Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Between 1919 and 1935, the lion’s share of the interwar era, the British government’s most important overriding task was constitutional reform of India. The subcontinent’s importance to Britain was undoubted: economically as an important trading partner and militarily a source of fighting men and material, as demonstrated in the Great War. However, scholars have relegated India to a relatively minor topic and instead have portrayed Britain’s interwar period as the era of appeasement. Appeasement only became an issue in 1935 and a major topic with the Munich crisis of September 1938. Voluminous press coverage of the India issue throughout the interwar period demonstrates that India was the major issue of the era, not just the final few years. This dissertation examines the coverage of the English press and the paramount issue in interwar Britain: The press played an important role in the debate over the political future of Britain’s most important possession as newspapers and periodicals still enjoyed a veritable monopoly in disseminating information; radio was still in its infancy and television only existed in research laboratories. The newspaper and periodical owners, editors, and leader writers, part of the “chattering class,” held enormous sway in setting the parameters and tone of the India debate: press views of the British imperial mission, Indians, as well as the reforms process colored the discussion over political changes on the subcontinent. Press coverage of the India issue also helped mold the identity of the Conservative Party, and, ultimately, of imperial Britain between the wars.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Veldman, Meredith



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History Commons