Britain and Spain led the two greatest Empires of the modern era, with perhaps the most important legacy that their two languages are amongst most widely spoken in the modern world. Yet the relationship between these two cultural giants has not always been straightforward. The founding of the British-Spanish Society has its origins in 1916 as the Anglo-Spanish League of Friendship which was founded during the First World War by a group of British academics, students and businessmen. It was a means of reaching out in social, cultural and trade friendship with their Spanish counterparts at a time when Spain’s official neutrality seemed to be edging closer towards Germany. Subsequently known as the Anglo-Spanish Society, and finally the British-Spanish Society, its members continued to promote these objectives after that particular war had come to an end. Much has changed since then, with an ever-shifting political and diplomatic environment affecting the relations between Britain and Spain, but throughout this the core values of the Society have remained constant.
This fascinating book tells the story of an organisation at the heart of the relationship between two of Europe's major powers, it will be compulsory reading for those interested in the process of 'soft diplomacy' but above all for those interested in the relationship between Spain and Britain.
Luis G. Martínez del Campo is the author of La formación del gentleman español (The making of the Spanish gentleman). He has been a Visiting Researcher at the universities of London (LSE), Cambridge, Liverpool and Costa Rica and currently works as Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Concepción (Chile).
November 24, 2015