British Empire
The end of the British empire - India
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A speech made by Winston Churchill in 1931
(G Bennett, The Concept of Empire, 1953)
  • This is an extract from a book that reports the text of a speech made by the MP Winston Churchill. Churchill gave the speech on 23rd February 1931. At this time the government was bringing in a series of measures giving some independence to India. Churchill was explaining why he opposed these measures.
  • In the 1930s Churchill was a marginalised figure in British politics. It was much later, in 1940, when he became Prime Minister and a war hero.
  • In 1931 very few people agreed with him about the need for Britain to hold on to its empire. You may have come across him being opposed to the Statute of Westminster in 1931 in the first case study of this gallery.
  • Churchill's speech sums up the reasons why many British people felt that British rule was superior to any other kind of rule. He felt that British rule was honest and just. He was also concerned that Indians would not rule India for the good of all Indians.
  • Admirers of British rule felt that Indians were better off being ruled by the British. As you can read in source 2 of this case study, not everyone agreed!
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