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The End of the British Empire, 1945-1968

6. An Unwished-For Future

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About this Lecture


In this module, we focus on the post-colonial relationship that Britain maintained with her colonies—a relationship that turned it to be far rockier than British policy-makers had anticipated in the late-1950s. In particular, we think about Britain’s relationship with South Africa, the coups d’état in Nigeria and Uganda, and the troubles in Southern Rhodesia.


In this course, Dr Simon Potter (University of Bristol) explores the final decades of the British Empire, from the end of the Second World War in 1945 to Britain’s withdrawal of troops “East of Suez”, announced by Harold Wilson in 1968. As we move through the course, we think about the impact of the Second World War, the withdrawal of India and Burma from the Empire in the late 1940s, the Suez Crisis of 1956, Harold Macmillan’s now famous ‘Wind of Change’ speech, delivered in Cape Town in 1960.


Simon Potter is Reader in Modern History at Bristol University. His early research examined the role played by newspapers and news agencies in linking up the component parts of the ‘British world’ (Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. More recently, he has written on the role of the BBC in building and strengthening imperial connections since 1922, and its response to the decline of the British world after the Second World War. He is also interested in the broader history of the British world, and in the historiography of the British empire.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Potter, S. (2018, August 15). The End of the British Empire, 1945-1968 - An Unwished-For Future [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Potter, S. "The End of the British Empire, 1945-1968 – An Unwished-For Future." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,