After World War II, the USA and Soviet Union were the foremost military powers. Israel was established in 1948 by partitioning Britain’s former Palestinian mandates. Britain’s empire was shrinking, especially after Indian independence in 1948; in 1950, the British were on the verge of losing Sudan, which Egypt claimed as its sovereign territory – it became independent in 1952. France was at the beginning of a decolonization movement, with uprisings in Algeria and French Indochina in 1945, and Madagascar in 1947. In 1950, President Ho Chi Minh declared North Vietnam a sovereign state, calling it ‘The Democratic Republic of Vietnam’. After fighting, the French were expelled in 1954 and North Vietnam remained divided from South Vietnam, creating conflict. Germany had already lost its overseas colonies after World War I; Italy lost Ethiopia to independence in 1949. Spain and Portugal had established authoritarian regimes, but retained several possessions in Africa.
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