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Anglo-American relations and the intangibles of ‘specialness’

This book examines how intangible aspects of international relations – including identity, memory, representation, and symbolic perception – have helped to stimulate and sustain the Anglo-American special relationship. Drawing together world-leading and emergent scholars, this volume breaks new ground by applying the theories and methodologies of the ‘cultural turn’ in diplomatic history to the study of Anglo-American relations. It contends that matters of culture have been far more important to the special relationship than previously allowed in a field hitherto dominated by interest-based interpretations of American and British foreign policies. Fresh analyses of cultural symbols, discourses, and ideologies fill important gaps in our collective understanding of the special relationship’s operation and expose new analytical spaces in which we can re-evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. Designed to breathe new life into old debates about the relationship’s purported specialness, this book offers a multidisciplinary exploration of literary representations, screen representations, political representations, representations in memory, and the roles of cultural connections and constructs that have historically influenced elite decision-making and sculpted popular attitudes toward and expectations of the special relationship. This book will be of particular interest to students and informed readers of Anglo-American relations, foreign policy, and diplomatic history, as well as all those who are interested in the power of culture to impact international relations.

Open Access (free)
Jeffrey Flynn

hard to deny the ‘special relationship between photography and humanitarianism’ ( Fehrenbach and Rodogno, 2015 : 4). Advances in technology, such as the portable Kodak introduced by George Eastman in 1888, secured this connection just before and after the turn of the nineteenth century, as images from multiple waves of Indian famine were disseminated (1876–78, 1896–97, 1899–1900) and ‘atrocity photographs’ distributed by The Congo Reform Association (1903–13) generated moral

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Robert M. Hendershot
and
Steve Marsh

Culture, both as a focus of analysis and as an applied methodology, has long been marginalized in the study of the Anglo-American special relationship in favor of (neo)realist and functionalist analyses centered upon power, interest, and mutual utility calculations. The product is a substantial (and increasingly conspicuous) historiographical gap in the field, and within the extant literature frequent but unsatisfying allusions to the influence of ‘sentiment’ and anecdotal emotional ties within relations between the United States and the United Kingdom. By

in Culture matters
Steve Marsh

INTRODUCTION Anglo-American relations assumed their modern form as a result of pre-existing sentiment, interests, and shared experiences being given shape through discourse and, especially, their encapsulation in a simple, easily identifiable, and preferential nomenclature: the special relationship. Yet there is an anomaly in play. On the one hand, the term is nowadays instantly recognizable shorthand for Anglo-American relations. On the other, it gained political and popular traction only from the 1950s onwards, after the objective peak of what it is

in Culture matters
Anglo-American ironies under Clinton, Blair, and Bush
David Ryan

INTRODUCTION Culture matters – it united Clinton and Blair, then Blair and Bush. They inherited and shared a political discourse, shared memories constructed on the ‘special relationship,’ a shared propensity to lead, a cultural affinity, and personal friendships. When British prime minister Tony Blair entered 10 Downing Street in 1997, his close relations with US presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush began another chapter in the affinity between US and UK leaders built on the famous relationship that Churchill coined as ‘special’ in Fulton, Missouri in

in Culture matters
P. G. Wodehouse, transatlantic romances in fiction, and the Anglo-American relationship
Finn Pollard

-American Centenary Projects and the Lincoln Statue Controversy, 1910–1927, ’ in T. G. Otte , The Age of Anniversaries: The Cult of Commemoration, 1895–1925 ( London : Routledge , 2018 ), 126 – 146 . 69 Grey of Fallodon, Twenty-Five Years: 1892–1916 ( London : Hodder & Stoughton , 1926 ), Vol. II, 85 . The whole chapter (pp. 83 – 98 ) is instructive on the relationship. See also David G. Haglund , ‘ Is There a “Strategic Culture” of the Special Relationship? Contingency, Identity, and the Transformation of Anglo-American Relations, ’ in Alan P. Dobson and

in Culture matters
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German–Israeli relations between past and future
Lorena De Vita

– including, but not limited to, the German–Israeli case – are not defined by overall constant harmony. Rather, they are supported by the existence of cooperative frameworks that allow countries or groups to manage or resolve differences. As later events illustrate only too well, the formalisation of diplomatic relations between the Federal Republic and Israel in 1965 did not reduce the difficulties characterising much of the ‘special relationship’. These included the mutual recriminations in the wake of the 1973 war; 35 sorrow and outrage following the massacre of the

in Israelpolitik
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Culture, ‘specialness,’ and new directions
Robert M. Hendershot
and
Steve Marsh

It is special. It just is. And that’s that. Margaret Thatcher 2 The fundamental objective of this project was to make a simple, perhaps seemingly self-evident point: culture matters to the vitality of the Anglo-American special relationship and to our understanding of it. By adopting a suggestive rather than prescriptive approach to how culture matters, the chapters of this volume have done more than illuminate myriad Anglo-American cultural interconnections. Rather, through their diverse methodologies and topics, they have also expanded the boundaries

in Culture matters
Evaluating commemoration and generational transmission of the special relationship
Robert M. Hendershot

in the Outer Banks directly echo the official diplomatic rhetoric that British and American leaders have consistently employed to describe the Anglo-American special relationship in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 3 The monuments and associated services in Ocracoke and Hatteras are not unique; rather they fit a much broader pattern of Anglo-American memorials and commemorations on both sides of the Atlantic. When analyzed cumulatively, this pattern reveals the existence of a distinct Anglo-American identity as well as a version of history that depicts

in Culture matters
Srdjan Vucetic

Always far more special in London than in Washington, the so-called Anglo-American (i.e. UK–US) special relationship has greatly influenced British foreign policy for at least seven decades, and it continues to influence it under the conditions of ‘Brexit’ and the radical presidency of US president Donald Trump. This is most clearly evident in Britain’s strategy and operations in security and military matters, including the British nuclear deterrent, intelligence, and counter-terrorism. How do we explain this phenomenon? In a recent study, I have argued that

in Culture matters