Britain’s Small Wars

The challenge to Empire, 1881–1951

Authored by: Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon

The Routledge History of Terrorism

Print publication date:  April  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415535779
eBook ISBN: 9781315719061
Adobe ISBN: 9781317514879


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In 1921, the British Empire began to lick its wounds after a decade of violence that had threatened to bring the whole edifice tumbling down. The Great War had caused the most severe disruption: almost 900,000 British subjects had lost their lives, with 200,000 more from the empire also falling. 1 The impact of the war was profound. In the Dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, there was widespread dismay at the costs of this European adventure and a sense that the imperial masters in London were perhaps not as wise as they had once believed them to be. Throughout the 1920s, they began to redefine the relationship between the United Kingdom and the Dominions as one of “autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another,” a concept that was enshrined into British law by the 1931 Statute of Westminster. No longer would the Dominions be subject to British control. 2

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