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The Us And The Destruction Of The British Empire


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I put my money on "a socialist thing". Rationing in Germany ended in March 1950. Four years sooner than in the UK and our country was a lot worse for the wear than theirs. We too had voices that predicted all sorts of economic chaos rationing ended but our decision makers didn't listen to them.

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What always shocks me was that rationing in the UK lasted till the 1950's, and I have never been able to get a good grasp on why it was so bad that rationing had to go on that long? Was it a Socialist thing, or was the country just that wrecked?

My understanding was that rather than spending dollars on food imports they used them to pay back some of the US loans.

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What always shocks me was that rationing in the UK lasted till the 1950's, and I have never been able to get a good grasp on why it was so bad that rationing had to go on that long? Was it a Socialist thing, or was the country just that wrecked?

 

Partly socialism executing some economic policies, but you have to remember how much Britain was bombed. The railways were messed up (we only really got them sorted out 10 years after the war), we had lost valuable hulls, the docks were damaged, particularly in London, and we had lost large amounts of warehousing. Add on top of that we were broke, we were likely having a job buying food stuffs in bulk and storing them. The winter of 1947/48 may only have compliated matters. As you can see, we had a fuel shortage, so it may be that coal we were expecting to export for foreign currency, was having to be burnt at home.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_of_1946%E2%80%9347_in_the_United_Kingdom

 

'The winter had severe effects on British industries, causing the loss of around 10% of the year's industrial production, 10 to 20% of cereal and potato crops, and a quarter of sheep stocks.'

 

Basically, we were shagged. I dont think if Churchill had got voted back in 1945, it would have been much better.

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The British Empire rose and fell by the choices it made. It lived by the sword of racial superiority, and died by it.

Which is pretty much what happened to Japan in WW2.

The first naval treaty broke that alliance. That alliance would have been a stopper to both of them end up being pitted against each other.

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I dont think Portugal lost the last of its empire in the early 70's IIRC.

 

Empire post WW2 was doomed, because it demonstrated the European nations were vulnerable. Particularly so in the case of the Central European powers. Although its understandable they avoided confronting this, needing income to rebuild after the war.

 

The question in my mind has always been this, if the US State Department saw these parts of European Empire's falling into the hands of nationalists, communists and ultimately, Jihadists, then would it not have made more sense to have helped prop some of these colonial powers up till they had put in place more stable regimes that could go the distance.

Where it worked, such as Malaysia and Borneo, the benefits are obvious. When we were forced out before we achieved those ends, such as Rhodesia, Aden, Sierra Leone, the negatives are also obvious.

 

No, politically it was a non starter. But ive always been bemused at the American's going to Indo China a decade after the French lost, when propping the French up (albeit temporarily) the decade before might have avoided the whole mess entirely.

 

I guess we are into the realms of what Graham Greene was trying to say in 'The Quiet American'.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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I dont think Portugal lost the last of its empire in the early 70's IIRC.

 

Empire post WW2 was doomed, because it demonstrated the European nations were vulnerable. Particularly so in the case of the Central European powers. Although its understandable they avoided confronting this, needing income to rebuild after the war.

 

The question in my mind has always been this, if the US State Department saw these parts of European Empire's falling into the hands of nationalists, communists and ultimately, Jihadists, then would it not have made more sense to have helped prop some of these colonial powers up till they had put in place more stable regimes that could go the distance.

Where it worked, such as Malaysia and Borneo, the benefits are obvious. When we were forced out before we achieved those ends, such as Rhodesia, Aden, Sierra Leone, the negatives are also obvious.

 

No, politically it was a non starter. But ive always been bemused at the American's going to Indo China a decade after the French lost, when propping the French up (albeit temporarily) the decade before might have avoided the whole mess entirely.

 

I guess we are into the realms of what Graham Greene was trying to say in 'The Quiet American'.

 

Indeed, the last colonies of Portugal were Angola and Mozambique, both of which Achieved independence after the Carnation revolution and promptly were taken over by Communist-aligned regimes.

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The Americans failed to understand that when these colonial regimes fell over, they were inherently vulnerable to communist infiltration (and latterly, jihadists). Yes, we can take much of the blame for that. But was it such a stretch of the imagination for the US State Department not to see that the leaders of nationalist movements wouldn't turn out like George Washington, and be more like Lenin? Or Osama Bin Laden for that matter, latterly.

 

Clearly it was. They didnt learn the lesson after Indo China, they didnt learn the lesson after Cuba, they didnt learn it after Egypt, and they still haven't learned the lesson now in Libya and Iraq. They even made exactly the same mistake in their own colonial creation, Panama!

 

Its perhaps most ironic that the most stable Colonial Regime of them all was the one held onto the longest of all. Hong Kong. The irony is, its now more stable towards the former colonial regime than their apparently legitimate masters. Oh, the irony....

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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Stuart, was it you the one who wrote here about the Japanese behavior in China has no parallel in nothing the British had done ever?

Seems there is a gaping hole in your knowledge.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Bengal_famine_of_1770

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_major_famines_in_India_during_British_rule

 

There are the sundry Irish atrocities to consider, also.

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You should know I have Irish ancestry, so I shall resist having the war crimes of the perfidious English hung round my neck. :)

 

Its worth remembering about the irish atrocities, that there were in fact atrocities where Protestants were murdered by Catholics. A small amount Ill grant you, but it clearly played a vastly important role in creating the English Civil War, which of course resulted in a far worse bloodletting of Ireland's Catholic population. Which It should be noted, I do not defend.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Rebellion_of_1641

 

By the by, this was in the relatively bloody and ill informed 1600's. It was not uncommon for whole towns to be slaughtered for not surrendering, a fact that is ignored when the English Crimes at Wexford are not compared to atrocities on the continent, where it was also a common practice in the rules of war at the time. Its one thing to say that Europe in the 1600's was bloody and unconstrained. Its another to say that Britain was still behaving that way in the 1940's. Did we behead Axis servicemen we captured? Murder red cross personnel? Experiment with chemical weapons on captured servicemen? Force march them to death and force them to build railways? Starve them? Pull sailors out of the drink for the expedient of beheading them? No. And I will go further to say the Germans for the most part, at least when fighting the English, behaved with a civility that was completely lacking from the Japanese in the same period. I know, I wouldn't be here if a German Officer who had once worked as head waiter of the savoy captured my Grandfathers unit and treated them fairly.

 

As for Ireland, it was always starving. Its the result of having a large population based on one foodstuff. The much cited Irish famine was actually 2 famines, not one, as that podcast I gave you shows.

 

Im not going to play these games of 'my empire is better than your empire'. Its childish. And I do not accept the expedient of comparing a country from 1640 with one from 1941. One had moved on from the peak of its barbarity, and the other hadn't, by the Japanese own admission I might add.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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I mean no disrespect Sunday when I say im not the one wearing blinkers. Now, can we get back to the terms of the discussion, rather than get sidetracked into the infinitely boring game of my Empire is better than your Empire? We did that one to death long ago.

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I mean no disrespect Sunday when I say im not the one wearing blinkers. Now, can we get back to the terms of the discussion, rather than get sidetracked into the infinitely boring game of my Empire is better than your Empire? We did that one to death long ago.

 

And you missed you second chance to discuss famines in British-ruled India.

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