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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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The Dissolution of the British Empire  

The Dissolution of the British Empire  

(p.329) 14 The Dissolution of the British Empire 
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century


Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a discussion on the dissolution of the British Empire. In particular, it deals with the critical cases of India, Palestine, Burma, Ceylon, Egypt, the Sudan, Malaya, the West Indies, and tropical Africa. Above all, it explains how the initial phase of disengagement, presided over by Clement Attlee, eventually found its culmination in the era of liquidation dominated by Harold Macmillan. There were three main periods. The first was that of the Labour government, 1945–51; the second that of the Tory governments of Sir Winston Churchill and Sir Anthony Eden, 1951–7; and the third that of Macmillan from 1957. The immediate causes of the end of the British Empire are to be found not only in the nationalist movements in Empire itself but also in the lessons learned from the Algerian revolution and in the danger of Soviet intervention in the Congo. It is shown that the international climate expedited the advance to independence, but the circumstances varied from region to region, from colony to colony.

Keywords:   British Empire, India, Palestine, Burma, Ceylon, Egypt, Sudan, Malaya, West Indies, tropical Africa

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