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Assess the reasons why Britain reduced its Empire between 1939 and 1964.

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Assess the reasons why Britain reduced its Empire between 1939 and 1964 In 1945 the Second World War ended, the next thirty years were to see rapid disintegration of the European empires and the creation of many new independent states. In this essay I will attempt to explain for what reasons Great Britain decolonised, and the effects this decolonisation had for those countries decolonised. As a result of victory after WWI several former German territories in Africa and Asia were added to the British Empire. The British Empire was among the largest Empires the world had ever seen. It consisted of various territories conquered or colonised by Britain from about 1600. The British Empire was at its largest at the end of WWI, consisting of over 25% of the world's population and area; including countries such as India, Malaya, Kenya, Ghana, Cyprus, Greece, New Zealand. World War I brought the British Empire to the peak of its expansion, but in the years that followed came its decline. Britain had growing economic problems and couldn't afford to continue governing its enormous Empire. There were threats of Civil War in countries such as India; the threat of the spread of Communism from China into Malaya and the increasing problem of racism and prejudice in Britain's African colonies. ...read more.


In the latter half of the 19th century Malaya's economy assumed many of the major aspects of its present character. The output of tin, which had been mined for centuries, increased greatly with the utilisation of modern methods. Rubber trees were introduced (Indian labourers were imported to work the rubber plantations), and Malaya became a leading rubber producer. In 1948 its net dollar earnings amounted to �170 million and it provided over half the USA's imports of rubber and nearly all imports of tin. In the difficult days after WWII Malaya's exports were vitally important in keeping the Sterling Area solvent. The Sterling Area was formed in 1939 to maintain the pound sterling as an international currency. It included the whole of the British Empire and Commonwealth, with few exceptions. This meant that Malaya had to buy goods from within the Sterling Area, meaning their money was tied up in the Empire. Malaya's economic character, as well as its geographic position, gave it great strategic importance. The British built their fortifications accordingly at Singapore. The Malayans, anxious to regain their independence, had first to face an unexpected challenge from Communist Guerrillas, mainly Chinese, who were anxious to acquire control of the many raw materials in Malaya. ...read more.


There were now two main African parties, the K.A.N.U which drew its strength from the Kikuyu and Luo tribes and favoured a centralised system of government, and the K.A.D.U, supported by the Masai and a number of smaller tribes who wanted a more federal system of government. K.A.N.U, led by Kenyatta, won the 1963 election, the last before Kenya got independence on the 12th of December 1963. Economically Britain could not possibly to afford to maintain an Empire. It could not afford to defend its countries from outside attacking forces, let alone from enemies within. The threats of civil war, in terms of India, was a very dangerous one, it would have been impossible for Britain to control the entire population of India with its army. Britain without a doubt relied heavily on the trade links within its Empire, it couldn't afford to lose these links but it could not afford to keep them at the way things were going. By creating the Common-Wealth it made it possible for Britain to hand over Independence to countries, making them happy, as well as keeping them within a trading circle. Most of the countries in the Empire wanted Independence, Britain wanted the trade to remain, it was the best solution. Visit ...read more.

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