From diffidence to desperation
The British, the Americans, the War and the move to Federation
in Empire and nation-building in the Caribbean
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This chapter focuses on the role played by the United States, Great Britain and the Second World War in the formation of the Federation of West Indies. From the start of the Second World War, the Americans started to evince their interest in the British West Indies for its strategic importance and favoured political reforms and economic improvements. The British were also increasingly fearful of West Indian loyalty against the backdrop of Nazi Germany taking advantage of the inherent racial tensions in the British Caribbean. After the end of the war, both British and American efforts clearly backed the independence of the British Caribbean colonies and the formation of a West Indies Federation as the best bulwark against Communism. Although the Federation was launched in 1958, the inability to achieve consensus on issues such as location of the Federation's capital, migration and the free movement of labour and the ambitions of individual islands' leaders finally led to its dissolution of the Federation.

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