The World After the War: America Confronts the British Superpower, 1945-1957
by Derek Leebaert
One of the great myths of the twentieth century is that after the Second World War Britain simply relinquished its power and America quickly embraced its worldwide political and military commitments. Instead the two allies improvised an uneasy, shifting partnership for twelve long years while most of western Europe lay in turmoil and Russia grew more aggressive. But in 1957 Washington issued a ‘declaration of independence’ from British authority and their war-hardened leaders. It was then that everything changed, and America assumed leadership of the new world order just taking shape. Derek Leebaert spins a riveting global narrative of Britain as the original superpower and shows why the Americans kept believing it to be indispensable. It’s the story of secret ties, diplomatic quarrels and military interventions that casts political giants Churchill, Truman, Eisenhower and Johnson in a new light. In a volatile world of decolonisation, a uniting Europe and the Suez Crisis, shrewd men in London were leveraging the empire’s long-established resources and influence to maintain their grip on power. The enduring notion of a special relationship, rising tensions with Russia and China, and the sources of much of the world’s turmoil can’t be understood without knowing what really occurred.