Post-war Hong Kong
in Colonial naval culture and British imperialism, 1922–67
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The initial defeat of Britain by an Asian power in the Second World War marked a shift in China's attitudes towards British power, compounded by their own elevation in the post-war international system to one of the Big Five. British politicians 'remained acutely conscious of Hong Kong's vulnerability throughout the 1950s' and of the strategic reality that if China really 'wanted the return of Hong Kong then British rule was untenable'. Unlike the Hong Kong Regiment, which was an entirely local defence force, the Hong Kong Royal Naval Reserve (HKRNR) 'was liable to serve in any part of the world in the event of hostilities', with its personnel incorporated into the Royal Navy. A key justification for Hong Kong's naval force framed it within the discourse of the 'civilising mission' and empire development, emphasising the moral and social improvement that paternalistic Royal Navy instruction could bring to the colony's population.


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