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Communications Under the SeasThe Evolving Cable Network and Its Implications$
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Bernard Finn and Daqing Yang

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012867

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012867.001.0001

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The Origins of Cable and Wireless Limited, 1918–1939: Capitalism, Imperialism, and Technical Change

The Origins of Cable and Wireless Limited, 1918–1939: Capitalism, Imperialism, and Technical Change

Chapter:
(p.81) 6 The Origins of Cable and Wireless Limited, 1918–1939: Capitalism, Imperialism, and Technical Change
Source:
Communications Under the Seas
Author(s):

Robert Boyce

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262012867.003.0056

This chapter, which gives an overview of the history of Cable and Wireless Limited, and the company’s effect on the industry, begins with the Imperial Wireless and Cable Conference in 1928 to engage a solution to the communications crisis that threatened the British Empire. This conference resulted in the reorganization of imperial communications, with nearly all involved companies merging into a single firm that would be Cable and Wireless Limited. The chapter provides the extensive background that preceded the merger, and how the creation of Cable and Wireless shows the challenges for Britain in maintaining balance between national security, the empire, and business during a time of fast-developing technology. The firm brought the industry away from globalization and created tension in Anglo-American relations. This reaction brings to light a paradox in the Cable and Wireless project: It was a response to growing fear and anxiety over American economic imperialism, but failed to unite the empire in the long run.

Keywords:   Cable and Wireless, communications crisis, imperial communications, Anglo-American relations, American economic imperialism

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