Britain After Empire: Constructing a Post-War by P. Preston

By P. Preston

Via compelling research of pop culture, excessive tradition and elite designs within the years following the top of the second one global struggle, this e-book explores how Britain and its humans have come to phrases with the lack of status stemming from the decline of the British Empire. the result's a quantity that provides new principles on what it really is to be 'British'.

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The Second World War became a victory of the people of the metropolitan core; other 26 Britain After Empire contributions were acknowledged, but as adjuncts to the efforts of the core. But Webster notes that by the late 1950s and early 1960s public discourse was beginning to shift. The angry young men of the theatre attacked what they saw as the moribund attitudes of the elite. The satire boom of the early 1960s followed along this line. 31 And so, overall, in summary form, there were a number of reworked or novel discourses: the wartime military victory came to involve less empire, fewer allies and more core British heroes as the war became the key idea, increasingly a new foundation myth; the idea of an orderly withdrawal from empire was embraced, with the Commonwealth as a species of somewhat ambiguous consolation; ideas of domestic welfare and colonial development were embraced; and the notion of the ‘English-speaking people’s’ was advanced32 whereby the elite sought to build a link with the now powerful USA.

All these linkages provoked vigorous domestic debate about questions of responsibilities, the pragmatics of continuing interests and the demands of quickly shifting circumstances. Yet by 1945 some elements were already lost (concessions in China); some elements were in the process of loss (India,39 Burma); whilst in other places the colonial power managed to hang on for a while (Malaya,40 Singapore, Brunei); and in one area the British colonial regime was sustained albeit in a very curious fashion until 1997 (Hong Kong).

37 But it was a confused message and embraced a number of different strands. First, the social aspect of retreat – this could include the obligations owed to various groups within former peripheral territories, in particular, those who were ‘kith and kin’, in other words, sometime 28 Britain After Empire colonial officials and most awkward of all, settlers, and it could include repatriation of colonial officials and local groups likely to be treated as collaborators by incoming nationalists, and it could also include sustaining odd military links such as Gurkhas.

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