The Anglo-American 'Special Relationship' During the Second
World War: a Selective Guide to Materials in the British Library
Anne Sharp Wells
During the Second World War, the 'Special Relationship' between the United Kingdom and the United States developed into a complex coalition employing diplomatic, military, economic and scientific means to defeat the Axis Powers. The personal diplomacy of its two primary leaders-Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt-exemplified the relationship, as both nations worked toward the common goal of ending the war while negotiating sometimes conflicting national aims.
The Anglo-American 'Special Relationship' during the Second World War: A Selective Guide to Materials in the British Library concerns the period from September 1939, when the United Kingdom and Germany went to war in Europe, to August 1945, when the surrender of Japan ended the global conflict. Although the United States did not officially become a belligerent until Japan attacked its Pacific bases in December 1941, the country had already provided vital aid to the United Kingdom and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and had participated in naval actions against German vessels in the Atlantic. The alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States continued into the postwar period, by which time the Cold War with the Soviet Union, their wartime ally, had begun.
The published literature on the Second World War is vast, as indicated in the bibliographies listed in the first section. This selective guide focuses on the high-level diplomatic and military relations between the two countries, while excluding for the most part specific military campaigns. It also covers the wartime alliance with the Soviet Union and touches on relationships with other allies, most notably Australia, Canada and France.
Both the United Kingdom and the United States have extensively documented the Second World War period in official histories, only a few of which are listed in this guide. Among the largest series are the United Kingdom's History of the Second World War, The United States Army in World War II and the Foreign Relations of the United States.
Each citation ends with the British Library shelf mark in parentheses. The designation 'DSC' means that the work is held by the Document Supply service at Boston Spa but can be ordered for use at St. Pancras.
The Anglo-American 'Special Relationship' During the Second World War (PDF format), 495KB