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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Nothing New under the Setting Sun: Patrick Wall, Julian Amery, and the Death and Afterlife of the British Empire
by Fazio, Frank, M.A., The George Washington University, 2020, 85; 27959513
Abstract (Summary)

This paper demonstrates the ways in which members of the Conservative right wing in Great Britain reacted to the decolonization of the British Empire, with a focus on the rhetoric they deployed. In particular, it focuses on Patrick Wall and Julian Amery, each of whom were closely involved in this process, and were keen defenders of British imperial power, and what it represented. Amery was a persistent advocate for the creation of the Central African Federation (CAF). Intended as an exercise in the continuation of British power, its emphasis on multi-racial pluralism concealed an iron grip on its African majority populace. Amery, joined by Wall in 1954, did their best to support the Federation, even as it became less and less functional. Ultimately, when it became clear that the CAF no longer pleased any faction under its aegis, Wall and Amery turned their attention to maintaining white minority rule in Rhodesia. Therefore, the second episode of decolonization this thesis will study is the Rhodesian unilateral declaration of independence (UDI). With Britain requiring that Rhodesia have a clear plan to transfer power to the African majority prior to receiving independence, the Ian Smith government, feeling betrayed by their “kith and kin,” declared Rhodesia independent of the United Kingdom on its own authority. Amery, Wall, and their allies fought a rearguard action in Britain to, at the very least, smooth Rhodesia’s path towards independence. Wall specifically was intensely associated with the Rhodesian regime. Like the Federation, however, the white Rhodesian cause was a losing one. In 1980, Rhodesia became independent under majority rule as the newly named Zimbabwe. As senior members of the Party, Amery and Wall then carved out hawkish positions on the Falklands War, the third incident this project will discuss. Britain’s defeat of Argentina, and robust defense of kinsfolk in the South Atlantic, gave Margaret Thatcher the political firepower needed to reshape the Party in her image, even as the notion of British revival she associated with the Falklands victory was more aspirational than factual, papering over a fracturing British political scene. Nonetheless, the Thatcherite view of Britain’s state, which closely resembled that which Wall and Amery argued for, was infused in the Conservative Party in ways that continue to reverberate.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kennedy, Dane
School: The George Washington University
Department: History
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 81/12(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: European history, World History
Keywords: Decolonization, Falklands War, Great Britain, Kith and kin, Parliament, Rhodesia
Publication Number: 27959513
ISBN: 9798645499532
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