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Languages of colonial conflict after 1900

Stirring language and appeals to collective action were integral to the battles fought to defend empires and to destroy them. These wars of words used rhetoric to make their case. This book explores the arguments fought over empire in a wide variety of geographic, political, social and cultural contexts. Essays range from imperialism in the early 1900s, to the rhetorical battles surrounding European decolonization in the late twentieth century. Rhetoric is one of the weapons of war. Conquest was humiliating for Afrikaners but they regained a degree of sovereignty, with the granting of responsible government to the new colonies in 1907 and independence with the Act of Union of 1910. Liberal rhetoric on the Transvaal Crisis was thus neither an isolated debate nor simply the projection of existing political concerns onto an episode of imperial emergency. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's principles of intervention in response to crimes against civilization, constituted a second corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. The rhetorical use of anti-imperial demonology was useful in building support for New Deal legislation. The book argues that rhetoric set out to portray the events at Mers el-Kebir within a culturally motivated framework, drawing on socially accepted 'truths' such as historic greatness and broad themes of hope. Now, over 175 years of monarchical presence in New Zealand the loyalty may be in question, devotion scoffed, the sycophantic language more demure and colloquialized, the medium of expression revolutionized and deformalized, but still the rhetoric of the realm remains in New Zealand.

Mers el-Kébir and the rhetoric of imperial confrontation in July 1940
Rachel Chin

On 4 July 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ‘justified’ the action taken against the French fleet at the Algerian port of Mers el-Kébir, symbolically leaving judgment of the policy and its outcome in the hands of ‘neutral’ bystanders. ‘I leave the judgment of our actions, with confidence, to Parliament. I leave it to the nation, and I leave it to the United

in Rhetorics of empire
Open Access (free)
Servicemen
Nicholas Atkin

. The air arm was a shadow of its former self, while the navy, the most advanced section of the French military, had an ignominious campaign: sunk by the British at Mers-el-Kébir in July 1940, and scuttled by the French themselves at Toulon in November 1942. To read the many histories of the French armed forces during the Second World War is, then, all too often to read the history of the Free French.5 Little mention is ever made of the sizeable numbers of French sailors and soldiers, over 10,000 in total, stranded in camps in Britain at the time of the defeat, and

in The forgotten French
Martin Thomas

Indo-China in 1940. 33 The one bright note was that the French settler community initially united around Catroux in support of a firm policy. This patriotic will to resist evaporated once news of Mers el-Kébir and of Washington’s noncommittal attitude spread through the federation in early July. The French historian Pierre Lamant captured the settler mood

in The French empire at war 1940–45
Lindsey Dodd

resistance traitors.9 But how was bombing presented in all of this? Four themes are used to show the ways in which anti-Allied propaganda (some Vichy, but mostly German and collaborationist) made use of bombing: the British betrayal, the capitalist (Jewish) instigators of Allied bombing, air raids as criminal acts and the victimisation/martyrdom of the population. In the first instance, bombing could easily be used to discourage Anglophilia. The theme of British betrayal required a careful sculpting of history – from Joan of Arc to the Versailles Treaty, Dunkirk and Mers-el-Kébir

in French children under the Allied bombs, 1940–45
Martin Thomas

the same view. 29 Instead, throughout early 1941, Free French troops in AEF were increasingly directed towards Chad and the developing British-led campaign against Italian Libya. 30 Though French naval gunners keen to avenge the losses of Mers el-Kébir directed the greater part of the fighting at Dakar in September, the abject failure of Free French efforts to

in The French empire at war 1940–45
Jacopo Pili

125 that the hatred for the British was so great that many soldiers asked to be moved to Cyrenaica to fight them.69 An analysis of the sources during the ‘summer of optimism’ shows that many also shared the stereotypes about the British moral fibre, weakened by wealth and luxuries.70 The attack against the French fleet at Mers el-Kébir in Algeria (described in Italy simply as the attack at Orano) was one of the arguments Fascist propaganda insisted on most vehemently. The Italian people, as we have seen, were particularly sensitive to the allegedly ruthless British

in Anglophobia in Fascist Italy
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The empire and international crisis in the 1930s
Martin Thomas

income was allocated to metropolitan defence. 1 In 1937 Algerian taxpayers were landed with an additional 289 million franc bill for the modernisation of the Mers el-Kébir fleet base, and on 24 June 1939 Albert Sarraut, then Interior Minister, and his colleague Paul Reynaud at Finance, set Algeria’s annual contribution to the French defence budget at 85 million francs for the next decade. 2

in The French empire between the wars
Martin Thomas

the French Mediterranean fleet – de Laborde’s Toulon squadron above all – ensured Eisenhower’s endorsement of the ‘Darlan deal’. This brought immediate results. At Mers el-Kébir, for instance, there was fierce initial resistance to attempted American landings, but Darlan’s cease-fire order prevented the escalation of fighting both around the port and at the beach

in The French empire at war 1940–45
Open Access (free)
Communities, circumstances and choices
Nicholas Atkin

the aftermath of the shelling of the French fleet at Mers-el-Kébir on 3 July 1940, was prepared to stop, board and sink any craft sailing under the tricolour lest it fell into Hitler’s clutches. Once on American soil, the significant numbers of intellectuals ensured that New York, together with Montréal, became the French cultural capital overseas. London could never make the same claim, this to the disappointment perhaps of British writers such 2499 Chap1 7/4/03 8 2:41 pm Page 8 The forgotten French as Raymond Mortimer, Cyril Connolly, Kathleen Raine and

in The forgotten French