Thus a term, "special relationship" is used to describe Anglo American association which is based on mutual interests as most trusted allies, supporting each other in NATO, providing an "atlanticist" voice in the European Union, and jointly advocating US strategic policies. The primacy of the transatlantic alliance has remained despite Britain's entry into the European Union. This has been sustained by the number of conflicts that both the countries have fought together in the past two decades, from the bombing of Libya to Kosovo and now Iraq. (Wither: 2003).
The role of war and conflict has thus been a major contributing factor that has shaped the nature of the special relationship between Great Britain and the United States. This is being examined in succeeding paragraphs in two parts. In Part I a broad swathe of history from 1940 to 2000 would be covered while Part II would cover the more contemporary years to the present coagulation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Second World War was initially fought on the European Continent and American role was marginal till it came under Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The American masses were generally against participation in a Continental War. The British were facing a crisis of sorts as France was overrun and the Soviet Union came under the throes of the biggest threat ever, Churchill the British Prime Minister was left to Britain's dogged determination to survive the critical days till America joined the war effort. The incidents leading to Pearl Harbor, America's reaction to Japan's surprise attack and British response denote that Churchill had foreseen the eventuality of this strike and declared war against Japan within 24 hours. It was a momentous event and Churchill could not hide his glee at finally drawing America into the Great War, as this tipped the balance in favor of the Allies. (Churchill: 1970).
A key event which not only determined the course of the Second World War but also the post war alliance was drafting of the Atlantic Charter. Churchill had developed personal rapport with the American President, Roosevelt. Drafting of the Charter was a triumph of Anglo American cooperation. The declaration included provisions as no territorial aggrandizement or changes by the alliance partners, right of people to choose the form of government, fair and equitable distribution of resources and creation of peace and stability within nations as also on the high seas. (Churchill: 1970). The United Nations was thus formed after the war and a number of nations freed from colonial dominance.
This also spelt doom for the British Empire as one colony after another was granted independence and British power nebulous as always weakened and the World came increasingly under American influence. However as the principal victors of the Second World War and founding members of the United Nations, Britain and America were granted a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. The Council had the powers to carry out any intervention or block it through the veto which was only with the permanent members. Britain and the United States were pitched against France, China and Russia which decreed that there was a necessity to form a coagulation of mutual interests if the will of any of the dominant powers was to prevail. Historical interests saw that an Anglo American concord would sustain.