Does the Boer War Change Britain’s Imperial Position? Essay

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Does the Boer War change Britain’s Imperial position? Before WW1 Britain's main priority was its empire. It had a lot of global influence in the pre-nuclear, euro-centred, imperialist era. Between 1870 and 1914 the empire became a vital contributor to the export growth. By 1914 over a third of British exports went to the empire. Empire also untied people with a sense of patriotism and national identity, people saw themselves as members of the greatest nation on Earth. Despite all of this, even before 1914 the empire was beginning to show signs of strain, the Boer War was one of the first significant impacts in Britain's (and the rest of the world’s) view on imperialism and Britain. The Boer War (1899-1902) was fought directly against the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, in which the Boers were defeated first in open warfare and then in a long and bitter guerrilla campaign. During the war controversial methods like concentration camps and scorched earth policy were used to win the war. Once this was made public via the press, there was outrage from both the public at home and other European countries. It also provides some stepping stone for nationalism to spread around the empire, while this all happened, it’s hard to say if Britain’s imperial position did change, after the first (and even second) world war, empire had actually grown; statistically speaking, the Boer War does not have an impact upon empire physically, it stays very much intact. Some events during the war suggested that there was widespread support for bringing the Boers under control, the 1900 election, the ‘khaki election’, was a conservative victory. It appeared as if popular support lay with the government that took the country to war. Despite this, the media coverage of the war showed that 110,000 civilians were in concentration camps by the end of the war and the revealing of scorched

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