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Anglo-American relations in Saudi Arabia, 1941-1945: a study of a trying relationship

Hinds, Matthew (2012) Anglo-American relations in Saudi Arabia, 1941-1945: a study of a trying relationship. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis offers a fresh interpretation of Anglo-American relations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the period 1941 to 1945. Historians of Anglo-American relations have characterized the bilateral relationship as one of rivalry and polarization. While examples of underlying national competition can be identified wherever the wartime alliance operated, whether on the battlefield or at the conference table, the commonalities which united the allies should, however, be given equal weight. My thesis departs from the traditional historiographical perspective, arguing that when closely examined, the allies were very aware of the strategic reciprocal benefits that would emanate from integrating their policies in Saudi Arabia. First and foremost, Britain and the United States’ relations in Saudi Arabia were shaped by the fact that the two countries were allies working side by side in the global struggle that was the Second World War. In this wartime context, the strategic influence of Saudi Arabia has tended to be overlooked. The Kingdom’s influence resided in its geographic location, its religious centrality within Islam, and most importantly, its rare political status as a sovereign Arab state. These attributes served as a unifying force for British and American wartime interests, encouraging the two allies to strive for an Anglo-American partnership in Saudi Arabia that was built on the concept of strategic interdependence. While collaboration between Britain and the United States ebbed and flowed, it is a testament to their continued pursuit of cooperation that the activities of the wartime alliance in Saudi Arabia between 1941 and 1945 were envisaged by policymakers as a template for achieving greater Anglo-American accord throughout the Middle East during and beyond the Second World War.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Matthew Hinds
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International History
Supervisor: Ashton, Nigel

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