To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Has fascism arrived in America? In this pioneering book, Gavriel D. Rosenfeld and Janet Ward have gathered experts to survey the history of fascism in the United States. Although the US established a staunch anti-fascist reputation by defeating the Axis powers in World War II, the unsettling truth is that fascist ideas have long been present within American society. Since the election of Donald Trump as President in 2016, scholars have debated whether Trumpism should be seen as an outgrowth of American conservatism or of a darker – and potentially fascist – tradition. Fascism in America contributes to this debate by examining the activities of interwar right-wing groups like the Silver Shirts, the KKK, and the America First movement, as well as the post-war rise of Black antifascism and white vigilantism, the representation of American Nazis in popular culture, and policy options for combating right-wing extremism.
One way to tell the story of our discipline is as a story about reading. In the early twentieth century, in order to establish the value of literary criticism, critics used the framework of professionalism to create specialized vocabulary, professional societies, and reading methods distinguished from those of laypeople. Foundational pieces of literary criticism often pry analysis apart from the affective experiences of reading literature—our sympathy, identification, shock, or sadness. Early literary critics did so in order to privilege literature's patterns and structures to argue, implicitly or explicitly, that literature is art, not life. In other words, reading literary description isn't a substitute for experiencing sensory perception of those settings, people, or objects. Fictional characters’ affective lives—and our responses to those lives—aren't a way to understand our own subjecthood.
South Africa furnishes one of the most complex examples of the eclipse of Greater Britain, on account of the sheer diversity of peoples and political forces that shaped events in the post-war era. English South Africans experienced a period of prolonged disorientation as their paradigmatic status dwindled, caught between an Afrikaner majority determined to override their totems of British loyalty, and a burgeoning Black resistance calling time on the bogus liberties invested in the British Crown. In the decades after 1945, a uniquely opportune climate for humanitarian and anti-colonial claim-making was forged — not least for the empire’s First Peoples. All over the world, settler communities were confronted with insistent demands to redress the injustices flowing from the pioneering intrusions of their forebears, challenging their foundational myths and raising nagging questions about their security of tenure. For the minority of white, professedly ‘liberal’, English-speaking South Africans, bent on combatting Afrikaner political dominance, the advent of Indigenous demands rooted in universal rights would ultimately pose the more severe test to their British affinities and allegiances.
How did Britain cease to be global? In Untied Kingdom, Stuart Ward tells the panoramic history of the end of Britain, tracing the ways in which Britishness has been imagined, experienced, disputed and ultimately discarded across the globe since the end of the Second World War. From Indian independence, West Indian immigration and African decolonization to the Suez Crisis and the Falklands War, he uncovers the demise of Britishness as a global civic idea and its impact on communities across the globe. He also shows the consequences of this diminished 'global reach' in Britain itself, from the Troubles in Northern Ireland to resurgent Englishness and the startling success of separatist political agendas in Scotland and Wales. Untied Kingdom puts the contemporary travails of the Union for the first time in their full global perspective as part of the much larger story of the progressive rollback of Britain's imaginative frontiers.
This chapter considers the loss of confidence in Britain’s far horizons which became a major post-war preoccupation as the moral axioms of ‘global reach’ faltered. By the 1950s, the burden of shouldering an extensive array of overseas bases and tactical deployments had become increasingly intolerable. But despite these material constraints, successive British governments, their service chiefs and the wider ‘defence community’ of strategic analysts, academics, and journalists found it exceedingly difficult to contemplate even the most glaringly urgent reductions. Cold calculations of strategic priorities could never be entirely insulated from the alluring tug of a belief system inherited from former, more exalted times. The ensuing paralysis was symbolised by the 1956 Suez crisis that revealed the stark limits of Britain’s world-power aspirations. Historians continue to debate whether the 1956 Suez crisis really devastated popular morale to the extent that is routinely claimed. It is argued here that the deeper impact of Suez can be traced through its dissonant resonances around the globe, puncturing not only the prestige of Anthony Eden’s enfeebled government, but also the feasibility of a world conceived in terms of Britain’s ubiquitous ‘presence’. For the challenge it posed to the governing assumptions about extended horizons and elastic frontiers, Suez exemplifies the diminishing reach of the idea of Britain itself.
The idea of ‘home’ had long served as a pervasive metaphor for transoceanic British belonging, routinely employed to invoke patterns of long-distance intimacy. With the onset of decolonization, however, these everyday assumptions came under scrutiny. The colonial administration of Kenya took remedial action in 1947 in the form of a wedding gift to Prince Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh - a home of their own in the foothils of Mt. Kenya. The symbolism of a permanent Royal residence in the heart of Africa was meant to ensure that ‘home’ retained a sense of long-range reciprocity. But by the time the royal couple took possession of Sagana Lodge in February 1952, the violent incursions of the ‘Mau Mau’ insurgency had arrived on their doorstep. Throughout the ensuing crisis, familiar depictions of the settler home appeared graphically in British newspapers and newsreels. The violation of British notions of ordered domesticity became a potent means of mobilizing empathy for the embattled settler community of Kenya, widely depicted as ordinary Britons abroad in need of extraordinary relief measures. The intersecting story of Sagana Lodge, the Monarchy and the domestic horror of Mau Mau provides a unique window into the eclipse of Greater Britain in Africa’s settler heartland, revealing the limits of home as an enduring symbol of Britain’s spurious place in Africa.
Part 1 of the book concludes by considering the paradoxical effects of two World Wars, at once harnessing an unprecedentedly vast emotional and material reservoir in the service of a common cause while at the same time ushering in a new era of ‘internationalism’ that would ultimately strip the British world-system of its effectiveness and fundamental rationale. Reformers in the interwar years sought to breathe new life into imperial Britishness ‘with a small “b”’ (in the words of Australia’s Keith Hancock) alluding to a more inclusive concept embracing a ‘diverse family of many kindreds and languages’ . By tracing interwar developments across three key interfaces - political thought, economic cooperation, and Indigenous rights advocacy - the shortcomings of this aspirational new Commonwealth are laid bare. Such was the long ascendancy of race in the hierarchy of Greater Britain that it could not easily be cast to one side.
The introduction makes a case for addressing the ‘break-up of Britain’ as a problem of global history. For decades, historians of remarkably diverse leanings have thrown their intellectual weight behind a presumed connection between the historical burden of imperial decline and the slow depletion of shared British sentiment since the Second World War. Yet invariably, the end of empire tends to be framed as an abstract tipping point, with little sense of its real-life interactions or everyday consequences - as though its mere dissolution were causation itself. But if social identities are inherently relational, arising out of intricate patterns of material and cultural exchange connecting peoples across wide distances, then focusing solely on the ‘British of Britain’ can provide only a partial and incomplete perspective. By incorporating the fate of Britishness in the many corners of the world where it has long since ceased to command any popular allegiance, the diminishing strength of unitary sentiment in the contemporary United Kingdom emerges in a whole new light. The argument, structure and empirical range of Untied Kingdom all proceed from this fundamental premise.
The most fundamental measure of the global eclipse of Britishness is to be found in the politics of language. The narrowing semantic range of imperial Britishness was epitomized by India’s request for admission into the post-war Commonwealth in 1947 as the first member to adopt a Republican constitution. Resolving this dilemma also raised the question of whether the Commonwealth should retains its customary ‘British’ adjectvie, pressing the ‘British Commonwealth’ to the limit of its capacity to bind an increasingly atomized membership. By the early 1960s, the UK Government itself was inclined to repatriate the meaning of Britishness in official usage to refer only to themselves - itself a major landmark in downsizing the idea of Britain. This chapter traces the protracted diplomatic wrangling over the British name itself in the post-war world, with profound consequences for its future viability.
Among the core tenets of Britain’s much-vaunted ‘global reach’ was the belief in a shared tradition of British justice inherited from the Common Law. Though administered by way of separate judicial systems in widely disparate jurisdictions, the law nevertheless furnished a potent symbol of continuity through the force of shared judicial principles and procedures, joint-channels of appeal and a common source of legitimacy in the British Crown. In Rhodesia in the 1960s, this system was turned on its head when the increasingly isolated community of white settlers led by Ian Smith embarked on a Unilateral Declaration of Independence. Legal axioms that could no longer be relied on to underwrite white authority were swiftly discarded in favour of a much cruder conception of ‘law and order’ founded on naked force. The long arm of British justice was caught embarrassingly short when the Wilson government failed to supress a rebellion of a few hundred thousand unrepentant white Rhodesians, whose agitation stemmed from the realization that they could no longer be British in their own terms. This chapter looks specifically at the furore over the Smith Government’s use of capital pubnishment against political prisoners, which came to symbolize broken allegiances and the eclipse of the common law as the sheet anchor of a global British justice.
This chapter enlarges on the unique properites of Britishness as a global civic idea. It considers the meaning of ‘Greater Britain’ on the eve of the Great War, asking what kind of intercommunal network was enlivened by the conception of the British as a ‘world’ people. Contemporaries furnished a wide spectrum of answers, and it is by comparing the extremes of variation from Vancouver to Ulster to Punjab that the underlying dissonance between rival conceptions of Britishness emerge into view.
This opening chapter mounts an argument about the overseas projections of imperial identity, surveying the material and ideological conditions for imagining Britishness on a global scale. It considers how imperial expansion from the early seventeenth century created the need to make sense of highly fluid movements of people in radically new social formations. The language of Britishness could be employed across enormous distances, but the resultant heterogeneity also engendered fault lines that would pose formidable problems in the years ahead. The veneration of British constitional freedoms rested uneasily with practice of ruling ‘inferior races’ by flagrantly authoritarian means - furnishing the definitive paradox of a nominally liberal British world. Contemporaries went to great lengths to contain the anomalies, employing a highly elastic conception of ‘Great Britain’ that eluded conventional categories of inclusion and exclusion. To be British was to inhabit a moving frontier comprising a patchwork of peoples who never seriously demanded or developed an integrated, transoceanic popular sovereignty. As such, the idea of Britain — more so than England — became heavily freighted with the imagined properties of global reach, and hence more vulnerable to the perils of imperial decline.
The same sense of Britain’s lapsed capacity to deliver on the promise of global reach was viewed as a rare opportunity by Scottish and Welsh separatist parties, whose stunning rise to electability between 1961 and 1979 cannot be viewed in isolation from the broader implications of imperial decline. Here, the end of Britain was the avowed political prize, persistently and effectively packaged in the aspirational politics of ‘stopping the world’ so that older nationalities might be retooled for a post-British age. The chapter considers the electoral breakthrough of Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party during these years, both of whom won surprise electorial victories respectively at Carmarthen (1966) and Hamilton (1967). Contemporaries were quick to conflate the two events, detecting deeper ruptures in the tumult of Hamilton and Carmarthen. To this day, they mark the onset of ‘devolution’ as a major theme of contemporary British politics, but the connnections to the wider context of global decolonization are poorly understood. This chapter takes seriously the idea that the end of empire was heavily implicated in the rise of separatist political parties in the UK.