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Relationship between Britain and the United States during the Eden and Macmillan Administrations

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SINCE THE END OF WORLD WAR II, A ROMANTICISED ‘SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP’ between the United States and Britain has been referenced on countless occasions in speeches, books, and essays by academics and statesmen on both sides of the Atlantic.  The relationship has multiple definitions, with no precise doctrine or formal agreement that outlines its tenets, and has been apparent in a myriad of interactions between the two countries.

It is visibly apparent culturally as the United States evolved from a nucleus of British settlers to become an English-speaking country, sharing with Great Britain ‘joint aims’ and a ‘common heritage’, as is often referenced in political rhetoric, and by David Watt in his introduction to the book The Special Relationship (D. Watt 1).  Yet this perceived relationship between these two countries has gone beyond a joint appreciation for the literature of William Shakespeare and the flavour of a Burger King Whopper to become manifest in political and military relations between the United States and Britain.

Winston Churchill was first to prominently recognise an Anglo-American ‘special relationship’, stating in the years immediately following World War II that he saw the relationship between the US and the UK as an ‘alliance of equals’, according to Sir Michael Howard in the Afterward of The Special Relationship (Howard 387).  Howard writes that Britain in general saw the ‘special relationship’ as a vehicle for the United States ‘to accept and underwrite Britain’s status as a coequal world power’ (387).

As time passed, however, Britain’s standing a Great Power quickly diminished.  Despite this, British possession of nuclear weapons, United Nations Security Council membership, access to political an...


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...Ernest R. and Gregory F. Treverton.  ‘Defence Relationships: American Perspectives’. The Special Relationship.  Ed. William Rogers Louis and Hedley Bull.  Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1986.  161-184.
Perkins, Bradford.  ‘Unequal Partners: The Truman Administration and Great Britain’. The Special Relationship.  Ed. William Rogers Louis and Hedley Bull.  Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1986.  43-64.
Rothwell, Victor.  Anthony Eden.  Manchester: Manchester U.P., 1992.
Walker, Martin.  The Cold War.  London:  Fourth Estate Ltd., 1993.
Watt, D. Cameron.  ‘Demythologising the Eisenhower Era’. The Special Relationship.  Ed. William Rogers Louis and Hedley Bull.  Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1986.  65-86.
Watt, David.  ‘Introduction: The Anglo-American Relationship’.  The Special Relationship.  Ed. William Rogers Louis and Hedley Bull.  Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1986.  1-16.


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