British Foreign Policy 1951-1964


British Foreign Policy 1951-1964

British Empire in 1951

  • Britain still Governed an empire, but countries were beginning to gain independence from this empire, starting with India and Pakistan in 1947
  • Nationalism was on the rise and so was the desire for African and Asian countries to self-rule
  • The empire was turning into a ‘commonwealth’ of Independent nations linked to Britain by trade, customs, language and History
  • Many British people emigrated to New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

Cost of the empire

  • 1948-1960, Britain fought to communist Guerrilla war in Malaya
  • 1952-1960, Britain fought the Mau Mau uprising against British rule in Kenya
  • 1955, Britain fought communist rebels in Canada
  • All of these small battles came more of a burden than as a benefit to Britain.

National Service

  • Between 1948-1960, all British men (17-21) had to do 18 months national service
  • National servicemen were sent to fight in Kenya and Malaya
  • The end of National Service in 1960 caused a generation gap and social change
  • 750,000 men was cut in half

The Suez Crisis

  • Suez canal was big to Britain’s empire and Nasser, in Britain’s eyes, had no right to claim it as his own
  • The Western powers believed that Nasser was moving towards the communist world, in response, they suddenly withdrew funding of the dam project
  • The canal was vital supply route for oil from the middle east, Anthony Eden said it was ‘intolerable that Nasser should have his thumb on our windpipe’
  • Nasser was encouraging Arab rebels in other countries to fight off Western influence, and this was possibly the end of Britain’s reign in this area
  • The canal had been closed to all Israeli shipping. Israel had close ties with USA and France
  • A secret plot


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