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The GuardiansThe League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire$
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Susan Pedersen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570485

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570485.001.0001

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Market Economies or Command Economies?

Market Economies or Command Economies?

(p.233) Eight Market Economies or Command Economies?
The Guardians

Susan Pedersen

Oxford University Press

The Covenant insisted that mandated territories be subject to the ‘open door’. All League states were to have equal economic rights in mandated territories; international conventions restricting the use of forced labour were also to apply. This chapter shows how Germany used the open door to reclaim its plantations and trade position in its former African colonies. It then turns to Rwanda, showing how Belgium responded to famines in the late 1920s — and to German publicity about them — by embarking on an ambitious program of road-building and agricultural development. Those programs required an expansion of forced labour, but Belgium justified such practices as inherent in Rwanda's ‘feudal’ structure of Tutsi overlordship and Hutu service. In fact, Belgian practices transformed Rwandan social relations, a process completed through the deposition of King Musinga. The Mandates Commission, anxious about the famine, did little to oppose either the reliance on forced labour or the entrenchment of ethnic hierarchies.

Keywords:   open door, forced labour, free trade, Rwanda, Belgium, famine, Germany, development, King Musinga, Tutsi

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