British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990

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This is the second half of a hugely ambitious and eagerly awaited attempt to provide a comprehensive new interpretation of the forces behind British imperial expansion. The first part, dealing with the early growth of the empire, is British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion 1688-1914. Both volumes are independent and self-sufficient, but they come fully into their own when read as one. A milestone in the study of Britain, the British Empire and imperialism, they will also be necessary reading for students of comparative history, modern economic development and international relations. In the first volume, the authors traced the role of 'Gentlemanly Capitalism'- the dynamic complex of economic, social and political influences centred on the City of London in fuelling the expansion of the British Empire before 1914. Here, they follow the fortunes of this matured system of political economy in the twentieth century, years dominated by two world wars, a world slump and decolonisation. They challenge the standard view of the period as one long retreat from empire, in which the accelerating process of decolonisation after 1945 was the inevitable outcome of economic decline between the wars. Instead, they argue that the gentlemanly order proved remarkably resilient. Despite the immense problems of wartime debt and the collapse of international trade in the 1930s, Britain retained its economic dominance not only over the dependent empire in Africa and India, but also over the Dominions. Moreover, a number of attempts were made to reassert Britain's earlier financial and commercial authority in what had been almost a second, informal, empire in parts of South America and China. The system even survived World War II, though Britain was now dependent on the United States. The sterling area played an important part in Britain's postwar recovery, and the empire was rallied to the cause of reconstruction. When the empire did begin to fall apart, it was not simply because
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780582209657
  • Publisher: Longman Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/28/1993
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 337
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Maps
Note on Sources
1 The Imperialist Dynamic: From World War I to Decolonisation 3
2 'The Power of Constant Renewal': Services, Finance and the Gentlemanly Elite, 1914-39 11
3 Industry, the City and the Decline of the International Economy, 1914-39 31
4 Upholding Gentlemanly Values: The American Challenge, 1914-31 49
5 'A Latter-Day Expression of Financial Imperialism': The Origins of the Sterling Area, 1931-9 76
6 Maintaining Financial Discipline: The Dominions, 1914-39 109
7 'A New Era of Colonial Ambitions': South America, 1914-39 146
8 'Financial Stability and Good Government': India, 1914-47 171
9 'Playing the Game' in Tropical Africa, 1914-40 201
10 'The Only Great Undeveloped Market in the World': China, 1911-49 235
11 The City, the Sterling Area and Decolonisation 265
12 Conclusion 297
Maps 317
Index 326
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