By D. K. Fieldhouse
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Additional info for Colonialism 1870–1945: An Introduction
Thus in 1937 the Italian Minister ofColonies was given the new title Minister ofItalian Africa to reflectthe conquest ofEthiopia and for two years, from November 1937 to October 1939, Mussolini hirnself held this post to emphasize its importance. Apart from one or more political heads, these ministries were staffed by professional civil servants who spent a lifetime on the job and acquired a vast body of knowledge along with many prejudices. They, rat her than the political ministers, COLONIALISM 1870-1945 27 whose tenure of office was usually short, moulded the character of modern colonialism.
C. Bureaucracy in the colonies Non-political, bureaucratic imperial government at the centres of empire was duplicated in the local colonial administration. Some special features of the British and French systems will be described below, but virtually all government in the tropical colonies had common elements . Since, as has been seen, representative parliaments were very rare before 1945- India, Ceylon, Indonesia and some West Indian islands were the only dependencies to have these, and even so with many restrictions on their powers - government consisted of officials, appointed and removable by the metropolitan authorities and thus in no sense responsible to those they ruled .
Contrasting attitudes to colonial administration : Britain, France and other powers In retrospect the common characteristics of all the modern colonial systems that have been outlined above seem more important than differences between the attitudes and practices of individual states. Yet at the time , and still in the mythology of particular European and ex-colonial states, emphasis was placed on differences of approach which expressed the peculiar character of individual countries and colonies.