Conceiving the Tanganyika-Zanzibar Union in the Midst of the Cold War: Internal and International Factors


  • Ethan R. Sanders


To what extent was international pressure placed on Nyerere and Karume to unify their two states in April 1964? The argument made is that even though Americans were initially very pleased with the outcome of the Union €”because they thought it would help stem the spread of communism in the region €”this was not a Western-initiated plan forced upon East African leaders. Indeed, the evidence shows that Americans were largely in the dark and in fact very frustrated by their lack of influence on the situation. Instead, the Union merely served as a confluence of African and American interests. The internal factors are inspected by highlighting African concerns over outside interference, worries about domestic stability, and a desire by Karume to consolidate his power. Finally, the traditional conceptualization of the TanganyikaZanzibar Union as being either a product of the Cold War or an example of Pan-African idealism will be re-examined.


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