NATO, Cold War and the End of Empire

  • John Kent


Some time ago one of the most important historical questions concerning the post-1945 world was raised out of the blue at a small seminar at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in London. Was decolonization simply a footnote to the Cold War?1 The significance of that question has become clearer in the light of the continuing attempts to refine our understanding of Cold War and Empire. To what extent were the importance of NATO and the changes in the European empires linked to and driven by the Cold War? What is precisely meant by the Cold War and decolonization? How can the conflicts between military strategy and the political requirements of winning the hearts and minds of Third World people, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, be best understood? How did European issues relate to the important issues in non-European areas when the Cold War was increasingly centred on the latter regions?


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  1. 5.
    On this see John Kent, British Imperial Strategy and the Origins of the Cold War, 1944–1949 (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1993), pp 161– 173 and John Kent and John W. Young: ‘The “Western Union” Concept and British Defence Policy, 1947–1948’, in R. Aldrich (ed.): British Intelligence Strategy and the Cold War 1945–1951 (London: Routledge, 1992).Google Scholar
  2. 21.
    See for example James N. Giglio, The Presidency of John F Kennedy (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1991).Google Scholar
  3. 22.
    Glyn Stone, ‘Britain and the Angolan Revolt of 1961’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 27 no 1 (1999) 132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

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  • John Kent

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