Jeremy Paxman: British Empire was an Amazing ThingRoundup: Talking About History
Jeremy Paxman's 'Empire’ starts on BBC One on Feb 27 at 9pm
The history of the British empire is full of amazing stories of adventure, of war, of greed and plunder, cruelty and courage, heroism and low cunning. It explains so much about who we are now, yet we increasingly pretend it never happened.
It’s nothing short of a scandal that this history is not taught in schools. It may be unfashionable to say so, but building, securing and running an empire was the biggest international preoccupation of this country for generations.
Imperial history explains both why Britain has a seat on the UN Security Council and the readiness of British prime ministers to commit British troops to overseas wars.
But it goes much further, too. The empire reshaped our education system and redefined how we think of ourselves. It was the trigger for much post-war immigration, and anything that changes the very genetic make-up of the population can hardly be dismissed as superficial....
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