Origins of the Non-Aligned Movement

  • Created by: Aiymaaaaa
  • Created on: 09-10-16 06:29


→ Pragmatism was increasingly evident in their actions 

  • Non-Aligned countires recognised that, despite individual weaknesses, they also had power over the superpowers : which courted them in an attempt to remain on the favourable side of the balance of power 
  • Paradoxically: USA and SU became beholden to non-aligned countires, rather than the reverse
    • Rather than accept the passive nature inherent in neutrality, the NA countries were active and vocal → often expressing their opinions in the UN General Assembly, but rarely condemning actions of the superpowers for fear of losing potential support 
1 of 10


→ Primary leader of the movement 

  • 1945: became the leader of Egypt 
    • Pursuing a strongly anti-colonial policy : he sought to remove western influence not just in Egypt but from all of the Middle East and North Africa 
    • Was seen as the father of Arab nationalism  secular transnational idea in which all Arab countries would be united in some degree due to a common language and heritage 
  • Pan-Arabism: put Nasser in conflict with France 
    • Due to the desire to eject the British from the Suez Canal and their traditional position of privilege in Egypt 
    • USA: due to his willingness to accept Soviet assistance, his refusal to recognise the state of Israel and his support of Palestinian gov 
2 of 10


  • To fund social initiatives Árbenz took unused lands and planned to compensate the owners of the land : using the declared tax value of the land as basis for payment 
    • Just when the Guatemalan gov refused to reverse the decision or pay exorbitant compensation → was discovered that Czech gov was sending an arms shipment to Guatemala → most likely for devensive purposes 
      • USA used this, and the communists int the gov, to justify its assistance in a coup : and installed a pro-USA leader 
        • This situation was completely unstable except for UFCO → which regained the land it temp lost and saw the repeal of pro-labour legislation implemented to assist struggling agricultural workers

→ USA wasn't always the friend to democratic states 

3 of 10


At this meeting, participants discussed the goals of a policy of nonalignment, which were adopted as criteria for membership. These were as follows:

  • The country should have adopted an independent policy based on the coexistence of States with different political and social systems and on non-alignment or should be showing a trend in favor of such a policy
  • The country concerned should be consistently supporting the Movements for national independence
    • The country should not be a member of a multilateral military alliance concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts;
    • If a country has a bilateral military agreement with a Great Power, or is a member of a regional defense pact, the agreement or pact should not be one deliberately concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts;
    • If it has conceded military bases to a Foreign Power the concession should not have been made in the context of Great Power conflicts.
4 of 10


→ Concurrent with the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement was the Soviet decison to court the developing world 

  • While the Soviets lacked the liquidity of the USA, they possessed arms and were willing to broker arms agreements with the developing world → either directly or through their satellite states (Gutemala)
    • In much of the developing world: new leaders of Marxists or leaders who sought to impose social welfare through authoritatianism → many of them rose through the ranks of their military before assuming power 
  • Non-Alignment was then, unsuprisingly, characterised by both idealism and pragmatism 
    • Idealism: was easily viewed by the Bandung Conference and subsequent Belgrade Conference (1961)
5 of 10


→ Those 2 examples of USA aggression highlighted the importance of having allies 

  • Newly emergeing states had similar goals and vulnerabilities : and with those commonalities in mind 
    • April 1955: Bandung Conference → convened with 29 countires joining forces to create a new bloc distinct from East and West
      • RESULT: creation of the Non-Aligned Movement → group of mostly Asian and African nations that were committed to resisting colonialism in all forms and to promoting cooperation 
        • Movement was critical of UN voting patterns and used its power to influence decisions in the General Assembly : although it had little weight in the much more influential Security Council 
6 of 10


  • 1951: Iran nationalised oil and demaded that the British troops protecting oil wells withdraw
    • Britain was still recovering from WW2 and was in no position to take action 
  • Iran was historically in both British and Soviet spheres of influence 
    • USA feared that the withdrawal of the troops could result in Soviet expansion into the area → threatening petroleum interests there and in the Middle East more generally 
    • USA encouraged opposition to the Iranian PM and indirectly assisted in his overthrow (not a surprise) 
7 of 10


  • 1954: USA helped overthrow the democratically elected Jacobo Árbenz 
    • His gov included communist party members : but more disturbing to the Americans was his nationalisation of untilled lands → many of which were the property of the United Fruit Company (UFCO) 
      • UFCO owned not just land, but the railway systems, utilities and even the homes where many of the workers lived (conditions were disgraceful) → following the colonial pattern of vertical integration 
8 of 10


  • Soviets appeared to have gained power since the resolution of the Berlin Blockade in May 1946
  • Chinese were seen as subservient to Moscow : therefore in its sphere → along with the loyal and dependent North Korea 
  • USA: each communist victory would be perceived as the diminishment of its potential sphere of influence - and the world was seen as far from static 
9 of 10


  • New countires were emerging as decolonization gained momentum : USA saw itself as the default protector of the new states 
    • USA perspective: that it had championed decolonization as early as the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 → and was the natural leader of new states, as a former colony itself 
    • New states perspective: there were advantages to this protection → most were financial 
  • Japan and South Korea were somewhat disposed to placing themselves into the USA spere → fearing that they might replace direct colonial intervention with USA economic imperialism 
    • This fear was particularly highlighted by USA actions in Iran and later in Gutemala 
10 of 10


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Civil War resources »