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The British Empire was the largest the world had known. It was said “the sun never sets on the British Empire,” as it was so large it covered all time zones. Britain had a small population and army so governing was done by inflicting a devastating military defeat on the conquered nation. The defeat was so great that would be no future resistance. It had the desired effect of scaring the locals into doing anything they could to maintain Britain’s favor. This kept the peace. Part of this would be selecting key locals to help the British rule. The British seemed to have a knack for selecting governors and magistrates that everyone hated. Just when tempers reached boiling point, the British would sail in to “save the day,” keeping everyone happy and thinking they were their friend. The area known as British Palestine was a prime example with the local governor going out of his way to stir up hatred among the peoples. Africa’s tribal in-fighting was stirred up there as well. India’s vast racism between tribes and religions (Hindu vs Islam) ensured that the populace (numbering in the millions) would never pose a threat to British rule. The few Indian revolts were brutally stopped with much loss of life. A lot of non-Christian religions do not preach kindness. So it was easy for Christian-raised officials to institute something as simple as clinics, soup kitchens and orphanages which made the people happy to be “British subjects.” National identity was boosted by the creation of regional regiments comprised of “locals.” For example, the “Khyber Rifles” were some of Afghanistan’s bravest and most fit fighters. Their uniforms were British but with colorful patches denoting their special status. To most Afghanis, the men were “their soldiers.” It helped people forget they were conquered. A closer look revealed the truth. The unit’s officers were all English. And the unit fought outside their area. This way, Afghani soldiers would never fight neighboring countries that might one day help them eject their British rulers. The British used the foreign units as front line troops in their battles elsewhere. This lessoned the burden on the home country when it came to ruling the faraway lands. As a result, tribal and religious fighting and racism left the locals dependent on Britain not only for safety but every aspect of day to day living. When bankruptcy unexpectedly hit the British, Dutch and French Empires, the locals were unprepared for the shock of being suddenly alone. The second world war left France and Holland in ruins and Britain broke. Neither nation had the finances to return to peace, as well as ruling nations far away. Britain secretly made plans to “grant independence” to their conquests. This complex process was condensed into a few days of pomp and ceremony and then overnight, the British were gone. Corrupt officials who had ruled cruelly to appease their colonial masters, now had to gain trust and respect from the very people they had been hurting. France took the practice too far and their withdrawal from Morocco, Algeria and Indo China was marked by bloody revenge. India especially would be left fractured and poor. India was known as the “Jewel In The Crown” of the British Empire for good reason. Most of the Royal Family’s Crown Jewels came from India. As you can imagine, that wealth disappeared when the British pulled out, along with valuables from Egypt, etc. The French and Dutch hit their African colonies equally hard and nations that could barely make do before, were now in poverty. Amidst all this chaos, the newly freed nations had to come up with a ruling class, a working class and a whole way of living and ruling themselves. This process took many years. The American promise of a new world (via the UN) and financial aid (Marshall Plan) ensured that most of the new countries did their best to fit in. The African tribal societies pulled together slightly but the Middle East...
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