By Max Beloff
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Extra info for Britain’s Liberal Empire 1897–1921: Volume 1 of Imperial Sunset
In France there was the sense of historical injustice; so much of Britain's overseas empire had been built on the ruins of France's own imperial past and these historical memories were envenomed by more recent events in Mrica. The Fashoda confrontation in 1898-9 was to reveal the full depths of these feelings. For Britain a presence on the upper Nile seemed a perfectly reasonable outcome of the responsibilities that had been assumed in Egypt - responsibilities exercised it was believed both on behalf of the civilized world and on behalf of the Egyptians.
Cecil Rhodes much scandalized the unionists by making a gift to the home rulers of £10,000 in 1887 in view of Parnell's willingness to provide for the retention of some Irish members at Westminster in a future Home Rule bill- a device that Rhodes thought might pave the way for colonial representation in the future. SeeJ. C. Lockhart and C. M. Woodhouse, Rhodes (1963), pp. 168-g. I M. Cumpston, 'The Discussion ofImperial Problems in the British Parliament, 1880-1885'. S. (1963), p. 39. a F. H. O'Donnell, quoted by Cumpston, loco cit.
The treatment of the war in the light of this question concentrates therefore not only on the military contributions of the Empire, and the institutions culminating in the Imperial War Conference and Imperial War Cabinet, which were devised for its strengthening and control, but also on the impact of dominion policy-makers upon the conduct of the war and the definition of war aims. The course of the war itself and the commitment of the professional military to a western front strategy limited the role of statesmanship.
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