The author would like to thank Andrew Preston, Todd Thompson, participants at the American History Graduate Workshop at the University of Cambridge, and the two anonymous reviewers from Diplomatic History, all of whom read at least one version of this piece and offered substantial, and universally helpful, suggestions.
Romance in a Marriage of Convenience: The Missionary Factor in Early Cold War U.S.-Ethiopian Relations, 1941–1960*
Article first published online: 28 SEP 2011
© 2011 The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
Volume 35, Issue 5, pages 859–895, November 2011
How to Cite
DOW, . E. (2011), Romance in a Marriage of Convenience: The Missionary Factor in Early Cold War U.S.-Ethiopian Relations, 1941–1960. Diplomatic History, 35: 859–895. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7709.2011.00988.x
- Issue published online: 28 SEP 2011
- Article first published online: 28 SEP 2011
Throughout the second half of the twentieth century evangelical missionaries were the primary American presence throughout Africa and much of the developing world. As the Cold War spread worldwide, and previously peripheral nations like Ethiopia achieved a new-found geopolitical significance, these religiously motivated Americans suddenly became significant players in the global conflict. While explicitly apolitical, many of these accidental diplomats nevertheless viewed the Cold War in essentially spiritually terms as a battle between “Christian” America and the “atheist” Soviet Union. It is not surprising, then, that while remaining neutral in word, between 1941 and 1960 the evangelical missionary community actively and successfully, if not always formally, promoted close ties between their own “Judeo-Christian” nation and Ethiopia's Christian Emperor.