International relations - the Anglo-American wartime alliance

Mon 07 Feb 2022

International relations - the Anglo-American wartime alliance

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously coined the phrase, ‘Special Relationship’ after the Second World War to reflect the depth of friendship and respect between the United Kingdom and the United States.  


The relationship reflects the common language and ideals of both nations: democracy, freedom, rule of law and free trade. It has deep roots, recognised as early as 1898 by John Hay, US ambassador in London, who said that the US and Britain were “bound by a tie we did not forge and which we cannot break”. Relations were strengthened by their alliance in subsequent conflicts including the Korean War, the Cold War, the Gulf War, and most recently, the War on Terror.  


Although both America and Britain have close relationships with many other nations around the world, the level of cooperation between these two countries in terms of trade and commerce, military planning and operations, nuclear weapons technology and intelligence sharing is widely deemed as unparalleled among major world powers.  


However, the relationship is not without its challenges, as the approach to international law and multilateral institutions such as the UN and NATO have shifted under different leadership. The traditional common vision of a liberal world order built together after 1945 has come under threat from populist nationalism in both countries. And there are those who believe its enduring nature can no longer be implied, suggesting that it needs re-invigorating to ensure that it endures. 


Fascinating Summer Programme 

As part of our two-week summer programme for girls aged 13-17, students will explore a series of lively academic themes devised by our experienced Oxbridge-educated course leaders. 


Beyond the classroom, a variety of educational and cultural trips will bring learning to life. Two such visits will be to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, and the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, to learn more about the Anglo-American military alliance during World War II. We will consider over-arching themes such as honour, duty, courage, sacrifice, cost and remembrance. 


Imperial War Museum, Duxford 

The Imperial War Museum (IWM) in Duxford is Europe’s largest air museum and it houses an astonishing collection of wartime artefacts in seven exhibition buildings. It is also home to the American Air Museum, the best collection of American military aircraft on public display outside of North America. 

The American Air Museum tells the story of two nations united through war, loss, love and duty, from the First World War to the present day. Here, illuminate Cambridge summer course students can engage with fascinating interactive displays that tell the unique and inspirational stories of men and women whose lives were shaped by war. 


On our summer program, students will get up close to a century of aviation and walk through the same buildings and hangars that once housed the brave British and American personnel who served at RAF Duxford. We will learn about the history and camaraderie between these two nations and become immersed in their incredible stories.  


Cambridge American Cemetery & Memorial  


The Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial sits on a quiet hillside framed by woodland just outside the historic university town of Cambridge. It is a World War II American military war grave cemetery. The 30.5 acre site was donated by the University of Cambridge in 1943 to be used as a temporary cemetery during World War II, and it was permanently dedicated in 1956. 


This is an incredibly significant memorial site as it is the only military cemetery in Britain that commemorates American service members and civilian volunteers who died in the Second World War.  


A Place of Quiet Contemplation 

Over the course of the Second World War over three million Americans came to Britain to prepare, train and fight for the freedom of Europe and the wider world. More than 3800 of these brave soldiers are buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery, and the solemn white gravestones positioned in sweeping curves across the lawn are a truly evocative sight.


The Wall of the Missing displays the names of over 5000 servicemen and women, and rosettes mark the names of those who have since been accounted for and identified. Every name resonates with sacrifice and the memory of American men and women who bravely and selflessly crossed the ocean to fight for freedom alongside their allies and friends.  It is a place of stillness and quiet contemplation. 


“In grateful tribute to their sacrifice and in proud memory of their valor” 

The entrance to the grand memorial building is adorned with models of military equipment, and the building is separated into a large museum room and a small chapel, which was designed by an American Boston based architect.  


The museum contains an impressive wall map which depicts combat missions of aircrafts flown from this part of England and other war actions. The wall and ceiling portray a haunting mosaic of angles and ghostly aircrafts flying heavenward. Beautiful stained glass windows adorn the building displaying the seals of the American States of the Union arranged in ceremonial order.  


Illuminate Cambridge summer course students will reflect on the honour, sacrifice, competence and courage of all those remembered in this place and consider the wish that “time will not dim the consequences of their deeds”.  

Experience of a Lifetime  

If you are planning to visit the historic and charming city of Cambridge as an international student during the summer, Illuminate Cambridge is the ideal way to combine outstanding academic studies and inspiring, behind the scenes, extra-curricular activities. Our empowering all-girl summer school for students aged 13-17 offers the experience of a lifetime through a series of educational and cultural experiences that will provide lifelong memories. 


Our esteemed summer program is all about creating immersive magical moments that spark intellectual curiosity, provide incredible memories, and forge long lasting friendships. To secure your place on our life enriching summer program, please apply here. 

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