In accordance with the 1885 Berlin Conference, a territory coinciding roughly with modern Tanzania was declared a German protectorate, while Zanzibar and Pemba became British protectorates. As a result of World War I, German East Africa, named Tanganyika in 1920, was placed under a League of Nations mandate, with Great Britain as the administering power. In 1922 the Tanganyika Civil Service Association (TCSA) was founded, and in 1929 the Tanganyika African Association (TAA) was created. In 1954, these groups merged into the singular Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), under the leadership of Julius Nyerere.
Since 1954, when TANU was allowed to function as a political organization, Nyerere's leadership turned it into the main political force in the country. From 1955 on, it also gained the support of the Tanganyika Federation of Labor (TFL), established by Rashidi Kawawa. Worried that TANU would agitate for independence, the British attempted to counterbalance the growing power of the organization by backing the Tanganyika United Party (TUP). Nevertheless, in the 1959–1960 general elections, TANU emerged as the winning political party, and Nyerere became chief minister and then prime minister when Tanganyika became independent in 1961. Kawawa became prime minister in 1962, and Nyerere went on to become president of the new republic.
Neighboring Zanzibar, after becoming a sultanate in 1963, witnessed the triumph of the Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) under Abeid Karume, an ally of TANU, over the minority coalition that had been formed by the Zanzibar Nationalist Party (ZNP) and the Zanzibar and Pemba People's Party (ZPPP). In 1964, Tanganyika and Zanzibar formed a union, with the new political entity named Tanzania. Karume became vice president under Nyerere.
Tanzania adopted a new constitution in 1965. Nyerere remained president of the now one-party state and held power until 1985. Over two decades, he oriented the country toward socialism, with the aim of self-reliance. He tried to achieve this through the exploitation of native agriculture, concentrating the means of production in the hands of workers; state control of industry, inculcating the spirit of Ujamaa (brotherhood) that opposed human exploitation; and the redistribution of income. He also eschewed foreign aid, arguing that it brought with it binding, long-term commitments. His socialist policies took written form in the 1967 Arusha Declaration.
In 1972, Kawawa was reappointed prime minister, and Karume was assassinated. Karume's successor, Aboud Jumbe, extended the powers of the ASP, and in 1979 the Supreme Revolutionary Council of Zanzibar adopted a separate constitution. In February 1977, TANU and ASP merged to form the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM, Revolutionary Party) with Nyerere as chairman.
Deteriorating economic conditions saw half the members of the National Assembly lose their seats in the 1980 elections. In 1984, the presidential term was reduced to two years, giving more power to the National Assembly. The next year, Nyerere was forced to retire amid a serious economic crisis.
Nyerere staged something of a comeback, however, and was reelected chairman of the CCM for a five-year term in October 1987. In 1990, Nyerere's CCM initiated a broad campaign against government corruption. The issue of democracy, which had been raised several times since he left office, was raised once more in December 1991, when a presidential commission recommended the establishment of a pluralistic political system. Finally, in 1995, multiparty legislative elections were held, and a democratically elected parliament came into being.
McHenry, Dean E., Jr. Limited Choices: The Political Struggle for Socialism in Tanzania. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1994.; Rugumanu, Severine M. Lethal Aid: The Illusion of Socialism and Self-Reliance in Tanzania. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1996.