The Fall Of The Second British Empire

1702 Words Apr 25th, 2016 7 Pages
The Second British Empire was once so large it was said that “The sun never sets on the British Empire”. The Second British Empire refers to British rule after 1783. Following World War I, the Empire was at its most powerful; the territories it held were almost one fourth of the earth’s surface, which consisted of 25 percent of the world’s population; approximately 448 million people (Dolan 1-2). However, following World War II to the late 20th century, the empire’s holdings had been severely dismantled. Despite being one of the, victors of World War II, the empire had been left in a weakened state. The war damaged the empire in terms of power and finances which set it on a path of decline. The fall of the Second British Empire was caused by economic burdens, diminished power and pride, and accelerated decolonization brought on by World War II.
World War II severely bankrupted the British Empire. Following 1945, Britain had accumulated a wartime debt of £3 billion, of which £1.3 billion was owed to India (Roberts 263). During the war, Britain’s total national debt had reached £21.366 billon (Sheimo and Loizou 738). Britain’s industries were “…more concentrated on war production than any other nation in the world. To win the world she had kept her staple industries of coal, steel, shipbuilding and textiles running at full capacity…” (Roberts 263). The empire was broke from wartime spending and production was slowed due to destruction of factories during the war.…

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