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Monstrous predatory vampires and beneficent fairy-godmothers: British post-war colonial development in Africa

Riley, CL; (2013) Monstrous predatory vampires and beneficent fairy-godmothers: British post-war colonial development in Africa. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores the concept of colonial development, as enacted by the Attlee government during the immediate post-war period. It focuses on Africa, reflecting the ‘second colonial occupation’ of the continent during this period, and examines both economic and social welfare development initiatives. Post-war colonial development in the British African territories had two main aims: firstly, to increase the production of raw materials, to aid the reconstruction of the metropole and earn dollars on the international markets; and secondly, to improve the standard of living among colonial populations. This thesis explores the contradictions inherent in these two types of development. It can be seen that, although Britain was largely unsuccessful in this period with economic development programmes in Africa, it had some modest success with colonial social-welfare initiatives. The thesis also examines the extent to which Arthur Creech Jones, Colonial Secretary 1946-1950, shaped colonial policy in Africa based on his Fabian beliefs. It examines how far British colonial policy in this period can be characterised as ‘socialist’, and how far metropolitan and colonial populations were separated by narratives of progress and development in this period. This thesis also argues that colonial development in Africa in this period was shaped, rhetorically, ideologically and pragmatically, by the context of British reconstruction under the Marshall Plan. Colonial development was an arena in which Britain’s relationships with western Europe and the United States (the ‘special relationship’) could be explored, strengthened and sometimes challenged. The incipient Cold War imbued British policy in Africa with specific tensions, particularly relating to American ‘anti-imperialism’ and the threat of Soviet communist expansion across the continent. Colonial development, and the negotiation of such against the pressures exerted by Britain’s international political role, can thus be used as a lens, through which to view British foreign policy under the Attlee government.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Monstrous predatory vampires and beneficent fairy-godmothers: British post-war colonial development in Africa
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1389424
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