Third-Worldism is a political concept and ideology that emerged in the late 1940s or early 1950s during the Cold War and tried to generate unity among the nations that did not want to take sides between the United States and the Soviet Union. The concept is related but not identical to the political theory of Maoism-Third Worldism.
The political thinkers and leaders of Third-Worldism argued that the North-South divisions and conflicts were of primary political importance compared to the East-West opposition of the Cold War period. In the Three-World Model, the countries of the First World were the ones allied to the United States. These nations had, and still have, less political risk, better functioning democracy and economic stability, as well as higher standard of living. The Second World designation referred to the former industrial socialist states under the influence of the Soviet Union. The Third World hence defined countries that remained non-aligned with either NATO, or the Communist Bloc. The Third World was normally seen to include many countries with colonial pasts in Africa, Latin America, Oceania and Asia. It was also sometimes taken as synonymous with countries in the Non-Aligned Movement, connected to the world economic division as "periphery" countries in the world system that is dominated by the "core" countries.
Third-Wordism was connected to new political movements following the Decolonization and new forms of regionalism that emerged in the erstwhile colonies of Asia, Africa, and the Middle-East, as well as in the older nation-states of Latin America : pan-arabism, pan-africanism, pan-americanism and pan-asianism.
The first period of the Third-World movement, that of the "first Bandung Era", was led by the Egyptian, Indonesian and Indian heads of states : Nasser, Sukarno and Nehru. They were followed in the 1960s and 1970s by a second generation of Third-Worldist governments that emphasized on a more radical and revolutionary socialist vision, personified by the figure of Che Guevara. Finally at the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, Third Worldism began to enter into a period of decline.
Several leaders have been associated with the Third-Worldism movement.
- Gamal Abdel Nasser
- Jawaharlal Nehru
- Ho Chi Minh
- Kwame Nkrumah
- Josip Broz Tito
- Houari Boumediene
- Julius Nyerere
- Salvador Allende
- Robert Mugabe
- Che Guevara
- Patrice Lumumba
- Michael Manley
- Muammar Gaddafi
- Amilcar Cabral
- Thomas Sankara
- Tomlinson, B.R. (2003). "What was the Third World", Journal of Contemporary History, 38(2): 307–321.
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