The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the Birth of the Pax Americana

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, May 13, 2008 - History - 559 pages
7 Reviews
A sweeping, brilliantly vivid history of the sudden end of the British Empire and the moment when America became a world superpower—published on the sixtieth anniversary of Britain’s withdrawal from Palestine.
“I have not become the King’s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.” Winston Churchill’s famous statement in November 1942, just as the tide of the Second World War was beginning to turn, pugnaciously affirmed his loyalty to the worldwide institution that he had served for most of his life. Britain fought and sacrificed on a global scale to defeat Hitler and his allies—and won. Yet less than five years after Churchill’s defiant speech, the British Empire effectively ended with Indian independence in August 1947 and the end of the British Mandate in Palestine in May 1948. As the sun set on Britain’s empire, the age of America as world superpower dawned.
How did this rapid change of fortune come about? Peter Clarke’s book is the first to analyze the abrupt transition from Rule Britannia to Pax Americana. His swift-paced narrative makes superb use of letters and diaries to provide vivid portraits of the figures around whom history pivoted: Churchill, Gandhi, Roosevelt, Stalin, Truman, and a host of lesser-known figures through whom Clarke brilliantly shows the human dimension of epochal events.
Clarke traces the intimate and conflicted nature of the “special relationship,” showing how Roosevelt and his successors were determined that Britain must be sustained both during the war and after, but that the British Empire must not; and reveals how the tension between Allied war aims, suppressed while the fighting was going on, became rapidly apparent when it ended. The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire is a captivating work of popular history that shows how the events that followed the war reshaped the world as profoundly as the conflict itself.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Eamonn12 - LibraryThing

Did the Empire begin to fail with the loss of America? What about the Irish Easter Rising of 1916? Wasn’t that a strong signal that the end was nigh?… To this list so many, many other historical ... Read full review

Review: The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the Birth of the Pax Americana

User Review  - DL Denham - Goodreads

In The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the Birth of the Pax Americana, historian Peter Clarke presents a history of how the a victorious Britain lost its empire ... Read full review

Contents

19414
3
False Summits
45
The Spirit of Quebec September 1944
47
Setbacks OctoberNovember 1944
67
Bad to Worse NovemberDecember 1944
94
Battles of the Bulge December 1944January 1945
127
Awaiting the Big Three JanuaryFebruary 1945
161
Yalta February 1945
189
The Liquidation of the British Empire
363
Hopes Betrayed AugustOctober 1945
365
The Costs of Victory October 1945April 1946
392
Sabotage? AprilNovember 1946
425
Scuttle? December 1946August 1947
464
Epilogue
505
Abbreviations
514
The Diarists
515

Hollow Victories
223
Faltering and Altering FebruaryMarch 1945
225
Shadows of Death MarchApril 1945
259
Justice? May 1945
293
Peace Politics and Potsdam JuneJuly 1945
320
Bibliography
516
References
521
Acknowledgements
546
Index
549
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Peter Clarke was Professor of Modern History and Master of Trinity Hall at Cambridge. His many books include the acclaimed final volume of the Penguin History of Britain, Hope and Glory, Britain 1900-2000, and A Question of Leadership: Gladstone to Blair. He lives in Suffolk, England, and Pender Island, British Columbia.

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