The British End of the British Empire
Cambridge University Press 2018
New Books in British StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Military HistoryNew Books in National SecurityNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network February 18, 2019 Mark Klobas
In the aftermath of the Second World War, Great Britain was forced to give up the bulk of its vast, globe-spanning empire. While most histories of this process have examined it from the perspective of high politics and focused on matters of state construction, in The British End of the British Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2018) Sarah Stockwell addresses the role played by a number of non-state and quasi-state bodies – the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the Bank of England, the Royal Mint, and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst – in the process of decolonization. As Stockwell notes, these institutions played a growing role in the British Empire in the interwar era, one that started to change soon after the war as Britain accepted the reality of her postwar situation and began preparing the colonies in places such as Africa for independence. As British educational institutions trained a post-imperial generation of soldiers and administrators, the Bank of England aided in the creation of new central banks, and the Royal Mint produced coinage that symbolized the independence of these colonies, they did so in ways that maintained a continuing British influence in these places, even after formal control came to an end.