Fight or Flight: Britain, France, and the Roads from Empire by Martin Thomas

By Martin Thomas

Even though shattered by means of conflict, in 1945 Britain and France nonetheless managed the world's biggest colonial empires, with imperial territories stretched over 4 continents. they usually seemed made up our minds to maintain them: the roll-call of British and French politicians, squaddies, settlers and writers who promised in note and print at present to safeguard their colonial possessions in any respect charges is a protracted one. but, inside 20 years either empires had virtually thoroughly disappeared.

The cave in was once cataclysmic. peaceful 'transfers of power' have been eclipsed by means of episodes of territorial partition and mass violence whose sour aftermath nonetheless lingers. 1000's of hundreds of thousands throughout 4 continents have been stuck up within the greatest reconfiguration of the overseas process ever noticeable.

In the intervening time, even the main dogged imperialists, who had as soon as stiffly defended imperial rule, eventually bent to the wind of swap. by way of the early Nineteen Fifties Winston Churchill had retreated from his wartime pledge to maintain Britain's Empire intact. And normal de Gaulle, who give up the French presidency in 1946 complaining that France's new post-war democracy may by no means grasp directly to the country's imperial prizes, narrowly escaped assassination a new release later - after negotiating the humiliating French withdrawal from Algeria.

Fight or Flight is the 1st ever comparative account of this dramatic cave in, explaining the tip of the British and French colonial empires as an intertwined, even co-dependent technique. Decolonization accrued momentum, now not as an empire-specific affair, yet as a world one, within which the broader march of twentieth-century background performed an integral part: business focus and international melancholy, global battle and chilly warfare, Communism and different anti-colonial ideologies, mass consumerism and the attract of yankee pop culture. principally, as Martin Thomas exhibits, the internationalization of colonial affairs made it most unlikely to comprise colonial difficulties in the community, spelling the top for Europe's greatest colonial empires in below twenty years from the top of the second one international conflict.

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