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The Colonial Office and the Retreat from Aden: Great Britain in South Arabia, 1957–1967


British geostrategic considerations underwent an ad hoc metamorphosis during the decade following Great Britain’s retreat from formal territorial empire (1957 – 67). This essay investigates the shifting roles envisioned by British policymakers for vestigial colonial holdings in the Arabian Peninsula, specifically the Colony of Aden and Protectorate of Aden. Throughout the decade in question, policies regarding the burgeoning Cold War, the decline of formal empire, and Britain’s role in the world as an independent power and key partner of the United States became differentiated from initial postwar positions. Aden played a vital role in this decision making while providing a rough proxy of larger geopolitical trends.

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