Find it at other libraries via WorldCat Limited preview. Bibliography Includes bibliographical references p. Labour's New Empire 3. Shifting Perspectives?
- Decolonisation: The British Experience Since by Nicholas White.
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Suez Did it Matter? Dr White syntheses recent historical debate by looking at the demise of British imperial power from three main perspectives: the shifting emphases of British imperial policy; the rise of populist, colonial nationalism, and the international political, strategic, and economic environment dominated by the USA and the USSR. The book also positions the British experience within the context of European decolonisation and contains many documents which have only recently become available.
Introducing the reader to the key debates it the ideal introductory text on the subject. Subject Decolonization. Bibliographic information. Browse related items Start at call number: DA The conceptualization of non-white enemies within the Empire moreover combined different discourses relating not only to racial and cultural difference, but also to medicine, anatomy and ballistics.
Early and medieval to 1485
In an article in the British Medical Journal , in which he described the use of expanding bullets on wild game, Surgeon-Major J. Hamilton thus referred to the Mark II: This bullet was complained of as not having stopping power — that is, it passed through the limbs or body without causing immediate collapse unless some vital part or important bone was struck. In European warfare this was of comparatively little consequence, as civilised man is much more susceptible than savages.
Many of the British officers in India and elsewhere were avid hunters and when it came to the development of a replacement for the Mark II on the front-line of Empire, the most obvious source of inspiration was the types of ammunition used to shoot dangerous game such as tigers and rhinos.
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The bullet that was eventually adopted by the British army in , known as the Mark III or the Dum-Dum bullet after the Indian garrison where it was manufactured, was in fact so closely modelled on expanding bullets used for hunting that Tweedie complained about patent infringement. The Dum-Dum bullet, though not explosive, is expansive. The original Lee-Metford bullet was a pellet of lead covered by a nickel case with an opening at the base. In the improved bullet this outer case has been drawn backward, making the hole in the base a little smaller and leaving the lead at the tip exposed.
The result is a wonderful and from the technical point of view a beautiful machine. The most memorable event of the Tirah Campaign, which was till then the biggest operation on the Frontier, was inarguably the charge of the Gordon Highlanders at Dargai Heights, on 20 October It was thus something of a shock when details of the wounds he had sustained were later reported in the press: British ammunition had fallen into the hands of the tribesmen who had been using the Dum-Dum bullet against its own inventors: The Piper hero, Findlater, was wounded in the ankle with a Dum Dum bullet.
His bones were knocked to pulp, and it was found imperative to amputate the foot some distance above the wound. Although the public debate about the expanding bullets provided ample ammunition for criticism of the incumbent Government, there was never any real question of its perceived efficacy in savage warfare. When the Dum-Dum was discovered to be faulty, in that it did not always cause as much damage as intended, a new expanding projectile, the Mark IV, was developed — just in time for its baptism of fire in the Sudan Campaign in The campaign reached its bloody climax at the Battle of Omdurman on 2 September , when the forces of the Mahdi launched a mass assault over open ground towards the well-positioned ranks of British and Egyptian troops.
Considering the manner in which Churchill had previously described the effects of the Dum-Dum bullets during the Tirah Campaign, his evocative account of the Dervish charge at Omdurman revealed a growing sense of discomfort about the imperial war machine being unleashed: Battalion by battalion … the British division began to fire … until by 6. They fired steadily and stolidly, without hurry or excitement, for the enemy were far away and the officers careful. Besides, the soldiers were interested in the work and took great pains.
But presently the mere physical act became tedious. The tiny figures seen over the slide of the back-sight seemed a little larger, but also fewer at each successive volley. The rifles grew hot — so hot that they had to be changed for those of the reserve companies. The Maxim guns exhausted all the water in their jackets, and several had to be refreshed from the water-bottles of the Cameron Highlanders before they could go on with their deadly work. The empty cartridge-cases, tinkling to the ground, formed small but growing heaps beside each man.
And all the time out on the plain on the other side bullets were shearing through flesh, smashing and splintering bone; blood spouted from terrible wounds; valiant men were struggling on through a hell of whistling metal, exploding shells, and spurting dust — suffering, despairing, dying. Cross-section of female corpse used to test the effects of expanding bullets at the time of the Hague Convention.
The bullet expanded inside the body and left an exit-wound 10x20 mm. Stippled areas show destroyed tissue. Dr A Keith and Mr H. What neither the journalists nor the British public knew, and what is even today rarely acknowledged, was the fact that the Maxim machine-guns at Omdurman were loaded with expanding rounds, making them surely the most lethal weapon ever to be deployed in colonial warfare. The British deployment of expanding bullets was, however, coming under increasing international scrutiny and France and Germany, in particular, condemned their use.
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At the Hague Convention in , Britain was thus the only nation, apart from Luxemburg, that declined to sign the prohibition against the use of such bullets. Veering on the side of caution, British colonial troops were as a result armed with conventional non-expanding bullets during both the South African War and the Boxer Expedition. It is often assumed that the experience of four years of brutal warfare during the First World War, as well as the transformation of the political landscape after , led to the abandonment of exemplary violence in colonial warfare.
However, the controversies caused by this approach and awareness of the need to win over but not exasperate the people suggests that the idea of British brutality can be exaggerated. Then, as now, military doctrine and practice did not develop within a discursive vacuum. The insistence that ideas concerning race and the bodily alterity of non-white people can be neatly separated from military culture, as expressed in the work of Isabel V.
Hull for instance, is thus ultimately unsustainable. The point is not that scholars must denounce British imperialism as a brutal and morally corrupt endeavour. This exceptionalism is further established in contrast to German imperialism and, by extension, to twentieth century totalitarian regimes. The aftermath of the charge of the Dervishes at Omdurman, 2 Sept.
From A. Kim A.
Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Whilst Britain constitutes the primary focus of his research, Dr Collins is also interested in comparative perspectives, particularly with the French experience.
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Dr Collins welcomes applications from students wishing to study for a PhD connected to imperialism and decolonization in relation to the metropolitan legacies of empire post For a full list of publications, see Michael's Iris profile. Email: michael. PhD supervision Dr Collins welcomes applications from students wishing to study for a PhD connected to imperialism and decolonization in relation to the metropolitan legacies of empire post Smith and C.
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