The British Empire’s southern Dominions and the emergence of the League of Nations “C” mandates, 1914–1926: Origins, administration and international oversight
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This thesis examines the impacts of changing international opinion during the First World War regarding the expansion of colonial Empires, in this particular case the British Empire, and the desire to prevent annexation and place captured territories into a system of international oversight. By examining the period 1914 – 1925, I clarify the process by which Great Britain and her Dominions moved from a political position of wishing to annex former German colonies to one of accepting and operating within a system of international oversight. The time period studied includes the arrival of the United States as a major international power that plays a major part in the establishment of the mandates system together with the emergence of the Dominions as equal partners within the empire. My research strategy includes an analysis of British Empire archival material and the League of Nations archival material. Data has been collected from archives, parliamentary papers, newspapers, and published reports as well as building upon the existing secondary sources. This thesis adds to the existing literature by examining the League of Nations C class Mandates administered by Britain and the Southern Dominions as a complete unit and demonstrates the complex international scene that was created both within the British Empire and at Geneva by the changing international order during the war period and its aftermath. We find areas of contention and conciliation on issues such as over of German property, the citizenship of Germans who remain, and sovereignty in a new internationalized imperial context. The obligations of the ‘sacred trust’ are embodied and measured on issues such as education and labour. The southern Dominions and the PMC both thought that educating the indigenous inhabitants and having them in gainful employment would slowly bring them to a civilized point. Against these measures the mandatory powers and mandate oversight system would be found wanting.
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