Principled failure: British policy toward Rhodesia, 1971-72

Assorted Materials

The History Review 2004. Copyright Johnny Ryan 2004.


The choice lies starkly between a compromise settlement, which by definition will not satisfy anyone but which will gain for the Africans substantial new opportunities for advancement, and a rapid and complete polarisation of the races and the prospect of conflict.[1]

In May 1972 the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary told the British Parliament that the peoples of Rhodesia stood at the crossroads between two destinies: they could accept a compromise settlement or suffer total racial polarisation and civil war. By then, the choice was already made. Despite attempts to initiate dialogue between the European and African parties in Rhodesia, British diplomacy failed to avert slaughter.

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About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at

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