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HIST 319 Britain, 1945 to the Present
Survey of recent British history, with emphasis on de-colonization, emergence of the welfare state, new social movements and patterns of immigration, and Britain's changing relationship with Europe.
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In 1945, Great Britain had just emerged victorious from the most devastating war in history and still controlled the largest empire the world has ever seen. Many people in the island nation and abroad assumed that the first industrial nation was in robust health and would naturally continue to play a leading international role during the decades ahead.
In 2019, the same country seems to be a very different place, gripped by unrest and a profound, long-standing malaise. The fallout from Brexit is merely the latest in a long series of events that many Britons see as indicative of decline and even decadence. Britain and its people seem to be in search of a role and an identity in the rapidly changing world of the 21st century
In this course, we will study the challenges that Britain has faced since the end of the Second World War. We will look at the creation of the welfare state, the demise of the British Empire, immigration and racial conflict, Swinging London and the 1960s, second-wave feminism, labor unrest and the decline of heavy industry, Thatcherite neo-liberal economics, and Tony Blairs New Labour.