The Crises of Empire

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This examination of the forces that precipitated the twentieth century collapse of all Europe's late colonial empires includes the fate of the British, French, Dutch, Belgian and Portuguese colonial empires. Investigated individually and comparatively, it addresses an important historic topic and synthesizes conventional thought on imperialism and comparative decolonization. It also offers new perspectives in contemporary European history, international politics and the legacies of colonialism across the developing world.

Ranging from the wave of European imperial expansion in the aftermath of World War I to the collapse of the last settler colonies in Africa during the 1960s and 1970s, the authors assess decolonization as a long-term process. They examine the impact of significant changes in the world in the twentieth century and shifting popular attitudes towards colonialism both within European imperial nation states and within the colonies. As the economics of empire shifted with a change in global markets, colonial urbanization and the growth of colonial organized labor, so to did the politics of empire.

Also explored is the significant role of Africans and Asians as agents of colonial change, highlighting the parts played by anti-colonial movements, popular protest, and armed insurgency as catalysts of Europe's imperial collapse.

The authors balance recent theories of post-colonial history and global history with traditional fields of diplomatic and economic history for a wide-ranging, comprehensive view of a complex area of study.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780340731277
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 5/18/2008
  • Series: A Hodder Arnold Publication
  • Pages: 472
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Thomas is Professor in Colonial History, University of Exeter.

Bob Moore is Professor of Twentieth-Century European History at the University of Sheffield. He recently held a fellowship in the Department of War Studies at King's College, London.

L.J. Butler is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary British History, University of East Anglia.

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Table of Contents

List of maps     vii
List of abbreviations     viii
Preface     xiii
Introduction: Constructions of decolonization     1
British Decolonization   L.J. Butler
The British Empire, 1918-1945: Interwar change and wartime pressures     17
The first wave of British decolonization: Commonwealth territories, south Asia and the Gold Coast, 1945-1951     47
British decolonization, insurgency and strategic reverse: The Middle East, Africa and Malaya, 1951-1957     73
Winds of change: The final waves of British decolonization in Africa and Asia after 1957     97
French Decolonization   Martin Thomas
The roots of French decolonization: Ideas, economics and reform, 1900-1946     127
Decolonizing the French African federations after 1945     152
People's war and the collapse of French Indochina, 1945-1954     182
From French North Africa to Maghreb independence: Decolonization in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, 1945-1956     209
Algeria's violent struggle for independence     228
Territories apart: Madagascar, the Togo trusteeship and French island territories     252
Dutch Decolonization   Bob Moore
An 'ethical imperialism'? The Dutch colonial empire before 1945     273
Indonesia: The politics of delusion, 1940-1947     290
Indonesia: The realities of diplomacy     318
Unfinished business: New Guinea as a last outpost of empire     345
Decolonization by default: Dutch disengagement in Suriname     364
Contrasting Patterns of Decolonization   Martin Thomas
Contrasting patterns of decolonization: Belgian and Portuguese Africa     385
Conclusion: Changing attitudes to the end of empire     411
Select bibliography     429
Index     441
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