Sir Norman Angell : the World War II years, 1940-1945
This study is the latest in a series done at Ball State Univeristy on the Angell Papers, the entire collection of personal papers and other materials which Sir Norman Angell presented to the school in 1961. The present study focuses on Angell's activities from July 1940 through December 1945 when Angell was in the United States--unofficially representing the British government--to promote Anglo-American friendship and cooperation.When war broke out in 1939, the British government, principally the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Information, immediately recognized the need to promote pro-British sentiments in the United States. But they also recognized the desirability of keeping a "low profile" in deference to American sensitivities and suspicions about the alleged role of British propaganda in the United States entry into World War I. Angell, and other private British citizens with established contacts and reputations in the United States, were thus chosen to conduct a campaign of unofficial propaganda in America. As a tireless lecturer and writer, Angell used every means at his disposal to communicate his basic message: Britain's historic role in preserving United States security.Initially, that message consisted of an unrelenting assault on the isolationist/non-interventionist position. After Pearl Harbor, it increasingly focused on cementing for the postwar era the level of war-enforced Anglo-American cooperation by interpreting to Americans those features of English life most likely to be sources of misunderstandings and resentments: feudal remnants in the political and social structures, the Empire, and Labourite Socialism. Finally, as the war moved into its latter phases, Angell increasingly recognized those of the political Left as constituting a greater threat to postwar Anglo-American cooperation--which he regarded as the sine qua non of an effective collective security system and future peace--than did those of the nationalistisolationist Right. He became especially concerned about the Left's desire to promote socio-economic revolutionary change in the midst of war, even at the expense of maintaining essential wartime unity or postwar stability. He was equally concerned about the Left's attitude toward the USSR, fearing the reappearance of an appeasement policy which would as surely result in still another war as that of the 1930s had.The nature of historical evidence does not permit a conclusive evaluation of Angell's impact on Americans' thinking. But it might be justly said that, operating from a private station, Angell did as much as any one man could to advance the cause of international understanding and peace.