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British Empire and International Relations Today Why is it important to start with the Empire? Influence on: PEOPLE – MIGRATION, SLAVE TRADE, SETTLEMENT LAND – AGRICULTURE, CROPS, TRADE LANGUAGE – ENGLISH IN EDUCATION; ADMINISTRATION; AS AN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE

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British Empire and International Relations Today

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why is it important to start with the empire
Why is it important to start with the Empire?

Influence on:

development of the empire
Development of the Empire
  • IRELAND – the first colony?
  • CARIBBEAN (THE WEST INDIES) – plantations, slavery
  • NORTH AMERICA – colonies soon “lost” (1783)
  • INDIA – the “Jewel in the Crown”.
  • The East India Company. Expansion in the 19th century.
  • Queen Victoria becomes “Empress of India”
development of the empire4
Development of the Empire
  • AFRICA – initially trading posts in W. Africa, later the “scramble for Africa” between European powers in the 19th century
  • “WHITE SETTLER COLONIES” – S. AFRICA; CANADA; AUSTRALIA; NEW ZEALAND – indigenous populations suffered, early independence from Britain (early 20th century)
  • The “Empire on which the sun never sets”
the end of the empire
The End of the Empire
  • Dominions – self-government for Canada, New Zealand, etc.
  • Waves of countries became independent after WW2.
  • India’s independence: 1947 (Ghandi)
the end of the empire7
The End of the Empire
  • Colonies were no longer profitable for Britain.
  • A small number remain “overseas territories” – e.g. Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands, Diego Garcia.
the commonwealth
The Commonwealth
  • Founded 1931
  • 53 member states = 1.7 bn people (30% of the world’s population)
  • Queen Elizabeth II is head of the Commonwealth
  • Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings
  • Commonwealth Games
  • Promotion of democracy, good government, human rights and economic development
  • Sanctions can be imposed. Zimbabwe suspended 2002 (Robert Mugabe)
Queen Elizabeth II: “The Commonwealth symbolises the transformation of the Crown from an emblem of dominion into a symbol of free and voluntary association. In all history this has no precedent.”
britain and europe
Britain and Europe

“We must now build a kind of United States of Europe... the first steps must be a partnership between France and Germany” Winston Churchill

britain and europe13
Britain and Europe

Key dates

1949 Council of Europe

1950 ECSC talks

1951 ECSC treaty

1954 EDC shelved

1955 talks to form EEC

1957 Treaty of Rome

britain and europe14
Britain and Europe

Britain as outsider:

Key Dates

1958 Treaty of Rome in force

1960 EFTA set up

1961 UK under Macmillan applies to join EEC

1962 CAP set up

1963 De Gaulle's veto

1967 UK applies again; vetoed again

britain and europe15
Britain and Europe

Key Dates

1970 UK's third application

1972 UK signs treaty

1973 UK joins EEC

1975 UK's referendum

1977 Roy Jenkins tops EC

1978 ERM established







1974 – Labour return to power.

EEC referendum part of manifesto.

Both Labour and Conservatives divided:

Labour – for: Harold Wilson, Roy Jenkins, Shirley Williams

- against: Tony Benn, Barbara Castle

Conservative – for: Edward Heath, Margaret Thatcher

- against: Enoch Powell

EEC referendum result:

"Yes" 17,300,000, "No" 8,400,000

britain and europe17
Britain and Europe

Key Dates

1979 European elections

1984 UK budget rebate

1985 Delors heads EC

1985 Single market by 1992

1987 Single European Act

1989 Berlin Wall falls

1990 UK joins ERM








britain and europe18
Britain and Europe

“We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them reimposed at a European level, with a European super­state exercising a new dominance from Brussels”

Margaret Thatcher's Bruges speech

  • provokes resignation of Geoffrey Howe
  • “savaged by a dead sheep”
  • sets off chain of events leading to Thatcher resignation
Key Dates

1992 Maastricht Treaty

1992 UK forced to leave ERM

1993 Passes Commons

britain and europe21
Britain and Europe

Under Blair:

1997 Amsterdam Treaty

1998 Central Bank

1999 Euro is born

2002 Euro in circulation

“Wait and see” policy on Euro

“Economic tests” must be met

britain and the us special relationship
Britain and the US – “Special Relationship”

Neither the sure prevention of war, nor the continuous rise of world organization will be gained without what I have called the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples ...a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States. Fraternal association requires not only the growing friendship and mutual understanding between our two vast but kindred systems of society, but the continuance of the intimate relationship between our military advisers, leading to common study of potential dangers, the similarity of weapons and manuals of instructions, and to the interchange of officers and cadets at technical colleges. It should carry with it the continuance of the present facilities for mutual security by the joint use of all Naval and Air Force bases in the possession of either country all over the world.

There is however an important question we must ask ourselves. Would a special relationship between the United States and the British Commonwealth be inconsistent with our over-riding loyalties to the World Organization? I reply that, on the contrary, it is probably the only means by which that organization will achieve its full stature and strength.

britain and the us special relationship23
Britain and the US – “Special Relationship”

“A one way street”?

US is the largest source of Foreign Direct investment in the UK

UK largest single investor in the US

Military ties – US bases in the UK; nuclear weapons policy

britain and the us
Britain and the US
  • Churchill and Roosevelt:
  • Churchill half-American; distant cousin of Roosevelt
  • Links created in WW2
britain and the us special relationship25
Britain and the US – “Special Relationship”

Highlights: Harold Macmillan and John F. Kennedy - JFK consulted Mac about the Cuban missile crisis

Thatcher and Reagan – Thatcher’s relationship with Reagan is widely regarded as contributing in part to the end of the Cold War

britain and us special relationship
Britain and US – “Special Relationship”
  • Blair and Bush:
  • At first cool and stiff (Blair was regarded as “Clintonesque”) but post 9/11 and during Iraq war, close ties developed
  • Blair had 54 meetings with world leaders in the run-up to the Iraq war and travelled 60 000 km
  • Beyond Blair? Gordon Brown widely regarded as an “Atlanticist”; confirmed commitment to nuclear deterrent and to special relationship
  • When was the British Empire at its largest? a) 1949 b)1919 c) 1869 d)1809
  • Which country was called the “Jewel in the Crown” of the British Empire? a) India b) Canada c) America d) South Africa
  • Which crop allowed British people to become very rich in the Caribbean colonies? a) rice b) silk c) sugar d) tea
  • Queen Victoria was the first Empress of…a) India b) East Africa c) Australia d) the West Indies
  • The “scramble for Africa” took place in which century? a) 20th b) 19th c) 18th d) 17th
  • When did India become independent? a) 1967 b) 1947 c)1907 d) 1847
  • Which of these is a British Overseas Territory? a) Canada b) New Zealand c) Gibraltar d) South Africa
  • Which of the following is no longer a member of the Commonwealth? a) South Africa b) India c) Zimbabwe d) Jamaica
  • In which year did Britain join the EEC (as it was then called)
  • Which French president vetoed Britain’s entry to the EEC twice?
  • Who is credited with coining the term “special relationship” regarding UK/US relations?
  • Which British Prime Minister did John F. Kennedy consult over the Cuban Missile Crisis?