Some of the more innovative examples of recent international history writing address the growth of international and regional communities that emerged through the regular meetings of diplomats and bureaucrats. The trend towards multinational assembling grew particularly from the 1930s, as did diplomatic travel with the greater use of aircraft after the Second World War. This paper considers the role of Australian diplomats amongst others overseas. It focuses on the case of Percy Spender, Australia’s Ambassador to the United States in the 1950s, in the context of overlapping worlds: the British world in an era of decolonisation; the insistent internationalism of the United Nations; and the world of Cold War logic. The author suggests that, amidst debates about Britishness, nationalism and transnationalism, the story of Spender in Washington and Latin America highlights why life stories and social histories remain important for debates about Australia and Australians in the world.
Field of Research
210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
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