and remained a political leader and symbol of African independence throughout […]