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By P. Preston

Via compelling research of pop culture, excessive tradition and elite designs within the years following the tip of the second one international struggle, this ebook explores how Britain and its humans have come to phrases with the lack of status stemming from the decline of the British Empire. the result's a quantity that provides new principles on what it really is to be 'British'.

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Extra info for Britain After Empire: Constructing a Post-War Political-Cultural Project

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First, the social aspect of retreat – this could include the obligations owed to various groups within former peripheral territories, in particular, those who were ‘kith and kin’, in other words, sometime 28 Britain After Empire colonial officials and most awkward of all, settlers, and it could include repatriation of colonial officials and local groups likely to be treated as collaborators by incoming nationalists, and it could also include sustaining odd military links such as Gurkhas. Second, the nature of the political relationship with replacement elites, during the process of withdrawal and thereafter – this could include questions about the role of the Queen (head of the Commonwealth and for some former dominions, the head of state) and it could include what has by now become a commonplace, the status shift from ‘independence fighter’ to ‘statesman’38 ).

Running down to the present: Legacies and repetitions It would be a mistake to see these materials, the ideas of ‘the war’, ‘wartime’ and ‘continuing Britain’, together reworking the catastrophe of the Second World War as a new foundation myth, as in any way fixed or static. They are ways of understanding the political world and like any other set of ideas needs must be actively created and recreated in order for them to pass down the generations, moreover, as they pass down through time, they are subject to the vagaries of collective memory (active misremembering/forgetting), and to the unanticipated demands of events – things crop up, the stock of ideas is deployed and Foundation Myths: War, Wartime, Continuing Britain 37 in being so used is replenished and amended – so tradition unfolds not as mere mechanical repetition but as a living set of ideas.

The British had signed up to the Zionist ideal of a homeland for the Jews in Palestine, their religiously validated 30 Britain After Empire historical homeland, and the catastrophe that had befallen European Jewry during the Second World War provided a final impetus – moral and practical – to the establishment of a Jewish state. But, as was the case elsewhere, the process of carving out a territory from the realms of a disintegrating empire was not straightforward and the incoming Zionists fought guerrilla wars against the British, wars of ethnic cleansing against local Palestinians and outright interstate wars against their neighbours.

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