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By John Darwin

Because the maximum imperial energy earlier than 1939 Britain performed a number one position within the nice post-war shift within the courting among the West and the 3rd international which we name 'decolonisation'. yet why did decolonisation take place and what have been its results? used to be nationalism in colonial societies or indifference in Britain the foremost consider the dissolution of the British Empire? was once the decay of British energy and impact an inevitable outcome of imperial decline? Did British regulations within the final section of empire mirror an attractiveness of decline or the desire that it can be postponed indefinitely via well timed concessions? This ebook goals to respond to those questions in a common account of Britain's post-war retreat from empire.

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Yet both were regarded as of key importance to Britain's security interests as a great power in Asia and the Pacific, Egypt especially. The Suez Canal and the Persian Gulf were the gateways to the Indian Ocean. Hence Cairo was required to maintain a special relationship with Britain, to accept London's 'advice' in the conduct offoreign policy, and to make military bases available for British use. British influence was upheld through a treaty, but in practice by the presence of a British garrison and naval supremacy in the eastern Mediterranean.

Nationalism in Europe had been a dynamic, if not lethal, force in the continent's modern history. As a political doctrine it seemed capable of mobilising enormous enthusiasm and the support of all classes. Moreover, the course of events in most colonies did appear to vindicate its significance: the end of colonial rule generally seemed to follow upon the rise of a mass movement demanding independence and threatening insurrection or civil disobedience ifit were not granted in rapid stages. Nothing seemed more natural in retrospect than that the new educated elites in the colonies should have come to resent alien rule; that their resentment should have come to be shared by the mass of the population; and that with mass support behind them the nationalist leadership should have been able to dictate the timing of colonial withdrawal.

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. An India that was hostile or under the influence of a foreign power was simply inconceivable. Hence in London's eyes India's significance bulked larger than any other part of the imperial system and the defence of India was a vital strategic priority.

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