British détente policy has its roots in the early postwar period and can most effectively be located within a historical context by comparing British and American attitudes to the cold war, differing perceptions of the Soviet/communist threat and, most important, different views about appropriate responses to that threat. If the period from 1945 to 1953 is viewed from this perspective, what emerges is a significant divergence of attitudes, particularly after 1949 when American attitudes perceptibly hardened.