Module Identifier IP37520  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr Andrew J Priest  
Semester Semester 1  
Course delivery Lecture   14 Hours. 14 x 1 Hour lectures  
  Seminars / Tutorials   10 Hours. 5 x 2 Hour Seminars  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  60%
Semester Assessment Essay: 1 x 2,500 words40%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should possess a grasp of the major themes in the history of Anglo-American relations. They will be able to discuss the development of relations between London and Washington since the time of the American Revolution; how the two powers became reconciled at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries; how and why close bonds were formed in the period leading up to and including the Second World War; why Britain and America developed such a close relationship during the Cold War period, but also why areas of tension developed in certain quarters and over key issues of policy; how and why the US has continued to maintain a close relationship with the UK in the post Cold War era, and despite the proliferation of close relationships with other nations; and finally to speculate on the future of the Anglo-American relationship in the 21st century.

Brief description

This module examines the nature of relations between Britain and The United States since the America War of Independence and especially from the beginning of the Twentieth Century to the present day.


This module aims to give students an in-depth understanding of the history of relations between the US and UK since the founding of the American republic, and especially since the start of the Twentieth Century. It will question why this relationship has come to be so important through an examination of the interaction between military, political, diplomatic and cultural factors. In particular, the term 'special relationship' will be explored in order to understand whether this is a helpful term for historians and political scientists. Lectures provide much of the basis of the historical background, while seminars are more conceptual and deal with some of the broad themes in Anglo-American relations. No prior knowledge of this area of study is necessary, although students are expected to deal with a broad range of historical approaches to understanding this topic, including alliance theory.


This module begins by examining the concept of a 'special relationship' between the two countries; what this means and how scholars have tried to define it. The module then focuses on the historical development of the so-called 'special relationship' between Britain and America from conflict in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, to reconciliation and partnership at the start of the twentieth. It analyses in particular the impact of America's rise to power in comparison to British decline on bilateral relations. It then examines relations during the Second World War, questioning whether this was in fact the defining moment in the 'special relationship' and the impact of the Roosevelt-Churchill relationship on this. It then explores reasons for continuing the relationship in the post-War period and early Cold War, highlighting vital areas of cooperation as well as the tension as the Cold War progressed. In bringing the study up to the present, the course examines the dynamic between the US-UK relationship and Britain's closer integration with Europe and speculates on the future of the US-UK relations.

Reading Lists

** General Text
Dumbrell, John (2006) A special relationship: Anglo-American relations from the Cold War to Iraq /John Dumbrell. Second Edition. 0333622499
Ovendale, Ritchie. (1998.) Anglo-American relations in the twentieth century /Ritchie Ovendale. 0333596129


This module is at CQFW Level 6