Algeria, Decolonisation, and the British Popular Press, 1954-1962.
Berkel, F.N. van
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Scholarship on decolonisation in Britain is still dominated by top-down approaches, with an emphasis on the ‘official mind’ of the British state and its ‘imperial endgame’. There are of course notable exceptions, but we still know little about what decolonisation meant, and was understood to be, to ordinary people. This thesis will argue that coverage of the Algerian War in Britain’s popular press confirmed to readers the inevitability of decolonisation and demonstrated that the British model of decolonisation was the way forward. Algeria, notorious even then for its brutality, ran parallel to colonial insurgencies in the British world, most notably Malaya, Kenya, and Cyprus. At a time of increasing international coverage, news and commentary about Algeria would have been read alongside reporting on Britain’s own colonial trouble-spots. Narratives of British decolonisation in the press and beyond can therefore be compared to how Algeria was written about, allowing us to understand how the conflict shaped British perceptions of imperial decline.