Assess the Significance of the Role of Individuals in Bringing About the Expansion and Dismantling of the British Empire in Africa in the Period 1870-1981

961 Words Mar 30th, 2016 4 Pages
Assess the significance of the role of individuals in bringing about the expansion and dismantling of the British Empire in Africa in the period 1870-1981

It seems rather farfetched at first glance that individuals have enough influence in events such as the expansion of the British Empire in Africa or on the other hand the dismantling of it. However once we look into the effect individuals such as Cecil Rhodes, who was one of the main figures in the expansion of the British Empire to southern Africa or Harold Macmillan who with one speech “the winds of change” could cause so much revolt in British colonies. Although there is definitely evidence that individuals did have an effect in bringing about the expansion and
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"The speech’s primary audience was the white parliament in Cape Town"4, Macmillan described a "wind of change blowing through the continent of Africa" here he was referring to the rise in colonies which wanted to be granted the right to self rule. The speech having been publicised around Africa lead to n even bigger amount of colonies rebelling against the British rule, just recently in 1957 the British "gold coast" or Ghana had been the first colony to be granted independence and with this it became the most educated country in sub-Saharan Africa. This was exactly what Macmillan wanted since his aim was to distance Britain from South African racial policies which were now being looked down upon by the rest of the world making Britain look like the bully of the world especially since events like the Boer War.

Economically the burden of Empire was starting to weigh on Britain. Britain had lost a colony in during the Suez crisis that was proving Britain with much of its military power not only this but the World war left Britain renting a significant portion of its army. This did not get better within the years to come. In 1946 Winston Churchill talked about creating a special relationship between the USA and Britain and Truman (at the time the

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