By R. F. Holland
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Additional resources for Britain and the Commonwealth Alliance 1918–1939
Coalitions of power in the world were too complex, too contradictory, too overlapping for such abstractions to have an easy validity. But, however illusory they may have been, such ideas were important if people (policymakers, bureaucracies and electorates) were to make sense of their political environment and formulate their self-interest. The inter-war Commonwealth had precisely this 'articulating' significance for Britain. It is with this general function in mind that we can turn to an essentially chronological study of Whitehall and the Commonwealth.
Personally I would sooner go to war with America than I would with France. ' 49 The conflict of British and American interests was evident in almost all the main issues of the day- naval power, trade policy, access to raw materials, the containment of Japan, and so on. But its most characteristic expression was a topic rarely dealt with in subsequent histories, but which is littered throughout the British records, public and private: the export of American culture and its head-on clash with 'British values'.
56 Canadian resistance to American expansion, Trappes-Lomax stressed, had to be nurtured by the export of rugby and cricket teams as an 'Imperial asset', and by the teaching of 'Imperial civics'- especially in Quebec. The Captain recognised, however, that the 'British' quality of Canadian thought did not mean the simple continuance of oldfashioned and sentimentalloyalism. A political nationalism expressed in the rhetoric of 'Canada First' was defining itself after the War as a shared assumption throughout Canadian affairs.