In the early twentieth century, peace activists looked for historic examples of successful conflict resolution to inspire their movement. The centennial of the Treaty of Ghent (1814) became a focal point in their efforts. The treaty ended the last war fought between the British Empire and the United States and, as the 1914 centennial approached, peace activists fashioned a celebration called “100 Years of Peace among English‐speaking Peoples.” The Great War postponed their plans, but after the armistice, American, British, and Canadian activists worked to develop a scheme of commemoration that eventually culminated in the erection of statues, the foundation of education exchanges, and the inauguration of heritage centers. With the support of their governments, the campaign became an important cultural diplomacy program. This article examines that program and the intersection of private networks of activists with government officials. In doing so, it shows how early twentieth century statecraft utilized cultural assets. It also explores the legacy of cultural assets on international relations, how cultural diplomacy underwrites foreign policies, and how cultural programs can perpetuate feelings of goodwill over the course of generations. The program to celebrate 100 Years of Peace among English‐speaking Peoples obscured fissures in the Anglo‐American relationship at the end of the Great War, and the cultural diplomacy continues as a symbol of Anglo‐American rapprochement.
This was originally published on Wiley: Peace & Change: Table of Contents.