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Breaking the monopoly system: American influence on the British decision to prohibit opium smoking and end its Asian monopolies, 1939-1945

Collins, John (2017) Breaking the monopoly system: American influence on the British decision to prohibit opium smoking and end its Asian monopolies, 1939-1945. The International History Review, 39 (5). pp. 770-790. ISSN 1949-6540 (In Press)

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Identification Number: 10.1080/07075332.2017.1280519

Abstract

The colonial opium monopoly systems remained a major point of international contention in the decades prior to World War II, driving a major wedge between British and US drug diplomats in particular. The issue typified the deeper divide between Anglo-American drug diplomacy in Asia. The British approach stemmed from imperial realities and a self-perception of pragmatism aiming for gradual suppression of opium consumption via regulation. In contrast, the US approach remained grounded in a disdain for British (and broader European) imperialism in Asia and a moralistic, self-interested zeal driving towards absolute and immediate prohibition in the region. After decades of dispute, in 1942/3 the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics initiated a campaign to force a change in British and Dutch colonial opium policies in Asia. The British were reluctant to pursue prohibitionist policies, which they feared would be politically destabilising, fiscally detrimental and difficult to implement. However, they eventually acquiesced. This paper systematically examines the US policy advocacy campaign, the British response and Britain’s reasons for agreeing to a major shift in colonial opium policy in the region. In so doing it aims to develop a new and deeper understanding of determinants of this policy change.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rinh20/current
Additional Information: © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
E History America > E151 United States (General)
Sets: Research centres and groups > LSE IDEAS
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2017 10:55
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2017 13:17
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/68963

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