Lord Hailey, the Colonial Office and Politics of Race and Empire in the Second World War


This book examines the response of the British Colonial Office to the collapse of belief in racial superiority in the Second World War, and with it the ideological basis of empire. Suke Wolton studies the debate between the Colonial Office and the American State Department over the reformulation of Western authority in the colonial world that followed the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in 1942. British officials, led by Lord Hailey, countered American criticisms of Empire by drawing attention to America's own practice of segregation. In the process, Hailey pioneered new, non-racial justifications for imperial rule. In particular, this work identifies the twin themes of promoting economic development and keeping the peace between divided colonial peoples, which emerged from the debate as the new grounds for imperial authority. These are themes that retain a powerful resonance in the contemporary discussions of North-South relations.

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