Ow did the British Empire understand and try to combat violent nationalism?

How did the United Kingdom legitimate its retention of the largest empire the world has ever known for much of the twentieth century? How could the British empire be sustained in the era of self-determination, the League of Nations and the United Nations, American and Soviet anti-imperialism, and developing anti-colonial nationalisms? Domestic economic interests and geo-strategic concerns were no longer sufficient justifications in themselves after the first world war. This course will examine how Britain tried to win the hearts and minds of its imperial subjects, and undermine its international critics, by new policies of development and welfare. Ideologies of the dual mandate and trusteeship were developed between the wars to show that imperialism could be humane and of mutual benefit for metropole and colony alike. After the second world war, the nature of the imperial project changed again. The labour government believed that accelerated economic development in the empire could clear Britain s debts and maintain her great power status, and also silence its critics abroad. A new policy emerged whereby a huge increase in the level of imperial intervention in the economic and social lives of colonial peoples was to be sweetened by a dramatic expansion of social services. The great irony of the end of the British empire was that these new policies were the main motor of anti-colonial nationalisms from the late 1940s. Unwelcome government interference, new educated elites, the spread of literacy and a sudden population boom broke the back of the empire.