Great Power Complex

Great Power Complex : British Imperialism, International Crises and National Decline, 1914-51

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In the period from the start of World War I until after the end of World War II, Britain declined dramatically as an imperial power. In 1914, Britain controlled more of the globe than any other nation. Its currency constituted the world's mark of value and its naval forces straddled the world. Yet by 1951 Britain had become a second class power, granting her colonies independence and turning to the USA for the finance needed to survive. In this text, the author argues that the political class in Britain fought hard to maintain and expand the Empire in a period of world crisis and relative national decline. Britain emerged from both world wars bankrupt, in a severely weakened position, but resumed her world role without attempting to calculate the economic costs and benefits of the Empire. The assumption was always made that the Empire was essential to Britain's wellbeing, and was in the national interest. The author asserts that these ideas were so entrenched in the thinking of Britain's ruling elites that they were unable to make competent judgements at critical points, from Versailles (1918) to Indian Independence (1951).
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Product details

  • Hardback | 140 pages
  • 136 x 212 x 16mm | 299.38g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 4 maps, index
  • 0745311849
  • 9780745311845

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Table of contents

Imperialist war 1914-18; the return to normalcy 1918-29; the world crisis 1929-39; war, national bankruptcy and imperial development 1939-45; social imperialism revisited 1945-51. Appendices; glossary of names, terms and events; British territorial acquisitions since 1763; chronology.
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