'Who is anti-American?' : the British left and the United States, 1945-1956
The subject of this research is British 'anti-Americanism' in the decade after 1945: a complex phenomenon with often contradictory political and cultural manifestations. This study focuses primarily on the attitudes towards the United States of the organized political Left, because the Left came to be regarded in this period as the most 'anti-American' element in British political life. Examining that charge, this study follows the development of attitudes towards the United States in British political life, particularly within the Labour Party, long established as the most serious organized force on the Left, and the governing Party from 1945 to 1951. The study aims to show that hostile responses towards the United States on the British Left imbibed the same national resentments which could be found in other quarters of British political life. The British Left had its own set of ideological and emotional prejudices which gave a distinct colour, and perhaps added impetus, to its resentments. However, underpinning all the hostile sentiments was the resentment of Britain's postwar domination and displacement by the United States, which among Conservatives was concealed only by the onset of the Cold War, until it forcefully erupted during the Suez crisis. Finally, this study delineates and examines the great concern with which 'anti- Americanism' was viewed at the time by policy-makers and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. Such manifestations of British prejudice and hostility seemed to threaten the stability of the Anglo-American Cold War alliance, and as a result anti-anti-Americanism became a powerful emotion in British political life. This study demonstrates and considers the anti-anti-American plans made by Whitehall, Washington, and the Atlanticist faithful, of which there were many in the Labour Party too, to promote in Britain a positive image of the United States as a people - and as Cold War allies.