Twilight: The End of the British Empire after the Second World War


Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars




For residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study during academic year 2012-2013


This study offers an intervention into the vast literature on British decolonization, re-examining imperial retreat through the lens of several counter-insurgency operations which Britain waged in its empire after 1945. Focusing attention on seven theaters of war, “Twilight” traces the evolution of counter-insurgency strategies—together with the movement of individuals who executed them—in the rapidly changing domestic and international contexts of the post-WWII era. This work argues that, rather than being epiphenomena of empire’s collapse, decolonization wars resulted from the intrinsic paradoxes that belied Britain’s imperial project in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.