John M. MacKenzie
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The persistence of empire in metropolitan culture
in British culture and the end of empire
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The scholarly literature on the end of the British Empire is brimming with all kinds of evocative metaphors. Paul Kennedy saw the Soviet Empire as being much longer-lasting and more intractable than the other declining great powers. Imperial markets were no longer protected by culture and sentiment. Import substitution was rampant everywhere and the Treaty of Rome and new economic alliances in Europe soon indicated further writing on the wall for Britain. By the 1940s, it was Indians who were largely running the British Empire in India. Decolonisation has been described as the 'Implosion of Empire', in order to convey a sense of the political upheavals on the colonial periphery reverberating inwards on metropolitan society. It is certainly significant that the major post-war exhibition, the Festival of Britain on London's South Bank in 1951, appeared to concentrate on metropolitan Britain.

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