Why Britain had to give up her empire?
Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan.
There are many entities who are credited with India's freedom but probably the most important entity, America is never even mentioned. Here are the facts.
To understand what transpired we need to understand what was essentially a European war which infected the whole World.
World War II (1935 -1945) broke out on 1st Sept 1939 when Germany invaded Poland and two days later when both France and England declared war on Germany. It was an unnecessary war declared by the arrogant British and French empires seeking to impose their writ.
Until it entered the war, America had strong economic ties with both sides of the warring parties. With 40% of all equipment and material used in the war on both sides being of American origin, it preferred to stay militarily neutral.
Anyway, nothing good could come out of intervening in this two thousand years old infantile tendency of Europeans to indulge in incestual politics and constant warfare.
Winston Churchill the British Prime Minister despised the American President (FDR) Franklin D. Roosevelt and his politics. This became evident in a series of unflattering essays published between 1937 and 1939 of FDR, America and the New Deal calling it a 'ruthless war on private enterprise." He opposed FDR's reelection as President. Naturally there was an underlying tension between the two leaders.
After FDRs election victory in 1940 Winston Churchill swallowed his pride and repeatedly pleaded with FDR to join the war on the side of Britain.
FDR was clear that, he considered America and Britain as allies. He indicated to the Brits, that American lives and resources could not be expended, " ... just to help Britain to hang on to their archaic, medieval ideas of Empire ... "
....... If it joined the war, America was not going to sit by and watch the British system of Empire stultify the growth of every country in Asia and half the countries in Europe to boot."
In Nov 1940 an American audit of the British Empire's finances revealed Britain's inability to pay for any assistance that they were seeking, Britain was bankrupt.
America felt that Britain was losing the war and refused to accept British currency.
Seizing the opportunity America forced Britain to hand over all its assets in America and to physically ship Britain's complete gold reserves to America as guarantee of payment for supplies.
In March 1941 America relented and decided for noble reasons to support the Allies which included the British, Soviets, and Chinese unconditionally. America instituted the Lend-Lease program. This was essentially an unlimited supply of weapons, ammunition and materials virtually free of cost to the Allies, but which cost America** US$ 40 billion at that time. (Estimated value in 2017, US$ 700 billion)
This factor which placed an abundant quantity of superior equipment and technology in the hands of Allied Forces in a timely manner, is the single greatest reason why the allies were able to win the war.
Atlantic Charter released copy 14 Aug 1941
The Atlantic Charter (click to enlarge)
After repeated requests by Churchill he met FDR secretly on Aug 14 1941 aboard the American heavy cruiser USS Augusta off the coast of Newfoundland. The two leaders issued a joint declaration entitled "The Atlantic Charter". It detailed the goals and aims of the Allied powers concerning the war and the postwar world.
The eight principal points of the Charter were:
1. No territorial gains were to be sought by the United States or the United Kingdom;
2. Territorial adjustments must be in accord with the wishes of the peoples concerned;
3. All people had a right to self-determination;
4. Trade barriers were to be lowered;
5. There was to be global economic cooperation and advancement of social welfare;
6. The participants would work for a world free of want and fear;
7. The participants would work for freedom of the seas;
8. There was to be disarmament of aggressor nations, and a common disarmament after the war.
After the war, a triumphant but tired and bankrupt Britain pressurised by America granted independence one by one to virtually all its colonies.
It is always fashionable to despise and criticise the powerful and wealthy, particularly if its a great nation like America.
Nevertheless India and all the former colonies of Britain owe a great debt of gratitude to America and Americans in their role for us regaining our freedom.
Written and posted: Indian independence day 15 Aug 2018 by Gurvinder Singh
Some other references:
America and its President FD. Roosevelt Hated The British Empire
Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War: Patrick J Buchanan