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Britain, Kenya and the Cold War Imperial Defence, Colonial Security and Decolonisation by David Percox

Britain, Kenya and the Cold War Imperial Defence, Colonial Security and Decolonisation


Britain, Kenya and the Cold War Imperial Defence, Colonial Security and Decolonisation by David Percox

Far from having to 'scram from Africa' following the abandonment of her 'East of Suez' role, and despite the problems of Mau Mau, and the even the Suez debacle on a larger international stage, Britain continued to vigorously pursue imperial African interests. And Kenya was centre-stage. Much scholarship has been devoted to the Emergency (1952-60), fear of a post-Mau Mau civil war, de-colonization and setting up independent Kenya but little on British policy in pursuing her vital interests beyond independence. Britain, Kenya and the Cold War , shows Britain maintaining her strategic priorities in Kenya - cultivating the moderate Kenyatta government, giving up the unacceptable colonial army base, but retaining military camps, rights of overflying, staging and training, and arming and training the Kenyan military, including internal security. Kenyan de-colonization and British defence interests were intimately linked and vital within the context of the Cold War and East-West regional rivalry.


'David Percox tells us, for the first time, and from intimate, previously secret, primary sources, the fascinating early history of this military relationship between Britain and Kenya. Kenya was never merely a 'Happy Valley'
of aristocratic white settlement. In the First World War it was the base from which the Kaiser was driven out of East Africa and, in the Second, from which Mussolini was ejected from Ethiopia. The British army re

-learned its guerrilla tactics in order to defeat Mau Mau in Kenya's forests, and looked to a Kenya base for conducting an 'East of Suez
strategy during the Cold War. No wonder the British protected and armed the man they had most feared, Jomo Kenyatta, erstwhile

'leader to darkness and death'
transformed into robust Cold War ally. Percox ends this first

-rate study by giving neo-colonialism a precise, ironic, and martial meaning.' - John Lonsdale, Emeritus Professor of Modern African History, University of Cambridge;

'The historical study of Kenya's decolonization, always a popular topic in African historiography, has reached a new stage... David Percox, drawing on newly accessible colonial records at the British Public Record Office and concentrating on defence and security issues, argues that the pathway to the transfer of power was far from the orderly one that recent historical studies have proposed.' - Robert Tignor, Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, Princeton University

About the Author

David Percox carried out his research at the Department of History, University of Nottingham.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th March 2012


David Percox

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Tauris Academic Studies an imprint of I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.


256 pages


International relations
Colonialism & imperialism
Battles & campaigns



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