My PhD research will offer a sustained critical examination of U.S. foreign policy towards Rhodesia from the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in November 1965 to formal independence as Zimbabwe in April 1980. The aim of my research is to demonstrate the changing American perspective on the Rhodesian issue, as viewed through the lens of the Presidential Administrations, and how this directly affected the ultimate outcome of UDI and the Rhodesian Bush War. The central core of my work will comprise of four chapters each examining the role played by a specific Presidency in shaping U.S. actions regarding the Rhodesian conflict.
When evaluating American relations with Rhodesia I aim to explore the impact of both domestic politics including Civil Rights and the conservative resurgence of the late sixties as well as foreign policy concerns notably the geopolitics of the Cold War, the rise of the Human Rights movement, trade and investment in Southern Africa and the legacy of Vietnam. Thus, my thesis will also reveal on a broader level the evolution of U.S. foreign relations with the emerging nations in Africa during the 1960s and 70s.