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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century$
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Judith Brown and Wm Roger Louis

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205647

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205647.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century


Oxford University Press

The 20th-century British Empire cannot be understood without taking into account its Victorian origins. Thus, the volume begins with a chapter on the Empire before 1914, but the thematic design emphasizes the period from the outbreak of the First World War to the principal era of decolonization in the 1960s. In line with this, it highlights the contemporary view that the British Empire rested on sea power, that India was far and away its single most important component, and that the ‘Colonial Empire’ still included the Dominions as well as the colonies. This introductory chapter draws out of the regional chapters the dominating themes of nationalism and the granting of independence by the British. There are seven organizing themes that can be determined in the first half of the volume that help in understanding its overall design and purpose.

Keywords:   British Empire, 20th-century, First World War, decolonization, sea power, Colonial Empire, Dominions, nationalism, independence

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