The US and Britain in South America (c. 1800 to 1939)

Thomas C. Mills

in Post-War Planning on the Periphery

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780748643882
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780748676699 | DOI:
The US and Britain in South America (c. 1800 to 1939)

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This chapter provides historical background by outlining the changing relative status of the US and Britain in South America prior to the Second World War. Notwithstanding the famous assertion of US supremacy in the Western Hemisphere contained in the Monroe doctrine of 1823, it was Britain, to a much greater extent than the US, which made commercial inroads into the region throughout the nineteenth century. It was not until the First World War that the US seriously began to challenge British domination of the region. US ascendency continued throughout the 1920s in the form of dollar diplomacy and while the Great Depression of the 1930s contracted trade and investment generally, it also increased the trend towards growing US predominance in South America. By the eve of the Second World War the US had therefore surpassed Britain in South America in the realm of commerce. As such, this chapter demonstrates that during the years 1939-1945, notwithstanding remaining significant British interests in the region, it was the US that was the foremost foreign commercial power in South America.

Keywords: Britain; dollar diplomacy; First World War; Great Depression; Monroe doctrine; US

Chapter.  9693 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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