Imperial Endgame: Britain's Dirty Wars and the End of Empire

Paperback | May 15, 2011

byBenjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon

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The story of the British Empire in the twentieth century is one of decline, disarray, and despondency. Or so we have been told. In this fresh and controversial account of Britain's end of empire, Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon rejects this consensus, showing instead that in the years 1945-1960 the British government developed a successful imperial strategy based on devolving power to indigenous peoples within the Commonwealth. This strategy was calculated to allow decolonization to occur on British terms rather than those of the indigenous populations, and thus to keep these soon-to-be former colonies within the British and Western spheres of influence during the Cold War. To achieve this new form of informal liberal imperialism, however, the government had to rely upon the use of illiberal dirty wars. Spanning the globe from Palestine to Malaya, Kenya to Cyprus, these dirty wars represented Britain's true imperial endgame.

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The story of the British Empire in the twentieth century is one of decline, disarray, and despondency. Or so we have been told. In this fresh and controversial account of Britain's end of empire, Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon rejects this consensus, showing instead that in the years 1945-1960 the British government developed a successful im...

BENJAMIN GROB-FITZGIBBON is Assistant Professor of History, Cleveland C. Burton Professor of International Programs, and Associate Director of the International Relations Program at the University of Arkansas, USA. Born in the north of England in 1979, he received his doctorate from Duke University in 2006. His first book, The Irish E...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:392 pages, 7.83 × 5.03 × 1.12 inPublished:May 15, 2011Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:023024873X

ISBN - 13:9780230248731

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Maps
Prologue
PART I: THE ATTLEE YEARS, JULY 27, 1945 - OCTOBER 26, 1951
A Promised Land, but to Whom?
The American Intervention
The Terror Begins Again
The End of Compromise
Into the Abyss
The Endgame in Palestine
Trouble Comes to Malaya
The Appointment of Sir Harold Briggs
The Special Air Service, the Briggs Plan, and Progress in Malaya
The End of the Attlee Years
PART II: THE CHURCHILL YEARS, OCTOBER 26, 1951 - APRIL 6, 1955
A New Government, a New Approach
The Carrot and the Stick
The Challenge of Mau Mau
The General's Stamp in Malaya
'The Horned Shadow of the Devil Himself'
Dirty Wars, Dirty Deeds
A Fresh Start in Kenya?
The End of the Churchill Years
PART III: THE EDEN YEARS, APRIL 7, 1955 - JANUARY 10, 1957
Problems in Paradise
Templer's Return
The Dirty Wars become Dirtier
Suez
The Endgame for Anthony Eden
Epilogue: The Imperial Endgame after Eden
Notes
Bibliography
Index



Editorial Reviews

"Grob-Fitzgibbon challenges the popular view that Britain shed its empire politely, like a tea party at the vicarage in an Agatha Christie mystery. He makes it clear that the reality was very different. Withdrawal from empire was difficult, dangerous and dirty and the politicians, diplomats, soldiers and policemen who brought empire to an end did so in a way not brought out as powerfully and persuasively before. For anyone worried about how things might end in Iraq or Afghanistan, Grob-Fitzgibbon's excellent, dispassionate, forensic analysis will make uncomfortable but illuminating reading." - Colonel Alex Alderson, MBE, Director of the United Kingdom Counterinsurgency Centre "Imperial Endgame is a controversial and important book. Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon has no time for conventional pieties. Junking the tired story of disarray and humiliation, he shows how Britain ruthlessly disposed of the Empire on its own unsentimental terms. This strategy often involved dirty tactics and dirty wars but the objective was clear: to keep newly-independent states within Britain's sphere of influence. It's a bold re-telling of the decolonisation story, pulled off with great style and panache."- Richard Aldous, author of The Lion and the Unicorn, and Eugene Meyer Professor of British History and Literature at Bard College "The end of the British Empire was characterized not only by relatively smooth transitions to independence but also by the winning of independence by violent means of insurgency. Imperial Endgame is an excellent history of the British counter-insurgency campaigns marking the end of colonial rule, above all in Palestine, Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus, and Aden." - Wm. Roger Louis, University of Texas at Austin