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] It was an ironic reference to the original Holy Alliance created after the Napoleonic War in 1815 by Tsar Alexander I of Russia.[2]

Later use[edit]

In 1912, the American politician Theodore Roosevelt campaigned against the "invisible government", "the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics".[3]

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.[4]

The term was also used by the short-lived Biafra to refer to Nigeria's allies: the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union.[5]

The term came to be used by African nationalists to describe the predominantly-white governments of Southern Africa from 1961 to 1980: South Africa, Rhodesia, and the Portuguese Empire.[6][7][8] 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".[9] 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.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ William Giles Dix, The Unholy Alliance: An American View of the War in the East, New York: Charles B. Norton, 1855.
  2. ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Holy Alliance". www.newadvent.org.
  3. ^ Theodore Roosevelt (August 1912). "Progressive covenant with the people". The Library of Congress. Thomas Edison. Retrieved 2010-05-29.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Department Of State. The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs. "27. Intelligence Memorandum, Washington, January 29, 1969". 2001-2009.state.gov.
  6. ^ African National Congress, "Cementing the Unholy Alliance: Statement in the Special Committee Against Apartheid, May 18, 1965". Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  7. ^ Eliakim M. Sibanda, The Zimbabwe African People's Union, 1961–87, p.128
  8. ^ Sellström, Tor (1999). Sweden and national liberation in Southern Africa. Vol. 1, Formation of a popular opinion (1950-1970) (PDF). Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet. p. 421. ISBN 91-7106-430-3. OCLC 41157147.
  9. ^ CM/Res. 209 (XIV) "Resolution on Decolonization and Apartheid". Resolutions and Declarations..., March 1970. (see document in African Union link below).
  10. ^ 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]