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date: 24 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines British external policy against the background of the expansion of the British empire up to the end of the First World War and its long and uneven demise thereafter. In exploring the political dimensions of this process of expansion and contraction the chapter aims to explore the complexities of the scholarships and chronologies involved. It evaluates how historians have approached key challenges and critical turning points, including the debates surrounding ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ empire, the impact of two world wars, the Suez crisis of 1956 and the decision to withdraw from positions ‘East of Suez’ in 1971.

Keywords: politics, political history, Britain, empire, imperial policy, foreign policy

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