Dr Andrew Johnstone
Director of American Studies,
Associate Professor in American History
I received my BA in History from the University of Liverpool and my postgraduate study (MPhil and PhD) was undertaken at the University of Birmingham. My research and teaching interests are in twentieth century US history, with a particular focus on political and diplomatic history.
My teaching focuses on 20th Century US History, and I have previously taught modules including:
- American History from 1877 to the Present
- US Foreign Policy
- the USA and the Vietnam War
- the Presidency of Franklin D Roosevelt
I also contribute to team-taught American Studies modules on The West and The City.
- (Co-edited with Andrew Priest) US Presidential Elections and Foreign Policy: Candidates, Campaigns, and Global Politics from FDR to Bill Clinton (University Press of Kentucky, 2017)
- Against Immediate Evil: American Internationalists and the Four Freedoms on the Eve of World War II (Cornell University Press, 2014)
- (Co-edited with Helen Laville) (Routledge, 2010)
- (Ashgate, 2009)
Articles and chapters
- '"A Godsend to the Country?" Roosevelt, Willkie, and the Election of 1940' in Andrew Johnstone and Andrew Priest (eds), US Presidential Elections and Foreign Policy: Candidates, Campaigns, and Global Politics from FDR to Bill Clinton (University Press of Kentucky, 2017)
- 'Before the Water's Edge: Domestic Politics and U.S Foreign Relations,' Passport: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review, Vol. 45, 3, (2015): 25-29.
- 'Shaping our Post-war Foreign Policy: The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Promotion of the United Nations Organisation During World War II', Global Society, Vol. 28, 1, (2014): 24-39.
- 'The United States and the United Nations: Hegemony, Unilateralism and the Limits of Internationalism' in Bevan Sewell and Scott Lucas (eds), Challenging US Foreign Policy: America and the World in the Long Twentieth Century (Palgrave, 2011)
- 'Creating a "Democratic Foreign Policy": The State Department's Division of Public Liaison and Public Opinion, 1944-1953', Diplomatic History, Vol. 35, 3, (2011): 483-503.
- 'Isolationism and Internationalism in American Foreign Relations', Journal of Transatlantic Studies, Vol. 9, 1, (2011): 7-20.
- 'To Mobilize a Nation: Citizens' Organizations and Intervention on the Eve of World War II' in Andrew Johnstone and Helen Laville (eds), The US Public and American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2010)
- 'Americans Disunited: Americans United for World Organization and the Triumph of Internationalism', Journal of American Studies, Vol. 44, 1, (2010): 1-18.
- 'Clark Eichelberger and the Negotiation of Internationalism during World War II' in Helen Laville and Hugh Wilford (eds), The US Government, Citizen Groups and the Cold War (Routledge, 2006)
My research focuses on 20th-century US foreign policy, particularly on the theme of US internationalism, and on relations between the state and private spheres in creating and mobilising support for US foreign policy.
I have recently published 'Against Immediate Evil', a study of US internationalism in the years immediately prior to Pearl Harbor. The completion of the book was supported by an Early Career Fellowship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Why did the United States enter World War II in 1941? The obvious answer to that question is the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941 - "a date which will live in infamy," according to President Franklin Roosevelt. In the years immediately preceding the attack, the majority of Americans wanted nothing to do with the ongoing wars in Asia and Europe. However, this project focuses on organised groups of influential American citizens who argued for restrictions on trade with Japan, greater military support to Britain, and even an American declaration of war long before the Hawaiian attack. These internationalist Americans - through groups such as the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, Fight for Freedom, and the American Committee for Non-Participation in Japanese Aggression - worked to influence both the American Government and the broader American public about the need for greater American involvement in world affairs. They actively promoted a more global role for the United States long before war came to America.
The first key aim of the research is to create a more accurate definition of American internationalism. While the phrase is commonly used to describe any American involvement in the world (as opposed to isolationism), it has little real meaning unless we try to understand the particular nature of American internationalism. While the main debate in this period was whether the United States should go to war or not, consideration among internationalists of America's post-war role began as early as 1939. From this point onwards, tension can be seen between American interests and its ideals of freedom, democracy and human rights. Tension can also be viewed regarding ideas about international organisation: should the United States do more to work through multilateral institutions such as a revived League of Nations, or should it follow American traditions of unilateralism and avoid entangling alliances? As a result, tensions that later loomed large in America's Cold War foreign policy were clearly foreshadowed even before World War II.
The second key aim is to reassess the roles of the internationalist citizens' organisations and the individuals who led them. Who created and led these internationalist citizens' organisations, and for what purpose? This research reveals an internationalist movement led by an eastern establishment elite, but this was a broad elite that did not speak with a united voice. These elites sought to influence the American government through close personal connections; many had previously worked in government, and many would go on to do so during the war years. They also sought to influence the government by mobilising the American public behind their aims. Internationalists deliberately worked with different sectors of society - women's groups, labour and business organisations, youth groups, and African-Americans - so that they could claim to represent the broadest possible range of the American public. In summary, the organisations acted as an intermediary between the American people and the government in Washington.
My interest in the relationship between the state and private spheres has also been seen in two other publications.
Firstly, an article on the State Department's Division of Public Liaison was published in 'Diplomatic History' in 2011. This government office, set up in 1944, was at the heart of the US government's earliest efforts to involve the public in foreign policy matters. This provides an excellent opportunity to study the relationship between the state and private spheres from the side of the government in the early years of the Cold War.
Secondly, I edited a volume with Helen Laville (University of Birmingham) entitled the 'US Public and American Foreign Policy', based on a colloquium held at the University of Leicester in April 2008. The volume is in the Routledge Studies in US Foreign Policy series.
Looking ahead, I am currently editing a book with Dr. Andrew Priest (University of Essex) on presidential elections and U.S. foreign policy.
- Twentieth century US political and diplomatic history
- the Presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, particularly World War II
- the US and the Vietnam War