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Old March 29th, 2012, 07:59 PM   #41
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Old March 29th, 2012, 07:59 PM   #42

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Of course the title contained a political message. Of course it was constructed. I'll leave out the "emotive" words bizarre and hot air, the only thing they add to the discussion is your opinion. So Great Britain was only a kingdom? So what were all the bits she controlled? Weren't they, on your own admission, Empire?
Are you saying Britain was alone in creating a title.? I think not. Remember Maximillian I. Remember Napoleon ? Every leader adopts a title. The fact that it may have historical precedence changes nothing. A title is the appellation the people accept.
And the attack on me concerning my use of the phrase "emotive words, simply makes you look foolish. Emotive in the phrase refers to your choice of words and not my reaction.
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Old March 29th, 2012, 08:08 PM   #43
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I have said this many times, it's not GDP, but debt.
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Old March 29th, 2012, 08:10 PM   #44
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Old March 30th, 2012, 09:24 AM   #45

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Old March 30th, 2012, 07:06 PM   #46

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Originally Posted by spellbanisher View Post
As already been noted, the British Empire was much larger in economic power than any of their allies. If you look at GDP in 1913 from various regions

In billions of dollars (1990 dollars)

United States: 517.383
UK: 224.618
Germany: 237.332
India: 204.242
Africa: 79.486
China: 241.4

List of regions by past GDP (PPP) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Add up India and the UK and you get 428.8 billion, compared to 237 billion for Germany. Even throwing in colonies in Africa and other places the British Empires GDP would not equal that of the United States. But the United States largely operated in a different sphere than Europe, exercising its hegemony in Latin America and parts of the Pacific, like the Philippines and Hawaii. But the British is still predominant because

1. It had the largest navy, and therefore the greatest ability to project power
2. It exercised hegemony over more lives than any other western power.
3. It controlled more land than any other western power.
The redistribution of "Empire" by which I mean control over other nations, was undergoing massive change at the beginning of the 20th C. Britain was established while Austro Hungary and the Ottoman Empires were in decline. I had mentioned that Disraeli's construct was in direct response to what he saw as the growing imbalance in Europe.
The position of the USA at this time is interesting.. It's rapid expansion took place after Disraeli's move. First of course is the expansion westwards. This opened up land for farming and cattle raising that would be able to support a larger population. And of course that population was coming with the waves of migrants. Where a country has the capacity to absorb them, migrants are an advantage to a country. In very simple terms they provide both a workforce and a market. Then, of course we have oil. It had not reached the power and influence it was later to achieve but it was there and growing.
Rightly you point out that America's view was not towards Europe but the Pacific region. It is a point we might discuss here as to the effect WW I had in drawing America into Europe. In turn how much did that serve to increase American power and reduce Britain's?
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Old April 1st, 2012, 08:38 AM   #47

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Originally Posted by Bismarck View Post
People's attitudes necessarily lag behind real-world developments, so the 1920's saw many people assume Britain remained all-powerful, but the rot had already set in by then.
Perhaps that's why the US manages to stay so strong. It's been so pessimistic about itself since the establishment of the republic.

1786-1787: Shay's rebellion, we're done for!
1787-1800: The British and Spanish will kill us!
1800-1815: The French or British will get us!
1846: Dammit Mexico!
1861-1865: The country's collapsing!
1920s: Red Scare! Communists!
1930s: Great Depression!
1940-1945: Krauts and Japanese people!
1945-1990: Soviets!
1960s: We're losing in Vietnam! We're done for! More Soviets!
1980s: It's the return of the Japanese people!
Late 80s: Economy is in the crapper! AAAAAH!
2000s: We can't win in Iraq and Afghanistan! It's the end of an era! It's Vietnam all over again!
2008: Financial Meltdown! Economy melting down! We're done for!
Now: China's gonna overtake us!

The US has a REALLY long history of Pessimism. Can't become overconfident if you're constantly beating yourself down...
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Old April 1st, 2012, 08:44 AM   #48

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Originally Posted by The Harlech man View Post
I have said this many times, it's not GDP, but debt.
No it's not. The US has more debt than any other country, and China owns more debt than any other country, but China is still the one dependent on the United States.
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Old April 2nd, 2012, 05:07 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Guaporense View Post
Nobel prizes per country 1901-1930, only counting Physics, Chemistry and Medicine,
(methodology: affiliated institution determines the nation in which the prize is allocated, i.e. if someone is born in Hungary but worked in Berlin, the prize goes to Germany)


Germany - 10
France - 7
UK - 7
Netherlands - 4
Sweden - 2
USA - 3
Italy - 1
Denmark - 1
India - 1


Germany - 13
UK - 5
France - 4
Sweden - 3
USA - 1
Switzerland - 1
Austria - 1


Germany - 5
France - 5
UK - 4
Denmark - 3
Netherlands - 2
Austria - 2
Sweden - 1
USA - 1
Belgium - 1
Russia - 1
Switzerland - 1
Italy -1
Canada - 1
Spain - 1


Germany - 28
France - 16
UK - 16
Netherlands - 6
Sweden - 6
USA - 5
Denmark - 4
Austria - 3
Switzerland - 2
Italy - 2
Canada - 1
India - 1
Spain - 1
Russia - 1
Belgium -1

total: 91 prizes

distribution among the continents:

Europe - 84 prizes
Americas - 6 prizes
Asia - 1 prize

British Empire? huh? Germany 28 prizes versus only 18 for the British Empire from 1901 to 1930.
I find it interesting to look at the number of Nobel prizes per capita.

When it comes to the number of Nobel laureates per 10 million people, Britain ranks 9th (the highest rank of any large nation), with 18.82 Nobel laureates per 10 million people; Germany ranks 13th, with 12.642 Nobel laureates per 10 million people; the US ranks 15th, with 10.673 Nobel laureates per 10 million people; and France ranks a lowly 18th, with 8.909 Nobel laureates per 10 million people.

Not only that, but the clever British invented the modern world. Almost every major invention of the last 200 years or so has been British.

The British invented or discovered the television, the telephone, the computer, the World Wide Web, the jet engine, the trains and railways, the lawnmower, the Christmas card, the Valentine card, the postage stamp, the pencil, the clockwork radio, the cardiac pacemaker, shorthand, mobile phone text messaging, the typewriter, HTTP, HTML, DNA fingerprinting, iris recognition, the adjustable spanner, the gas turbine, the internal combustion engine, the lighbulb, the iron bridge, the hydraulic crane, football, rugby, cricket, golf, tennis, table tennis, hockey, badminton, modern boxing, darts, snooker, rounders, bowls, the modern Olympics, the Paralympics, the Lonsdale Belt, polo, Thoroughbred Horseracing, the tank, the fighter aircraft, the Dreadnought, the Bouncing Bomb, the depth charge, the stun grenade, the rubber band, the tin can, the lighswitch, the dishwasher, the electric toaster, the mousetrap, the corkscrew, the tin can, the fire extinguisher, the microchip, the wind tunnel, the concertina, the tuning fork, the motion picture camera, the movie projector, cinematography, the mathematical equals sign, calculus, the Faraday cage, infrared radiation, holography, the discovery of gravity, evolution, oxygen, the atom, the electron, the proton, the neutron, dinosaurs, Uranus, Triton, the planetarium, spiral galaxies, the structure of DNA, the cat's eye, the seat belt, traffic lights, the hovercraft, the lifeboat, the sextant, the diving bell, the hydrofoil, the screw propellor, SS Great Britain - the world's first steam-powered, screw propeller-driven passenger liner with an iron hull, the rubber balloon, plastic, plasticene, carbonated soft drinks, the friction match, the arts festival, the music festival, the literary festival, the Metric system, the railway ticket, the Boy Scouts, the Venn Diagram, bangers and mash, fish and chips, black pudding, bubble and squeak, cheddar cheese, the Cornish pasty, the Kendal mint cake, jellied eels, ice cream, Lancashire hotpot, Marmite, the pancake, the pork pie, the Scotch egg, gravy, Yorkshire pudding, Sunday Roast, Toad in the Hole, Shepherd's Pie and the sandwich.

And the scary thing is, that about 99% of those inventions and discoveries came from Englishmen. I've not even mentioned the discoveries made by the Scots (who gave us things like Tarmac, the ultrasound scanner and the US Navy) and Welsh.

While Britain had a stronger navy, France had a stronger army than Britain after WW1 until WW2.
And Britain had the largest airforce in the world after WWI, with 23,000 aircraft, so I make that 2-1 to Britain.

Overall, one cannot say that the UK was the undisputed superpower of the world from 1901 to 1930. It was a 3-way cut: Germany, France and Britain, with Germany as the strongest of the three.
The UK was the world's strongest military power and ruled over a vast empire that encompassed a fifth of the world's people and a quarter of the world's land area.

What was Germany's empire like?

As Blackadder said in the BBC comedy series Blackadder Comes Forth (1989) which was set during WWI: "George, the British Empire at present covers a quarter of the globe, while the German Empire consists of a small sausage factory in Tanganyika."

I would say that Britain was a greater power than Germany.

The British Empire held vast territories outside Europe, yes, but that didn't matter: what mattered was North Western Europe, plus Italy, Russia and the US to a smaller extent.
Rubbish. Britain ruled India, which, in 1918, was a country of 400 million people.

such as France, which was small in physical terms but when WW1 happened, France outproduced UK and Britain and came close to Germany in overall output of materials. In terms of Nobel prizes the US was outprized by Sweden and Netherlands, small European countries.
In 1905, the UK produced 236,128,936 tons of coal, twice as much as Germany, and France produced just 35,869,497 tons of coal. I hardly think they caught up to Britain by WWI.

Last edited by Brunel; April 2nd, 2012 at 05:20 AM.
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Old April 2nd, 2012, 05:27 AM   #50

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In the 1880s the principle of a command Empire was already becoming a bit wobbly. Canada was already a dominion and most places with any substantial settlement had been granted "responsible self-government". Jo Chamberlain was pushing a forward colonial policy but others were promoting the idea of an Imperial Federation. The concept was that there would be one Super-Parliament at Westminster that would include MPs from every part of the Empire (suitable weighted of course) with an Imperial government composed of ministers from any part of the Empire while individual territories and colonies would have internal self-government. The concept had substantial support, especially in Canada where some politicians were wary of American designs on the country and Victoria, Australia prior to Australian Federation. The idea was seen as the alternative to a fragmentation and dissolution of the Empire.
The Boer War actually strengthened the idea among "White" Dominions but the First World War really killed it off as Ireland and India demanded Home Rule and the "White" Dominions found their own clear identity.
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