From diffidence to desperation: the British, the Americans, the War and the move to Federation

Mary Chamberlain

in Empire and Nation-Building in the Caribbean

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780719078767
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701997 | DOI:
From diffidence to desperation: the British, the Americans, the War and the move to Federation

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This chapter focuses on the role played by the United States, Great Britain and the Second World War in the formation of the Federation of West Indies. From the start of the Second World War, the Americans started to evince their interest in the British West Indies for its strategic importance and favoured political reforms and economic improvements. The British were also increasingly fearful of West Indian loyalty against the backdrop of Nazi Germany taking advantage of the inherent racial tensions in the British Caribbean. After the end of the war, both British and American efforts clearly backed the independence of the British Caribbean colonies and the formation of a West Indies Federation as the best bulwark against Communism. Although the Federation was launched in 1958, the inability to achieve consensus on issues such as location of the Federation's capital, migration and the free movement of labour and the ambitions of individual islands' leaders finally led to its dissolution of the Federation.

Keywords: West Indies Federation; United States; Great Britain; Second World War; racial tensions; Communism; Nazi Germany; political reforms; economic improvements

Chapter.  12245 words. 

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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