The Commonwealth

  • John W. Wheeler-Bennett


IT was King George VI who described the reaction of a foreigner to the British Commonwealth of Nations as that of the man who, on first seeing a giraffe, exclaimed : ‘There ain’t no such animal.’1 His Majesty made this remark in 1939, before the outbreak of war, apropos of the fact that two of his Commonwealth Prime Ministers, General Hertzog of South Africa and Mr de Valera of Eire, had been in arms against the Crown, and the grandfather of a third, Mr Mackenzie King of Canada, had had a price set upon his head by the British government. If this description was applicable in 1939 it is even more so in 1966 when at least half a dozen of the leaders of Commonwealth nations have been at one time or another in their careers detained at the pleasure of the sovereign as political prisoners. Since the halcyon days of the Roman Empire the world has never seen a political combination such as the British Commonwealth, which, though oft beset by grave difficulties, is still able to evolve and assimilate, to adjust and survive ; not always in the same form, not always under the same formula, but, nevertheless, to survive.


Prime Minister Dominion Status British Government British Rule Wealth Relation 
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© John W. Wheeler-Bennett 1967

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  • John W. Wheeler-Bennett

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