In the National Interest: Dominions' Support for Britain and the Commonwealth after the Second World War
The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
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Was British confidence that the Commonwealth could bolster its international status and extend its global reach after the Second World War a product of self-delusion or nostalgia? This paper examines three crucial aspects of relations between Britain and Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in the 1940s – diplomacy, economics and defence – to show the extensive and tangible support that the ‘old dominions’ extended to Britain. They opted to back Britain because it served their individual national interests well. British hopes that the post-war Commonwealth would be an effective association were founded on ample evidence, although the British desire to lead and dominate was confounded by the fact that Ottawa, Canberra, Wellington and Pretoria were national centres in their own right.