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The Commonwealth

Voluntary association that almost all former colonies became members of.
Commonwealth Office created in 1966 and after 2 years had its role transferred to the Foreign Office


Colonial policy view in the 1950s

The Empire and Commonwealth would be crucial for Britain's trade and to restore its 'Great Power' status
Colonial Administrators began policies to increase colonial production through rapid industrialisation and agricultural improvements (Green Revolution)
New 'economic colonialism'
This sometimes meant giving less power to traditional leaders
Even still they had to create timetables for self-rule


Ralf Furse

Director of the Colonial Services - professionalised the service
In 1948 only 66,000 of the 250,000 employees were from Britain


'Managed decolonisation'

The Western Education the local leaders in the colonies had received and their positions on legislative assemblies in the Gold Coast, Nigeria, the CAF, Kenya and Malaya etc. meant that the countries were on the gradual road to becoming independent as the Dominions had by 1931


The 'Wind of Change'

Consistent with the 'managed decolonisation' speech
By Harold Macmillan in 1960 - made clear that African colonies would be decolonised
Warning to South Africa concerning Apartheid


Britain's interests in the Suez area 1947

Worried about Communism spreading from Soviet Russia
Had 10,000 troops in the Suez Canal Zone (part of Anglo-Egyptian Treaty 1936)
Control over Aden and Cyprus
Air-bases in Iraq
Financed and gave officers to the Jordanian Army
Britain tried to persuade the Arab League to resist communism but they refused to listen due to Britain's control over the Sudan


Nasser's takeover of Egypt

In 1951 King Farouk of Egypt independently renounced the 1936 treaty and proclaimed himself King of the Sudan
He was overthrown in 1952 by Colonel Nasser
Anthony Eden sought to negotiate
1953 an agreement was made on steps towards Sudanese independence
In 1954, Britain agreed to a phased withdrawal of troops from the Suez Canal Zone in a 20 month period
Concessions showed Britain's attempts at better relations and its financial weakness
In return Egypt promised:
Free access through the Suez Canal
The Maintenance of operational British bases
The respect of the Suez Canal Company


Growing tensions with Nasser

Britain engineered the 1955 Baghdad Pact between Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, Britain and Persia to repel any Soviet threat to the Middle East
Nasser refused to sign
Britain tried to bring Jordan into the Pact and Nasser pressured the young King to remain out
Nasser felt that Egypts dominance was threatened and so turned to communist Czechoslovakia for arms and signed an alliance with Syria which worried Anthony Eden who was Prime Minister from April 1955
June 1956, Nasser made himself President of Egypt and wanted to strengthen Egypt - main idea was to build the Aswan High Dam
Received financial aid from the West and from the USSR
In July 1956, the USA and later Britain revoked their funding due to Nassers association with communism
On the 26th July 1956, Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal Company - Britain held 14% of the shares in the company
Britain, France and Israel who were all outraged by this and Nasser's actions joined to plan a joint assault
Diplomacy continued through the UN but by October Eden saw the removal of Nasser was the only way forward


Suez Invasion

Plan hatched through the 'Protocol of Sèvres'
Israel attacked on 29th October
France and Britain would demand an end to the conflict under the Tri-Partite Pact Agreement 1950 - the next day and would prepare for a joint invasion on the Canal Zone on the 31st October with air-strikes
The Israelis forced the Egyptians back
The British and French arrived to 'police'
Egyptian air-force was knocked out
Landed at the North end of the Canal
The Egyptians put up solid resistance and blocked the canal with sunken ships
America immediately condemned the invasion and refused to support the subsequent sterling crisis
The British announced a cease-fire within five days
Troops withdrawn within weeks
Eden resigned


Consequences of Suez Crisis?

- Never again would Britain act in international affairs without US backing or consultation - Britain would never revive imperialism or regain its independent world power status
- Sign to independence movements that Britain could be beaten into submission
- Brought an acceptance to decolonisation
- Britain could not 'manage' decolonisation
- Fall of Cabinet
- Oil shortage
- Near collapse of its banking system


Britain's position in the Middle-East 1957-67

Iraq left the Baghdad Pact in 1959, after the monarchy was overthrown in 1958
Cyprus was given independence in 1959 after continued violence between Turkish and Greek communities
Britain evacuated their Aden base in 1967 after nationalist resistance encouraged by the Egyptians forced them out


USA's first policy towards British Imperialism

Due to desires to contain Communism and win the Cold War the USA was prepared to allow Britain to continue its imperialism in the Post-War world and financed it through low-interest loans - more so when fighting Communism


Truman Doctrine

March 1947 - Declared aid to those fighting against communism
Sent $400 million to Greece and Turkey to do this
Helped Britain withdraw from the area where the monarchists were fighting the communists


Change in American policy

With the hardening of the Cold War the USA could no longer allow imperialism as nationalism led to the development of communism
Wanted strong independent states which had access to free trade and were dependent on US loans


'Special relationship'

Britain claimed to be equal to the USA after the Second World War but was limited due to its economic and military dependence


Economic dependence

Recieved $3.3 billion from the Marshall Plan of 1948
US economic pressure that forced Britain and France out of the Suez invasion in 1956
Without US backing Britain could not fight nationalism


Military dependence

Relied on NATO for 'nuclear umbrella'
Korean War of 1950-53 was under US command through the UN - US dominant
1958 - Anglo-American Mutual Defence Agreement provided American assistance for the development of a British nuclear arsenal
1963 the Polaris Sales Agreement was signed so that Britain would have access to SLBMs to use in Royal Navy Submarines


Loss of 'World Power' status

Korean War of 1950-53 was under US command through the UN - US dominant
White Dominions now looked to US for defence and security rather than Britain - SEATO 1954
Britain's reliance on Empire kept it out of EEC from 1957 and once it shifted its priorities to Europe it was kept out by De Gaulle


Evolution of the Commonwealth

Began as an 'executive club' for White Dominions
1931 Statute of Westminster - constitutional equality to Britain as part of the 'British Commonwealth of Nations' - real power still in London
Originally the Commonwealth Nations accepted the sovereignty of the British Monarch (Led to Ireland becoming a republic in 1949)
India and Pakistan joined in 1947
Nehru declared India a Republic
Commonwealth rules changed in 1949 - allowed Republics and made the monarch a 'symbol of the free association of its independent member nations' and 'Head of the Commonwealth'
Gave Britain some international influence and 'friendly' ally nations


Significance of American Pressure prior to the Suez Crisis?

Pressured Britain to withdraw its 90,000 troops from the area June 1956
Made no military attempt to force Nasser to allow concessions
Concerned about igniting a war with the Soviet Union
During the August UN Security Council meeting it did not defend Britain and claimed that the Constantinople Convention of 1888 (agreement by which UK and France held Suez Canal) did not stand due to it not being ratified by an international body
December 16th 1955 - refused loan through World Bank to Egypt for Aswan Dam - Nasser nationalised the canal in response to make money to fund Dam


Importance of Suez Canal?

Amounted to supply of two thirds of Western Europe's oil
A third of ships were British
3/4 belonged to NATO countries (element that suggests that US should of backed them - although American vessels only accounted for 2.2% net tonnage in 1955 - American selfishness)


Suez Crisis economic impact on Britain

At the time of nationalisation, Britain only had about a six-week supply of oil left
Oil shortage became severe - both in UK and Europe
Pound Sterling collapsed
Eisenhower put pressure on Europe by refusing economic aid or oil shipments until forces had withdrawn - backed Britain into a corner
Egyptians destroyed 8 ships, sabotaged the oil pipeline to Iraq and destroyed three major pumping stations - increased oil supply issue


Bettering relations in Commonwealth due to Suez Crisis?

Australia and New Zealand proved this as their Prime Ministers, Menzies and Holland, supported Britains invasion of the Suez Canal and Holland suggested sending troops.
Menzies led a delegation on September 3rd to Egypt with terms in 1956 but failed.


British decisions that angered the US and world?

Eden failed to discuss plans with Eisenhower - massed British and French troops in Cyprus and Israeli forces on the Jordanian border
Eisenhower saw this as British deception - found using U2 spy planes - only learned full truth on Israeli invasion on October 29th
British deceit on the cover story of the invasion angered the International World
November 5th USSR declares that it would use nuclear weapons on Britain and France
CIA Allen Dulles informed Eisenhower that Nasser had Soviet backing - fears of international nuclear conflict