The crisis now facing many post-colonial societies has raised important questions about the nature of Third World nationalist movements and their struggle against Western domination. Histories of Britain's colonial past have tended to regard the process of decolonization as having taken place as a direct consequence of British policy, with the result that the influence of anti-colonial movements on British imperialism has been overlooked. In a new interpretation of decolonization, the author of this book focuses on the way in which Britain reacted to the nationalist claims made by anti-colonial movements. With the weakening of imperial control from the 1930s onwards, the development of such movements in the 1940s was greatly boosted. Closely bound up with the central issue of political legitimacy, nationalism posed a powerful threat to colonial power. The author argues that by contesting the validity of nationalist claims made by anti-colonial movements, Britain attempted to discredit indigenous opposition in the colonies.
Subsequent histories of decolonization have been profoundly influenced by the imperial view of Third World nationalism, and little attention has been paid to the way in which Third World nationalist movements helped to reshape British imperialism. This study examines Britain's colonial wars in Malaysia, Kenya and Guyana within the wider framework of imperial politics. It discusses the intellectual orientation and propaganda techniques that Britain used to represent Third World nationalism. Combining the methods of comparative historical sociology and original fieldwork, Furedi draws on recently released archival sources from both sides of the Atlantic.
Part 1 The elaboration of the imperialist perspective: the qualities of the anti-colonial response; the problem of control; the response to 1948; diagnosing disorder - imperial attitudes towards anti-colonial nationalism. Part 2 Recasting Third World nationalism: the conduct of colonial emergencies - the struggle for control; reshaping anti-colonial politics; capturing the nationalist movement - the big split.