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The Hulbert Taft, Jr. Library

Revolutions: Post World War II Decolonization and Independence: Primary Sources

What are Primary Sources?

Primary Sources

Any document, image, or artifact created at the time of the topic being researched is a primary source. Examples include eyewitness accounts, autobiographies and memoirs, diaries, letters, speeches, reports, newspapers, household and day-to-day objects, clothing, works of art, architecture, and photographs.

Please note that primary source documents are a reflection of the time and culture in which they were created and may contain language or images that are considered offensive today.

Primary Source Databases

NOTE: when searching for primary sources in historical newspaper / periodical databases, ALWAYS limit your search to the date range relevant to your topic. You may also want to limit to editorial / opinion articles.

History databases containing primary source content

Find Primary Sources on the Internet

 Internet History Sourcebooks Project (a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use; compiled by historian Paul Halsall)

Teaching Decolonization Resource Collection (provides a range of materials to support the study of decolonization in the classroom. This diverse collection of resources is, in part, an outgrowth of the National History Center's decade-long International Decolonization Seminar. Primary and secondary sources are organized by region and theme...)

Using Google or your preferred search engine, combine your topic search term(s) with the phrase documents OR "primary sources".

For example:  Kenya decolonization documents OR "primary sources" 

Google Web Search 

AFRICA: Primary Source Books on Reserve

Africa - General

  • Africa and the West: A Documentary History from the Slave Trade to Independence / William H. Worger, Nancy L. Clark and Edward A. Alpers   DT353.5 .E9 A34 2001  
  • Colonial Sequence 1949 to 1969: A Chronological Commentary Upon British Colonial Policy in Africa / Margery Perham   DT32 .P43 
  • The modern Middle East and North Africa: a history in documents / Julia Clancy-Smith and Charles D. Smith. DS37.7 .C53 2014
  • Through African Eyes  / Leon E. Clark   DT1 .T48 1988 v.1 
  • Voices of decolonization : a brief history with documents / Todd Shepard 


  • Voices of decolonization : a brief history with documents / Todd Shepard 


  • Decolonization: The British, French, Dutch and Belgian Empires 1919-1963 / Henri Grimal   D445 .G7313 1978 
  • The modern Middle East and North Africa: a history in documents / Julia Clancy-Smith and Charles D. Smith. DS37.7 .C53 2014
  • Voices of decolonization : a brief history with documents / Todd Shepard 


  • I Speak of Freedom: A statement of African Ideology / Kwame Nkrumah DT512 .N55 1961  
  • Politics in Ghana, 1946-1960 / Dennis Austin   DT511 .A84 


  • The challenge of nationhood; a collection of speeches and writings / Mboya, Tom. DT434.E262 M35 1970  
  • Voices of decolonization : a brief history with documents / Todd Shepard


  • A short history of Mozambique / Malyn Newitt. 
  • The battle for Mozambique: the Frelimo-Renamo struggle, 1977-1992 / Stephen A. Emerson. 

ASIA: Primary Source Books on Reserve

Asia - General

  • Voices of Decolonization: A Brief History with Documents / Todd Shepard   JV151 .S44 2014 (2 copies) 


  • Gandhi and His Critics / B. R. Nanda   DS481 .G3 N3393 1985  
  • Independence and after; a collection of speeches, 1946-1949 / Jawaharlal Nehru   DS481.N35 A342 1950   
  • Indira Gandhi, Letters to an American Friend 1950-1984 / Indira Gandhi   DS481.G23 A4 1985  
  • Jinnah, Creator Of Pakistan / Hector Bolitho   DS481 .J5 B6 1955  
  • Jinnah : India, Partition, Independence / Jaswant Singh   DS385 .J5 S56 2010 
  • Sources of Indian Tradition  v.2 / ed. Stephen Hay DS423 .S64 1988 v.2  


  • Decolonization: The British, French, Dutch and Belgian Empires 1919-1963 / Henri Grimal   D445 .G7313 1978  


  • Conflict in Indo-China and International Repercussions: A Documentary History, 1945-1955 / ed. Allan B. Cole    DS550 .C6  
  • Voices of decolonization : a brief history with documents / Todd Shepard 

NoodleTools Tips for Citing Primary Sources

To cite a Primary Source, first choose the option that best describes where you found it: 

  • Database = a document found in a Taft Subscription Database such as Modern World History Online or The Times (London) 1785-2014
  • Website = a document on a website found through a search engine such as Google.
  • Print or In Hand = a document found in a book in the library. For example: in a reference book or a secondary source.

Next determine what kind of primary source you are citing: 

  • Look at the list of options in NoodleTools. Is it a newspaper article, a speech, a letter, or another item listed? If so, choose it. 
  • If you're not sure, you can use "Anthology / Collection" which enables you to cite a source found within another source.