Colonial Fantasies Shattered

Martin Evans

in The Oxford Handbook of Postwar European History

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199560981
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Colonial Fantasies Shattered

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  • History
  • European History
  • Contemporary History (Post 1945)
  • Colonialism and Imperialism



J. G. Ballard, author of the 1984 novel Empire of the Sun, was born in the Shanghai International Settlement in China in 1930, into a privileged colonial milieu with a chauffeur, a nanny, and servants. Ballard witnessed at first hand the collapse of the British Empire in Asia. The year 1945 was not a moment of imperial defeat, but of imperial reassertion for Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Britain, each of which saw their futures as global, colonial entities. This article, which deals with the end of empires, focusing on the loss of colonies such as Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and South-East Asia, also discusses blueprints for a liberal policy in Africa, the 1956 Suez Crisis, developmental colonialism and decolonisation, and the empires of Portugal and Spain.

Keywords: J. G. Ballard; South-East Asia; Belgium; France; Netherlands; Britain; Africa; developmental colonialism; decolonisation; empires

Article.  11069 words. 

Subjects: History ; European History ; Contemporary History (Post 1945) ; Colonialism and Imperialism

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