Live and let live

Britain and Portugal's imperial endgame (1945-75)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of this article is to provide an assessment of the interplay between Britain and Portugal in the three decades that witnessed the dissolution of their respective colonial empires. Operating within an authoritarian framework, Portugal's decision-makers were largely exempt from the pressures that in other European democracies contributed to accelerate the pace of decolonization. They were therefore keen to forge a close (and, seen retrospectively, dangerous) connection between the fate of the dictatorship in the metropolis and the survival of Portugal's rule in the overseas provinces. The article examines the destabilizing impact of Britain's colonial retreat on Portugal's empire and tries to make sense of the factors that held back successive British governments from assuming a more critical posture towards the Estado Novo's policies. The article shows that although strategic and tactical calculations may have been paramount in the formulation of Britain's policies towards Portugal, the Foreign Office's historically benign posture vis-à-vis the dictatorship in Lisbon was also a factor to be taken into account. A final section briefly considers how the simultaneous 'regime change' in London and Lisbon in 1974 allowed the UK to play a small but not insignificant role in the final states of Portugal's decolonization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-208
Number of pages23
JournalPortuguese Studies
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Fingerprint

Portugal
decolonization
dictatorship
metropolis
overseas
decision maker
regime
democracy
Posture
Lisbon
Decolonization
Dictatorship

Keywords

  • Anglo-Portuguese relations
  • British foreign policy
  • Decolonization
  • Empires

Cite this

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Live and let live : Britain and Portugal's imperial endgame (1945-75). / Oliveira, Pedro Aires.

In: Portuguese Studies, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2013, p. 186-208.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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