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The Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act of 1920 would transform American life, giving birth to the Roaring '20s with its bathtub gin, speakeasies, and booze-running gangsters. Yet, as Lawrence Spinelli so clearly shows, the prohibition of the manufacture, sales, and transport of alcohol would have wider repercussions. In a world of international relations deeply unsettled after what was thought to be the War to End All Wars, the crusade for temperance on the American home front would disrupt the critical Anglo-American alliance.
Dry Diplomacy is the first complete treatment of the diplomatic ramifications of prohibition. Spinelli explores the widespread effects on international law, shipping, foreign policy, and trade. In this context, American interests appeared to be pitted against those of Britain as she sought to recover from the First World War by expanding trade, promoting domestic industries such as whiskey distilling, and reasserting shipping dominance in the sea lanes. American interference with international shipping—in order to disrupt what Presidents Harding and Coolidge deemed British alcohol smuggling—would lead to a diplomatic crisis in the mid-1920s.
Drawing on international archives such as the Cunard Archives and the records of the U.S. Justice Department, Spinelli digs deep into an important chapter of American "independent internationalism."
Chapter 1: The British Connection: Liquor Smuggling and the Bahamas, 1919–1923
Chapter 2: American Uncertainty: The Harding Administration and Prohibition Enforcement, 1921–1923
Chapter 3: "Puritanism Run Mad": Shipping and Prohibition, 1919–1923
Chapter 4: Limited Options: The American Treaty Proposal, May–July 1923
Chapter 5: A New Prospective: Negotiating the Anglo-American Liquor Treaty, July 1923–May 1924
Chapter 6: An Unresolved Problem: Post-Treaty Entanglements, 1924–1926
Chapter 7: Making the Treaty Work: The London Conference, 1926–1928
Chapter 8: A Surprising Finale: Canada, Hoover, and the Burdens of Repeal, 1929–1940