The Britain-American Relationship Weakened Between 1945 and 1946
United States and United Kingdom have had historical relationships in diverse aspects of life. These include: diplomatic, political, economic, cultural and military. They have cooperated in economic issues, military planning, nuclear weapons and intelligence exchange in times of war. The United Kingdom and America have worked together during numerous wars which include both World War I and II, Korean War, Gulf War and the Cold War. Their strong relationship is said to have been reinforced by Winston Churchill who was the Prime minister of the UK. Military troops of both states have fought side by side in the World war.
Other than political friendship, Churchill is said to have personal bond with the Americans. For instance, his mother is said to have been an American (Wallace 263).
Areas of Cooperation
Military cooperation between these two states began long in 1941 with the creation of the famous Combined Chief of Staff military group. This was a combined military staff of persons who would exercise control over these two states. Though this military cooperation broke at the end of the Second World War, it was reconstructed at the start of the Cold War. In fact, the two forces are said to have shared military grounds that was in Great Britain. Other than having their military forces working together, these two made coalitions in developing nuclear weapons. This happened after passing of the Quebec Agreement that was signed in 1943. This was an agreement to allow the two States to join efforts in development of atomic weapons (McCausland 3-9).
As today, the United States stands to be the prime source of foreign direct investment to the United Kingdom. Similarly, UK remains to be the largest foreign investor in the US. Since the colonial period, British capital and trade have remained as the vital constituents of the US economy. The economic relationship between these two states has survived the test of times because it is symbiotic. This is to mean that both states benefit from the economic relations. Their trade ties have been made stronger by globalization as both states launched negotiations on currency and education reforms so as to make themselves competitive with India. The US ambassador in 2007 talked to business leaders from Britain on taking advantage of their special relationship. He said that these close ties could be used to enhance world trade and curb environmental pollution and terrorism.
Other than the state to state relationships, there exist personal relationships between key persons from the two states. For instance, the close ties between Clinton and Tony Blair. Also, the friendship between Obama, Gordon Brown and George Bush has existed for quite some time. During his campaign in 2007, President Obama said that he would restore the traditional close ties that had existed between the two states. During the first meeting between Obama and Brown in 2009, Obama said that Great Britain remains to be the closest ally to the US, and the existent bond is unbroken (Wallace 269-271).
The Cold War
The Сold War refers to the conflict that existed between the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States. Both were super power nations that sought to gain influence to the world on certain issues. Though it is referred to as war, this was not a war rather an ideological strife. The fact that these two differed in ideas as to how Russia should be run led to the break of the war. US was for the idea of individualism whereby every person would be free to invest anywhere in Europe. On the other side, Russia felt that it would be better community freedom than the individual freedom. In other words, Russia advocated for communism in which all community wealth would be owned by the government. Though these two states had supported each other till the end of the Second World War, their differences erupted thereafter (McCausland 17-20).
The first event that led to the rivalry was the move by the US to strengthen its economy in the western countries. In such a move, they coerced the western countries to support them in the Marshall plan, a business plan named after George Marshall who was Secretary of the United State. This was going to benefit the US heavily in terms of foreign exchange. In return, the Soviet State forced European countries to the East to create governments based on communism. In order to strengthen its military force, the US called upon an alliance with Britain. Britain provided support to the US in terms of atomic weapons and intelligence. Britain is known for nuclear weapons and thus US considered them very resourceful in terms of technology. The US knew that the nuclear weapon knowhow possessed by Britain would work well to intimidate Soviet States their counter parts. At this time, Britain was the only state that would match the technological knowhow of the Soviet State hence the consideration of its alliance with the US (Reynolds (2).
In the period between 1945 and 1946, the ties between United Kingdom and United States began deteriorating. The United States had convinced their partners, UK that the Marshall Plan would recover their economy. Britain had participated in funding war related issues such as military up keep and weapons purchase to the extent that its economy was falling. The falling economy raised the issue of the joint relationship between the UK and the United States. Earlier, the relationships were so beneficial such that the United States was ever determinant in all diplomacy issues of Britain. In fact, without the intervention and guidance of the US, nothing much would happen. Their relations remained tight in such vital areas like intelligence and joint military operations which remained firm to quite some time even after the end of the war. They exercised friendship through the exchange of staff persons and material equipments (Reynolds (2), 8 & 9).
It is however noted that, despite the close relationships between the two states, there were tensions that resided in the background. These were tensions on the management of Germany grounds, establishment of nuclear politics and provision of funds for reconstruction. In such, the US expressed interest to take over in case the United Kingdom felt that they were not in a position to undertake this job. The deteriorating relationship was marked by the choice of Britain to construct a nuclear bomb without involving America their allies. Other than involving them in the construction, Britain is said to have done that in secret. They even did not inform the US of the entire process till the end. This was a sign of disagreement over nuclear technology between the two states.
Another factor that led to the lessened ties between these two close states was the suspicion on the intentions of the US and its reduced reliability to its partner. The UK suspected their partner’s intention to lose interest in them as soon as they had captured Germany. In several incidences, US exhibited cases of reliability or rather ignorance to their partners.
The Financial Agreement of 1945-1946
In 1945, the government of Britain launched negotiations with the government of the US over post war financial aid that would enable Britain enter into a partnership trade system. Negotiations took place over time with no significant grounds being reached. The UK anticipated for pleasant financial aid that would enable it recover its economy. The United Kingdom had invested so much of its resources in the war process. On the other side, the US saw a business opportunity in such an agreement. Though the pact was not pleasant enough, the United Kingdom had to fall by the provisions and sign against the imperfect terms. John Keynes heavily depended on loan from the US to enable reconstruct his nation’s financial grounds. At that time, the British government was economically suffering to the extent that it could not meet the basic needs of its people. This factor left the country at two cross roads to either let the conservatives take over via a general election or the Labor government would be forced to embark on socialist, radical trials in domestic policy. Such policies were an abomination to Bevin, Attlee, and Dalton and in addition they would lead to the elimination of the United States at a time when Britain needed them the most (Ikenberry 290 & 291).
The deteriorated economic state saw Britain play low in the political world affairs. It withdrew its role in both military and economic affairs since it was economically weak for such. Britain was being threatened by both the United State and the Soviet State in terms of economic power. In fact, US was a threat to Britain in economic terms only. Britain was said to have gone economically weak due to the reliance from the Marshall Plan. Therefore, Britain supported the interest of US for the sake of Turkey, Iran and Greece. The US connection was the key issue in the British foreign policy that was enacted in late in the year 1941. As common enemies, the two states launched an attack over the USSR with its communism. The so formed alliance gave rise to Anglo-American pact. The strength that political and economic strength rendered to this alliance would not have been attained by mere economic relations (Reynolds (2), 32).
During the entire financial negotiations that took place between US and UK, Truman administration persisted that any financial aid offered would be kept to the minimal. In addition, such financial aid would require interest and would also necessitate full conversion as early as at the time of issuance. The financial agreement that the US forced their counterparts UK to sign, turned out to be flawed and misleading. This is because the United States finance department turned out to be interested in making business other than helping its counterparts. Hence, it emerged with a lending plan for the UK that gave a fixed repayment schedule and terms that would not benefit the UK in recovering its economy. The two states went through a stretch of negotiations on loan to be issued to Great Britain by America. The United States terms of lending included tariffs, interest allied loan and immediate conversion which would lead to high costs to their allies. Both nations spent inestimable amount of time in the effort to reach consensus on the lending terms. In fact, the media criticized the representatives from both sides to have spent more time than necessary. They said that the negotiation’s committee comprised delegates who were extremely conversant with money matters and hence the delay was not worth (Woods 361)…
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