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The Us And The Destruction Of The British Empire


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#1 Murph

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 1414 PM

FDR was adamantly opposed to the British Empire, but not as opposed to the US Empire, and as a result, while supporting the British Empire in WWII, he sowed the seeds of its dissolution.  I, personally, see this as a cause of much of the worlds ills right now.  I think that FDR as well as the presidents which did things like the Washington Naval Treaty, the London treaty helped accelerate the slide into irrelevance of the UK.  WWI did not help, and Woodrow Wilson did not do the British Empire any favors as well.  

 

What says the forum?


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#2 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 1423 PM

Probably better to say that WW2 broke the British Empire, but with the rise of nationalist movements I think all Euro empires were on the way out anyway.
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#3 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 1425 PM

Also a bit hard to say that the US actually had an empire. We had the Philippines but that was in the way out as well.
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#4 Murph

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 1435 PM

Also a bit hard to say that the US actually had an empire. We had the Philippines but that was in the way out as well.

Plus the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii, IIRC?   


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#5 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 1438 PM

None of which have had super strong independence movements, with the arguable exception of Puerto Rico.
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#6 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 1441 PM

Deep Thought, I kind of wonder if you could make the case for Japan in WW2 actually succeeding in a weird way with breaking up the various European empires in Asia.
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#7 sunday

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 1532 PM

They decided slavery was not good, piracy went out of fashion, and the opium trade too. No more Indian market monopoly. They lost the heroin/cocaine train, also.

 

Jokes apart, the loss of the cream of the Edwardian generation in the Western Front trenches was a serious blow. Then there was the anti-Imperialist movement, with more than a bit of Soviet support.


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#8 Rich

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 1858 PM

FDR was adamantly opposed to British imperial rule in India and to various African and Asian colonial bits that made up the "Empire" part of the Empire. He had no problem with British leadership of the Commonwealth.

 

No, the US did not have an empire, but we did have a commonwealth and island territories...which we still have. The Philippines was a special case and was on the way to independence (well, an independence intended to be dominated by American political and economic interests, but...)


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#9 JasonJ

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 2023 PM

Independence for the Philippines was "when they were ready". With Japan totally defeated and becoming the new home for US forces in the Asia-Pacific, the Philippines was no longer needed, thus the romantic way of putting it.. "the philippines was granted its freedom as 'promised' " was easy to do. Of course economic growth and democracy in the Philippines wasn't really developed so soon afterwards so they were about as ready as was when it was year 1900.

Edited by JasonJ, 13 July 2019 - 2023 PM.

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#10 JasonJ

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 2031 PM

Deep Thought, I kind of wonder if you could make the case for Japan in WW2 actually succeeding in a weird way with breaking up the various European empires in Asia.


They did. Some Japanese even remained in Vietanm and Indonesia after WW2 and fought on the side of independece forces. The US was vocally against the dutch going back in Indonesia after the war and criticized them for trying but they backd the French going back into Vietnam because of communism. Without a communists threat, they probably would have been agaisnt the French going in too.

In all honestly, brought down to simple terms, the ideal situation for a nation-state is to be the only big country and surrounded by little ones. So the break uo of empires was beneficial for the US and the US sought after that. Old European empires could keep little islands here or there, they don't tip the balance of power. The US was already very big by 1900 si could use thag size as leverage and apply "free determination" arguments to break up other empires.
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#11 Colin

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 2049 PM

Japanese soldiers also fought with the Malaysian CT's as well till about the 70's when they were murdered by their "comrades"


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#12 shep854

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 2131 PM

How much did repayment of war debt to the US influence the British contraction post-war?
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#13 Nobu

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 2255 PM

The British Empire rose and fell by the choices it made. It lived by the sword of racial superiority, and died by it.
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#14 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 0219 AM

How much did repayment of war debt to the US influence the British contraction post-war?

 

It didnt help. We didnt actually pay off the last of the war debts till the 1990's I gather.

 

I dont think it drove contraction. I do think it my have concentrated minds on what they could pay for. The most serious effect was that it neutered Britain's ability to disagree with America, not least on Suez. Harold Wilson was censured by the Labour party for not criticizing  President Johnson over Vietnam. As he said 'You dont kick your Creditors in the pants'. The mindset still holds sway, even though the debt is long paid off.

 

Id have to check, but I think some of the currency devaluation by President Nixon may also have played a role. That occurred in 1971, and Its notable the British economy flat-lined around that point.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 14 July 2019 - 0220 AM.

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#15 Rick

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 0609 AM

Probably better to say that WW2 broke the British Empire, but with the rise of nationalist movements I think all Euro empires were on the way out anyway.

Succinctly accurate.


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#16 DougRichards

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 0714 AM

It should be remembered that the USA, at the table with the Treaty of Versailles and later, assisted in the break up of the empires of central Europe, and the Ottoman Empire, but left in place the far eastern empires of France and the Netherlands.  That didn't sit well with the Indochinese, who expected, in the same way that Yugoslavia was formed out of a motley collection of sub states, that a united Vietnam would be formed.  Then again the USA provided support, at least in word, to Ho Chi Min in the fight against the Japanese, only to find betrayal when the USA consented to the French resuming control in Indochina from late 1945.

 

It is apparent that a fear of communism was more important than anti-colonialism in the far east.

 

Indonesia, and the way that it was allowed to simply subsume West Papua / Irian jaya and East Timor is another aspect worth considering.


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#17 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 1149 AM

They decided slavery was not good, piracy went out of fashion, and the opium trade too. No more Indian market monopoly. They lost the heroin/cocaine train, also.

 

Jokes apart, the loss of the cream of the Edwardian generation in the Western Front trenches was a serious blow. Then there was the anti-Imperialist movement, with more than a bit of Soviet support.

 

Britain in WW1 (and heck, WW2) is what I always bring up whenever anybody starts spouting "war makes our manfolk stronger, rargh!" bullshit. Modern industrialized war kills the best people first. 


Edited by Brian Kennedy, 14 July 2019 - 1149 AM.

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#18 Murph

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 1223 PM

The blood letting of the WWI trenches killed off a generation of Edwardian gentlemen who might have saved the Empire.  The British Empire should have let the French and Germans battle it out, and stayed out of it.  


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#19 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 1227 PM

The blood letting of the WWI trenches killed off a generation of Edwardian gentlemen who might have saved the Empire.  The British Empire should have let the French and Germans battle it out, and stayed out of it.  

 

You could argue that the RAF bomber slaughter in WW2 killed off a lot of the UK's best and brightest as well. But there are a lot of humans out there. Germany and Japan's best people probably died in WW2 as well, and they're doing fine. 


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#20 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 1232 PM

The blood letting of the WWI trenches killed off a generation of Edwardian gentlemen who might have saved the Empire.  The British Empire should have let the French and Germans battle it out, and stayed out of it.

Wouldn't work. We would end up with the German HSF in Belgium, ready to pounce from the other side of th English channel. That was no more acceptable in 1914, than it was in 1940.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 14 July 2019 - 1233 PM.

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