It is true that Amritsar was followed by more violence but in the long run it came to represent the road not chosen. Facing its consequences, both parties - rulers and ruled - seemed to shy away, looking for other ways. Credit for this should no doubt be given to both sides - to Gandhi and his campaigns of 'civil disobedience' and to the growing understanding among the British administrators that changes would have to come. With the termination of World War Two the problem became one of 'how' and 'when' rather than 'if'. The solution was a po- litical settlement, reached through negotiations, and to the extent that armed force had a role it was not to resist a transfer of power but rather to make a spe- cific kind of transfer possible.
Similar cases may be identified. Decolonization in British and French Af- rica south of the Sahara has taken place with a minimum of violence. But in Kenya the British fought the Mau-Mau movement for four years in the 50's. By 1956, the Mau-Mau had been militarily defeated but the British commander, General Erskine, openly declared that the conflict as such could never be solved by arms but necessitated a political settlement. This pattern - with the colonial power militarily victorious and the armed strength of the rebels or liberation movements destroyed as a prelude to a negotiated settlement resulting in politi- cal independence for the former colony - appears repeatedly.
In Malaya the British also succeeded in virtually annihilating the commu- nist guerillas through a systematic and massive campaign, deploying 40,000 regulars and 80,000 auxiliaries against perhaps 6,000 guerillas, but like Erskine in Korea Generals Templar and Briggs realized that lasting peace and stability could only come through a political settlement. The war thus became not a fight over the colonial possession as such but over what type of settlement, what type of power succession, was acceptable to the colonial power. What had now also become painfully obvious was the spectacular costs of colonial warfare. In Kenya each Mau-Mau killed had cost the British crown about 9,000 pounds. In Malaya the rate had risen to more than 30,000. 7
It is interesting to observe that a situation not dissimilar to that in Kenya and Malaya had actually been reached in Algeria by 1960 - after six years of fighting and the deployment of almost the whole French army. After a series of campaigns against the bases of the FLN, General Challe had succeeded in break- ing the military power of the rebellion. General de Gaulle - in power since 1958 - chose to exploit the favorable military situation to achieve a political solution, and negotiations began. The French field commanders in Algeria, however, re- fused to accept the situation (or de Gaulle's appreciation of the situation) and in 1961 a revolt led by General Salan for a short while threatened both de Gaulle and the state of France before the coup collapsed because of lack of political support. Algeria became independent in 1962 - but the French had not been de- feated on the battlefield. 8