Britain, South African gold, and the sterling area, 1945–50

Tim Rooth

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Despite its economic importance to Britain and to the sterling area at a critical time in the late 1940s, the role of South Africa has been largely neglected. During the war and post-war years the Empire-Commonwealth and the sterling area assumed an unprecedented significance in Britain’s economic survival and in its attempt to maintain its international status. As the post-war economic crisis deepened, drawing many Commonwealth countries into greater interdependence, the ability of the sterling area to obtain gold and dollars emerged as a critical constraint on the economic prospects of its members. To ease the operations of the sterling area the British monetary authorities had hoped to be able to draw heavily on South African gold as it had in the 1930s and during the war.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)93-114
    Number of pages22
    JournalThe Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004


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