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Britain special relationship with the US

9 replies

speedymama · 04/01/2007 10:05

Did anybody see the programme on BBC4 last night detailing the history of why we were in debt to America after WW2. I always thought we were paying back the money we received under the Marshall plan but that was not the case. This was the money loaned to us with stringent strings attached and which nearly bankrupt the country because of harsh clauses like the Sterling conversion one. The money from the Marshall plan was given because it was politically expedient for the Americans as it stemmed the march of Communism to Western Europe.

After watching this, it reinforced my belief that the special relationship between the UK and USA was always a myth because without the Marshall plan, USA would have stood by and watch Britain become a bankrupt nation. It was only because of their fears of Stalin that jolted them into helping Britain out.

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caroline3 · 04/01/2007 11:16

Hi didn't see the programme but sounds interesting.

I have always thought the "special relationship" was a load of rubbish. Tony "Yo Blair" is totally deluded about that one. Why should USA treat UK any differently to other countries it does business with? The USA will always act to protect its own interests and that is entirely understandable. I just wish the British Govern would start putting this countries interests first and try and imprpove things in the UK rather than pathetically clinging onto USA's coat tails. We have enough problems in our own back yard to sort out rather than deluding ourselves that we can dictate/improve things in other countries. We are just a small rather unimportant country afterall!!

NB This does not mean I am anti-american: most Americans I have met have been lovely and I have always enjoyed visits accross the pond.

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Tortington · 04/01/2007 11:25

yes i saw it. dh has a politics and history degree, so i had loads of questions and we talked about it for ages which was actually quite nice.

what really really fucked me off about the programme - was how it presented us with these huge bits of information to digest, intertwined with interviews from top economists and former political party members and strategists and speach writers.


then at the end in st pauls cathedral he looks up the name MAYERS and starts going on about flight leuitenant meyers dying and is it not this really that meant we have a special relationship.

becuae we died together.

outraged i nearly lept off the settee and shouted " did HE just spend a programme telling us that AMERICA fucked us over BIG TIME...then say .......oh it's alright cos we died together in the war?"


dh pissed himsself and said " erm yes!"

but was intresting.

all the IMF stuff very interesting.

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caroline3 · 04/01/2007 11:31

This business about a "special R/ship" seems to hark back to WWII.

We were on the same side as France and Russia but no one says we have a special r/ship with those countries. It seems strange to me that people keep using WWII as a reason for us to provide expensive support to the USA in foreign wars. Wish I had seen the programme now, I hadn't realised that UK still paying off Marshall plan until recently.

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Lilymaid · 04/01/2007 11:37

I enjoyed the programme, but am still a little confused. I always believed that part of the debt was paying back all the lend-lease materials the US provided in WWII and that was what rankled with the British. Despite my not very pro-US views, IMO the US was not under any obligation to continue to bail the UK out (any more than any other European country). The US had suffered during the depression years of the 1930s and needed to rebuild itself. The UK was still holding on to an enormous empire (from which the US had fought to be free) with access to cheap raw materials. The UK has always deluded itself into believing it has a "special relationship" with the US. We are just one of many trading partners.

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Tortington · 04/01/2007 11:38

no marhsall plan money was given to us.

after we got a loan of billions from the US - at 2% interest the presenter said "in itself not a bad deal i wouldn't mind a mortgage of 2%...its the trings that came with it"

now i am no economist so what i am about to say wont come out right.


but its got something to do with this

the POUND was the money people traded in. made england and her empire perpetuate its wealth and growth.

One of the strings to the loan was that the IMF would be set up.

different coutries would all put a proportion of money in

which would be under the direct political influence of american politions in WASHINGTON not new york with all other financial institutions.

and the lead economic currency would be

the Dollar.


now i dont know how this works - but

we had got the loan from america - and becuase of this conversion the money was draining from the bank of england - meaning that actually the money we had borrowed was just draining away

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Tortington · 04/01/2007 11:41

marshal plan money was given to countries after teh war to help build their infrastructure. so both germany and us got it.

this is becuase America recognised ( after they had begrudgingly given us a loan)

that if they didn't help theinfrastructure of Europe that communism would spread. there would be nothing to stop stalin. And many people actually at that time thought that communist ideals were strong, power to the people and all that - especially strong woprking class union labout families.

so marshal money was given - so america could trade with us and we couldnt become commies.

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paulaplumpbottom · 04/01/2007 12:34

Thats exactly it Lilymaid

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Tortington · 04/01/2007 13:25

america wasn'r re-building itsself form the 30's. it was untouched by war and profiting from it providing prosperity for the country as a whole.

there was a chance to break up the empire and the UKs access to raw materials.

so the Americans could trade theirs.

self interest.

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speedymama · 04/01/2007 18:02

Britain was naive to use the Justice argument as the reason why the USA should bail it out. Countries will only do things that will benefit them and the USA, quite rightly, was only interested in helping out Britain, because it provided an avenue through which it could build its economic strength in Europe, hence the Sterling Clause - catastrophic for the UK but wonderful for America.

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