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Nigerian War - American Politics: The Evolution of U.S. Foreign Policy Concerning the Nigerian Civil War

Steven R. Cole


Master's Thesis, University of Maryland, College Park, May 2005

The Nigerian Civil War or the War of Biafran Secession began on May 27, 1967 and ended on January 12, 1970. The war cost an estimated 500,000 to one million lives, and had a particularly devastating effect on the civilians living in the Eastern Nigeria (Biafra). From its colonial beginnings, Nigeria seemed destined for regional conflict. After independence, two military led coups in 1966 highlighted the regional problems inherent in the Nigerian Federal governmental system. Less than a year after the second coup, the eastern region seceded from Nigeria and plunged the nation into a civil war for nearly three years. The United States, a reluctant participant in the war, deferred all responsibility in the resolution of the war to the British or the Organization of African Unity (OAU) until photographs of starving Nigerian children became a political liability for the U.S. government.

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Biafran War Database.
Editor: Azuka Nzegwu.

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