Cooperating with the Colossus: US Military Bases in World War II Latin America

Rebecca Herman

Part of the Fall 2022 Novedades/Lançamentos: New Scholarship @ Berkeley Series

September 15, 2022

Rebecca Herman: “Cooperating with the Colossus”

Event Description

Professor Rebecca Herman of UC Berkeley’s Department of History will speak on her new book “Cooperating with the Colossus: A Social and Political History of US Military Bases in World War II Latin America” in the second event of the semester in our series Novedades/Lançamentos: New Scholarship @ Berkeley. In this space, we highlight new work from Berkeley scholars about Latin America and the Caribbean by inviting a faculty member and a graduate student to discuss the recent work of a Berkeley faculty member. 

During the Second World War, the United States built over two hundred military installations on sovereign soil of Latin American countries in the name of cooperation in hemispheric defense. Unsurprisingly, it proved to be a fraught affair. Despite widespread calls for Pan-American unity with the Allied cause, military construction incited local conflicts that belied the wartime rhetoric of fraternity and equality. Drawing on archival research in five countries and told at the local, national, and international levels, Cooperating with the Colossus is a revealing history of how World War II transformed power and politics in the Americas in enduring ways.


Rebecca Herman is Assistant Professor in the History Department at UC Berkeley. Her work explores twentieth-century Latin American social and political history in a global context, probing the intersections between grand narratives and local history.

Margaret Chowning is Professor and Sonne Chair in Latin American History in the History Department at UC Berkeley. Her research interests are Mexico, the late colonial period and nineteenth century, Women, Church, and Social and Economic History in Latin America. 

Kyle Jackson is a transnational historian of the Americas and a Ph.D. candidate in History at UC Berkeley. His research looks at early U.S.-Latin American relations through the prism of New Orleans.

More Information

Berkeley Talks Podcast: U.S. military bases in World War II Latin America

Read the transcript