The Rhodesian crisis in British and international politics, 1964-1965

Watts, Carl Peter (2006). The Rhodesian crisis in British and international politics, 1964-1965. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis uses evidence from British and international archives to examine the events leading up to Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) on 11 November 1965 from the perspectives of Britain, the Old Commonwealth (Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), and the United States. Two underlying themes run throughout the thesis. First, it argues that although the problem of Rhodesian independence was highly complex, a UDI was by no means inevitable. There were courses of action that were dismissed or remained under explored (especially in Britain, but also in the Old Commonwealth, and the United States), which could have been pursued further and may have prevented a UDI. Second, the thesis argues there were structural weaknesses in the machinery of government of each of the major actors, but particularly in Britain. This made the management of the Rhodesian Crisis more difficult, contributed to the likelihood of a UDI, and exacerbated tension in relations between Britain and its international partners. In stressing these themes the thesis builds upon some of the earlier literature that was critical of the Labour Government’s foreign and Commonwealth policies. Although this thesis is primarily an international history, it also makes use of theories from political science and international relations to frame certain aspects of the empirical research.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
School or Department: School of History and Cultures
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DT Africa
J Political Science > JZ International relations


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