Britain and Decolonisation: The Retreat from Empire in the by John Darwin

By John Darwin

Because the maximum imperial strength prior to 1939 Britain performed a number one function within the nice post-war shift within the courting among the West and the 3rd international which we name 'decolonisation'. yet why did decolonisation occur and what have been its results? was once nationalism in colonial societies or indifference in Britain the foremost consider the dissolution of the British Empire? used to be the decay of British energy and effect an inevitable end result of imperial decline? Did British regulations within the final part of empire mirror an reputation of decline or the desire that it can be postponed indefinitely through well timed concessions? This e-book goals to respond to those questions in a basic account of Britain's post-war retreat from empire.

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In this way, a 'vicious circle' of imperial decline was set in motion, so that despite various strategies to sustain the main elements of the imperial system, it was progressively unravelled. The same kind of sequence, with local modifications, may be seen at work in the other European colonial powers: indeed the colonial DECOLONISA TION 25 empires ultimately depended on each other's support, and vicarious legitimation. But of course this can only be the most general hypothesis with which to approach the enormous variety of colonial situations or seek to explain the widely differing outcome of decolonisation in different societies.

But Britain's geographical position alone ensured that British governments could not remain aloof from European events since British security was bound up with the continental power balance. 25 Elsewhere in the world strategic and political interests had sucked British power into regions that lay outside the formal empire. By the 1930s both Egypt and Iraq were independent states and neither had ever been technically part of the empire. Yet both were regarded as of key importance to Britain's security interests as a great power in Asia and the Pacific, Egypt especially.

28 BRITAIN AND DECOLONISATION The dominions enjoyed a special and intimate relationship with Britain and had to be treated as equals. But the Indian Empire was Britain's most important single colony. It was a valuable though declining market, an enormous bank of cheap manpower (extensively used in the First World War), the provider of a regular army available in emergency for British use, and, in geopolitical terms, a great zone ofstability from which British influence could be exerted in East Asia and the Middle East.

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