Over the last century, Britain has at least twice experienced shocks that would have smashed any other state on the world map to the nines. But Britain, like the Phoenix bird, not only rose from the ashes, but also invariably returned to the number of the world’s leading powers
The huge colonial possessions, the absolute superiority in industrial technologies and the standard military power multiplied by the truly heroic naval history, made Britain an absolute hegemon of the XIX century.
However, the twentieth century brought the British and their Crown so many trials and shocks that it would hardly have been a historian who would not have been surprised that by the end of the century there were no more traces left on the map of the world from the UK than, for example, from the Commonwealth today .
But we have what we have.
Great Britain, after conceding many positions, did not just return to the top of international politics, renewing the meaning and composition of the union of several peoples, seriously reforming and consolidating it, but gained the influence that so little will dovetail with the customary signatures on international instruments and agreements, but so expensive and It is important when it comes to specifics.
The Beginning of the First
As always, everything was predetermined by the economy. Young “wolves” – the United States and Germany – slowly overpowered the aging leader of the pack, resting on the laurels of the former greatness. They built their industry using more modern and progressive technologies and gradually displaced British products not only from domestic markets, but also on the world market.
So, another 1870 Britain in the main economic indicator of that era – the production of cast iron – exceeded Germany four times, the United States – in three. And already in 1913 the picture changed beyond recognition. Once the leader of the “world cast iron artel” reduced production to a level three times smaller than in the US, and half as much as in Germany.
The Americans also pushed Britain to the “agrarian approaches”. The use of steam engines for the marine fleet made it economically feasible to regularly intercontinental transportation of goods. As a result, the British not only lost export markets in Europe, but also had to put up with the fall in grain prices on the domestic market. This was the first serious economic blow for Foggy Albion, because agriculture was still one of the key economic-forming industries in the UK.
But there is no thin without good: the military and chemical industries remained profitable, where capital outflow from other industries began. Yesterday’s agrarian peers were on the verge of bankruptcy, while industrialists and “travelers” only grew stronger. So, at the end of the XIX century, Britain produced 58% of all ships in the world and extracted 9 out of 10 diamonds on the planet.
All this provided almost the main factor of world domination of Great Britain – the fact that the main unit of international payments was the British pound sterling.
Experienced historians agree that unlike the Second World War, the cause of the First was not so much an economic crisis as an increase in competition between “old” and “new” players of the international export race to Europe. This is also confirmed by its result: the map of the world after World War I turned out to be substantially redrawn, and the same Britain lost most of its colonial possessions.
It would be a good time to write off the Great Empire from the accounts. But it was not there.
An unexpected role of the catalyst for the economic development of the country was played by an ornate history with the separation of the Free Irish state.