Unholy alliance (geopolitical)

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An unholy alliance popularly refers to an alliance which is perceived as unnatural, unusual, or simply undesirable, sometimes between seemingly antagonistic parties.

Original use[edit]

In 1855, the term Unholy Alliance was used for Western European alliances with the Ottoman Empire against the interests of Russia, Greece, and most of the Balkans.[1]

Later use[edit]

In 1912, US politician Theodore Roosevelt campaigned against the "invisible government", "the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics".[2]

In the context of World War II, the term has been used for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union which partitioned Poland.[3]

The term was also used by the short-lived Republic of Biafra to refer to Nigeria and its allies the UK and the USSR.[4]

The term came to be used by African nationalists when describing the predominantly white governments of Southern Africa from 1961 to 1980: South Africa, Rhodesia, and the Portuguese Empire.[5][6][7] For example, during the Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity, meeting in its Fourteenth Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 27 February to 6 March 1970, stated they were "Deeply concerned at the strengthening of the unholy alliance among the racist regimes of Pretoria, Salisbury, Lisbon and their collaboration with other imperialist powers..."[8] In its resolution 3151 G (XXVIII) of 14 December 1973, the UN General Assembly condemned what it termed an unholy alliance between South African apartheid and zionism.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ William Giles Dix, The Unholy Alliance: An American View of the War in the East, NY: Charles B. Norton, 1855.
  2. ^ Theodore Roosevelt (August 1912). "Progressive covenant with the people". The Library of Congress. Thomas Edison. Retrieved 2010-05-29. 
  3. ^ Geoffrey K. Roberts, The Unholy Alliance: Stalin's Pact with Hitler. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989. Gerald Freund. Unholy Alliance: Russian-German Relations from the Treaty of Brest- Litovsk to the Treaty of Berlin. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1957.
  4. ^ US State Dept
  5. ^ African National Congress, CEMENTING THE UNHOLY ALLIANCE: STATEMENT IN THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE AGAINST APARTHEID, MAY 18, 1965 at the Wayback Machine (archived 1 December 2008)
  6. ^ Eliakim M. Sibanda, The Zimbabwe African People's Union, 1961–87, p.128
  7. ^ Tor Sellström, Sweden and National Liberation in Southern Africa, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, p.420
  8. ^ CM/Res. 209 (XIV) "RESOLUTION ON DECOLONIZATION AND APARTHEID" RESOLUTIONS AND DECLARATIONS ..., MARCH 1970. (see document in African Union link below).
  9. ^ Cited in the text of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 (XXX). Resolution "3151 (XXVIII). Policies of apartheid of the Government of South Africa", 14 December 1973: https://undocs.org/A/RES/3151(XXVIII)

External links[edit]