Building a Peaceful Nation

Building a Peaceful Nation

Julius Nyerere and the Establishment of Sovereignty in Tanzania, 1960-1964

Paul Bjerk


University of Rochester Press



A compelling account of the establishment of Tanzania's stable and ambitious government in the face of external threats and internal turmoil.
In the early 1960s, nationalist politicians established in Tanzania a stable government in the face of external threats and internal turmoil. Paul Bjerk's volume chronicles this history and examines the politics and policies of the nation's first president, Julius Nyerere. One of the great leaders of modern Africa, Nyerere unified the diverse people who became citizens of the new nation and negotiated the tumultuous politics of the Cold War. In an era when many postcolonial countries succumbed to corrupt dictatorship or civil war, Nyerere sought principled government. Making difficult choices between democratic and autocratic rule, Nyerere creatively managed the destabilizing forces of decolonization.

With extensive archival research and interviews with scores of participants in this history, Bjerk reorients our understanding of the formative years of Tanzanian independence. This study provides a new paradigm for understanding the history of the postcolonial nations that became independent in a global postwar order defined by sovereignty.

Paul Bjerk is assistant professor of history at Texas Tech University.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781782045595), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.


February 2015
390 pages
9x6 in
Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora
ISBN: 9781580465052
Format: Hardback
University of Rochester Press
BISAC POL045000, HIS001020, POL053000
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Table of Contents

The Education of Julius Nyerere
Contemplating the Postcolony
Independence and the Fear of Division
The Invention of Ujamaa
The Origins of Villagization
The 1964 Army Mutiny
The National Youth Service
A Realist Foreign Policy
The Cold War and the Union Treaty
Contending with International Intrigue


Bjerk's chapters on ujamaa ideology and villagization will be essential reading for historians of Tanzania. . . . Bjerk has clarified the stakes in debate about Nyerere and the ujamaa period. His study will leave historians well poised for the challenge of fully incorporating into their stories critics as well as proponents of ujamaa. JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORY

Bjerk offers detailed insight into the critical first years of Tanganyika as a sovereign nation and the personalities and events that gave rise to the United Republic of Tanzania. . . . a welcome addition to the burgeoning historiography of Nyerere and Tanzania in recent years. CANADIAN JOURNAL OF AFRICAN STUDIES

A fascinating read for anyone interested in understanding either the formation of Tanzania or the man who I would argue is modern Africa's most exceptional, idealistic, intelligent and, as this book shows, at times quite coolly ruthless, leader: Julius Nyerere. Jane Plastow, LUCAS BULLETIN

Bjerk's work will provide an invaluable resource for those engaged in the academic study of the immediate post-independence period in both Tanzania (Tanganyika) and Africa more broadly. TANZANIAN AFFAIRS

This very detailed book importantly links political events in Tanzania with what was happening regionally, continentally, and globally. Bjerk provides insight into one of Africa's most important political figures and the domestic and international political events of the time. Recommended. CHOICE

At a time when Afro-pessimism is so much in vogue it is good to have a book like this. Here the stress is on the competence of African leadership, on government's creativity in the face of international actors, and on the close link between the people and their leaders. There is much here to celebrate and admire. INT'L JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORICAL STUDIES

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