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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century$
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Judith Brown and Wm Roger Louis

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205647

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205647.001.0001

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The British Empire and the Great War, 1914–1918

The British Empire and the Great War, 1914–1918

Chapter:
(p.114) 5 The British Empire and the Great War, 1914–1918
Source:
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century
Author(s):

ROBERT HOLLAND

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205647.003.0005

This chapter reports the impact of the wartime experience on the British Empire as a system of power, and suggest where between these two extremes the Imperial or colonial outcome of the war came to rest. Whether Britain could transform itself into a continental elephant, instead of being constrained into an Imperial and aquatic role, was also an issue between 1914 and 1918. The war did not spawn new Dominion nations in the way that simplified commentaries afterwards assumed. Just as the Great War was for Britain too complex an experience in human terms ever to be satisfactorily reconstructed by historians, so its Imperial dimension cannot be reduced to a formula.

Keywords:   British Empire, Great War, power, Imperial role, colonial role, Dominion nations

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