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You are here Undergraduate > Single Honors History > HI4342 Crisis and Decolonisation: the British Empire and the World, 1939-97

HI4342 Crisis and Decolonisation: the British Empire and the World, 1939-97


Module Organiser: Dr Kate O'Malley
Duration: All year
Contact hours: 2 hours per fortnight
Weighting: 10 ECTS
Assessment: 100% coursework

In the mid-twentieth century colonialism was still a fact of life for many millions of African and Asian people. The process of decolonization, which started after the First World War, increased in speed after the Second World War and in the wake of India achieving its independence in 1947. Decolonization shaped the modern world and its legacies are a permanent fixture in contemporary international affairs.

This module will look at the rapid collapse of the British Empire. During our studies we will look at all parts of the British Empire; the ‘White Dominions’, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean. The main question we will have at the forefront of their minds throughout the year is: how did such a substantial empire decline so rapidly?

The many historiographical arguments about the causes of decolonization will be explored. In so doing, the course will cover major aspects of twentieth century world history including: the growth of anti-colonial nationalism, the Cold War, and the growth of US influence in the post-war world. By delving into aspects of British decolonization the module will, although in less detail, cover: post-war British politics, the shift in focus away from the Commonwealth and towards Europe, as well as some aspects of the impact that decolonization had on British society.