Thwarting Thatcher: Britain, Nigeria and the Rhodesian Crisis in 1979
On 4 May 1979, Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives trounced James Callaghan’s Labour Party at the polls. The outcome was generally attributed to a decade of economic stagnation and social unrest that had culminated in the ‘winter of discontent’. Although the election had been fought primarily over domestic issues, the change in governments raised considerable uncertainty as to the direction of Britain’s African policy. In particular, international commentators wondered if the election of a Conservative Government would alter Britain’s policy towards its rebellious colony of Rhodesia (known briefly in 1979 as Zimbabwe-Rhodesia).
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