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A special relationship? American and British soft power in Iran, 1953-1960

Wainwright, D. (2019) A special relationship? American and British soft power in Iran, 1953-1960. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00088757


This thesis examines Britain and the United States’ use of cultural diplomacy and propaganda in Iran between 1953 and 1960. It identifies why British and American policymakers placed so much importance on cultural ties with Iran, how officials from both countries used these initiatives to attract Iranians to their respective ways of life and the extent to which they perceived these policies to be successful. This PhD considers how Britain and the United States sought to strengthen ties with Iran at an elite and popular level. It explores how the UK Foreign Office and the US State Department forged links with their Iranian counterparts to instruct them on the production and dissemination of propaganda. The project proceeds to explore the role played by government-affiliated institutions at a non-state level to promote British and American cultures, norms, values and ways of life in Iran. These include the British Council, the Iran-America Society and the United States Information Agency (USIA). The analysis of British and American soft power in Iran between 1953 and 1960 makes three key contributions to the literature on this topic. First, it views Anglo-American relations with Iran through the prism of soft power. This is an original take on the topic. Previous research has emphasised economic and military interactions between the UK, US and Iran. Second, the thesis explores how Britain and the United States responded to the changes in their respective global positions. During this period, the UK was a declining power, crippled by the financial cost of the Second World War and was in the process of relinquishing most of overseas colonies. The US, in comparison, was a booming superpower, talking a greater interest in the struggle against Communism in regions such as the Middle East. Finally, it highlights the tensions and competitive element of Anglo- American relations in the Middle East. Both countries, while collaborating in many fields, had similar aims but different regional priorities. The project points out the ways in which they cooperated and competed with one another for regional supremacy

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Oliva, M.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Humanites
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > History
ID Code:88757


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