The Origins of the Iranian-American Alliance, 1941-1953

The Origins of the Iranian-American Alliance, 1941-1953

The Origins of the Iranian-American Alliance, 1941-1953

The Origins of the Iranian-American Alliance, 1941-1953

Excerpt

A study of the origins of the Iranian-American alliance between 1941 and 1953 affords a historian of American foreign policy a rare opportunity--a chance to begin at the beginning. It can easily be argued that before 1941 Iran and the United States had almost no relations whatsoever. The two nations did have nominal diplomatic representation, and a handful of citizens in each country had some familiarity with the other. But commerce between the two nations amounted to just a few million dollars annually. Because the United States had little direct interest in Iranian affairs, American diplomats in Iran did little more than monitor the policy of the major powers involved in the region--the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and Germany. Concern with the Persian Gulf region was defined largely by oil, but not Iran's oil. Up until 1954, American oil company holdings lay largely in the areas carved out of the old Ottoman Empire--Mesopotamia or Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain Island.

Almost all the ties that bound Iran and the United States from 1954 to 1979 were established during World War II and the early years of the cold war. That meant that the objectives of American policy for Iran were generally defined by global policy concerns. To understand the reasons for American initiatives in relation to the microcosm of Iran is to gain insight into broad areas of American foreign policy: relations with the Soviet Union and Great Britain, efforts to define an international oil policy, the tension between military and political strategies during the war, the formulation of postwar national security policies, the continuities and discontinuities of diplomacy in three successive presidential administrations from Franklin Roosevelt to Dwight Eisenhower, the development of foreign aid and technical assistance programs, and, above all, the origins of the cold war.

Increased specialization has often caused historians to study these various topics in isolation from each other. But in this study those many strands are understood as intertwined. It is possible, for example, to see the ways national security concerns shaped the definition of foreign oil policy against the backdrop of the growing Soviet-American rivalry over Iran.

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.