The Ben Pimlott Memorial Lecture 2017: The geopolitical is personal: India, Britain, and American Foreign Correspondents in the 1930s and 1940s

Deborah Cohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This lecture explores the shared terrain between the new international history and the history of emotions. In the summer and fall of 1942, American foreign correspondents played a key role in sparking a furore over British rule in India. Drawing on their own first-hand reporting from India, they depicted the British Empire as retrograde and abusive, a dangerous, destabilizing force and a threat to the post-war peace. Diagnosing what it called 'a new landslide of anti-British feeling', the British Ministry of Information spearheaded the formation of highlevel, interdepartmental, secret committee charged with the task of figuring out how to reconcile Americans to the British Empire. What they found was that the job itself was impossible: a significant proportion of Americans 'whose views, they concluded, were driven in large measure by emotion' would not under any circumstances soften their opinions about the British Empire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-410
Number of pages23
JournalTwentieth Century British History
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History

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