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British Empire and International Relations Today

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  1. British Empire and International Relations Today


  3. 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”

  4. 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”

  5. British Empire 1919

  6. 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)

  7. 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.

  8. 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)

  9. The Commonwealth of Nations 2005

  10. 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.”

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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 1970 1972 1973 1975 1977 1978

  15. 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

  16. 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 1979 1984 1985 1985 1987 1989 1990

  17. 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

  18. “I want us to be where we belong. Right at the very heart of Europe.” John Major

  19. Key Dates 1992 Maastricht Treaty 1992 UK forced to leave ERM 1993 Passes Commons

  20. 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

  21. 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.

  22. 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

  23. Britain and the US • Churchill and Roosevelt: • Churchill half-American; distant cousin of Roosevelt • Links created in WW2

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. Quiz • 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?