Continuity and Discontinuity in British Imperialism 1815–1914

  • Paul Kennedy
Part of the Problems in Focus Series book series


It is difficult to think of a debate in historical scholarship which has not raised problems of continuity. Despite the concentration by historians upon events which they may variously describe as ‘turning-points’ or ‘new eras’ or ‘revolutions’, no writer has ever really meant that everything in a particular society was suddenly altered. Although many things changed during a period of political and social turbulence such as the French Revolution or the Great War, others remained the same. Furthermore, even features which appeared at first sight to have been radically transformed often reveal upon closer inspection a less substantial break with the past; the National Socialist ‘revolution’ of 1933, to take but one example, is nowadays represented by some historians as an alteration of degree, not of kind, with the foreign and domestic policies of Weimar Germany. Change is often less drastic than the contemporary observers of events imagine, and continuities abound even when dramatic shifts of policy seem to be taking place.


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Notes and References

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© Paul Kennedy 1984

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  • Paul Kennedy

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