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Sense of the end of the Empire?

Setbacks in 1919 and 1921 showed how weak Britain had become
New, young and industrial powers of US, Russia and Germany were catching up (Russia delayed by WW1 and Germany delayed by WW1 and WW2)
The slow decline and Global financial difficulties masked the issue and meant that no steps were taken to prevent the decline - it became irreversible
Staple industries were stagnant - textiles and steel
Britians overseas investments never recovered after selling them off during WW1


Decline of British trade?

In the 1930s Britain goes into deficit for the first time
World trade:
1860 - 25%
1913 - 17%
1938 - 14%
In 1930 Britain was 1,000,000,000 down on the 1913 figure
Gold standard in 1925 devalues the pound


Changing perceptions of the Empire?

By 1939, agreement with Corelli Barnett that the Empire was a 'colossal burden'
Outbreak of disturbances in Empire 1919-21 raised questions over the cost of Imperial defence
- 1920 £568 million - 1925 £114.7 million
Non rearmament policy for 10 years and focus on airforce


Role of Leo Amery?

Colonial Secretary 1924-29
Wanted to boost the colonial markets to be mutually beneficial
Railways in East Africa, Roads in Nigeria, Harbours in Kenya, Gold Coast and Haifa in Palestine
Tried to rejuvenate the textile market with the Empire Cotton Growing Corporation (1921)
Could not secure Parliamentary funds to complete
Wanted public to buy Empire products - Empire Marketing Board (1926)



Empire Marketing Board - 1926
Encouraged public to buy Empire
Wanted to dispel ignorance of Empire - H.G Wells estimates that 19/20 people had no understanding of the Empire
1931 'Buy British' campaign
Dissolved in 1933 following Imperial Preference
Became more prominent in 1930s after depression as international trade slumped and Britain wanted public to buy from Empire


Alternative view?

Porter's "The Absent-Minded Imperialists" (2004) counters that newspapers and journals mentioned more non-Empire countries than Empire countries - Europe centric in 1950s and 1960s
The very need for an Empire Marketing Board to market Empire is a sign that most people did not care for Empire


Celebrations of Empire?

1911 Festival of Empire - colonial produce arranged in scale models of the Dominion's Houses of Parliaments.
Wembley Empire Exhibition 1924-25 - 27 million visitors - Government paid half of the £2.2 million cost, 0.3 square-mile area purchased - sports stadium became legacy - created an 'Empire in miniature' - Edward Elgar organised choirs to sing 'Land of Hope and Glory' and 'Pageant of Empire'
1938 Glasgow Empire Exhibition - 12 million - boosted the Scottish economy during depression


Empire Films?

'One Family' - EMB - first film - success
John Grierson headed the Film Unit - produced 100 films
Basil Wright's award winning lyrical documentary, The Song of Ceylon - Sinhalese and Buddhist culture alongside British colonialism - Universal suffrage in 1931 - by the time of the films release there were 7 elected Ceylonese to 3 European ministers
Sanders of the River - 1935



Established 1923
Director John Reith was a pro-imperialist
Christmas broadcast from 1932 which included King's speech and an Empire service


Empire Posters?

EMB produced billboards and smaller posters - could be bought for 1s 6d.
By 1933 had 27,000 schools on its distribution
For its 1931, 'Buy British' campaign it printed 4 million posters
High ways of Empire was the first poster created by EMB - May 1926 - massive billboards 1927


Empire in education?

Prominent in geography, history and english literature -Rudyard Kipling
Special professorships in the study of the Empire
- Vere Harmsworth Chair Cambridge 1919 - trained colonial servants
London University's School of Oriental and African Studies, founded 1917


Empire organisations?

Royal Empire Society
British Empire League
Co-operative Wholesale Society - celebrated their global and imperial links
1929 - Colonial Development - small Colonial Development Fund
1940 - CDA succeeded by the Colonial Development and Welfare Act - included development of social services