Britain and European Integration since 1945: On the by David Gowland

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By David Gowland

This publication offers either a finished advent and a perceptive exam of Britain’s relatives with the eu group and the eu Union on the grounds that 1945, combining an historic account with political research to demonstrate the altering and multifaceted nature of British and ecu politics.

Few concerns in British politics on the grounds that 1945 have generated such heated controversy as Britain’s method of the method of ecu integration linked to the eu Union. The long-running debate at the topic has not just performed an important half within the downfall of leading ministers and different top political figures yet has additionally uncovered significant fault-lines inside of governments and brought on deep and rancorous divisions inside and among the main political events. This hugely contested factor has given upward push to sour campaigning within the press and among strain teams, and it has bemused, pressured and divided the general public at huge.

Key questions addressed include:

  • Why has Europe had such an explosive influence on British politics?
  • What impelled British policymakers to hitch the ecu group and to adopt one of many radical, if now not the main radical, alterations in sleek British history?
  • What were the perceived merits and downsides of British club of the ecu Union?
  • Why has British club of the eu Union hardly attracted a countrywide consensus?

Engaging with either educational and public debates approximately Britain and the ecu Union, this quantity is key examining for all scholars of British historical past, British politics, and eu politics.

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Furthermore, Britain had escaped the mainland European wartime trauma of invasion, defeat and occupation. There was thus a far greater inclination in Britain than among the mainland European states to regard the wartime record, especially the landmark events of 1940 like the Dunkirk evacuation and the Battle of Britain, as a matter of perpetual celebration maintained by a memory bank of wartime exploits, myths and prejudices; Britain’s future seemed to lie in its past. This wartime record was viewed as affirming rather than calling into question the strength of British national culture, institutions and sovereignty.

The initial formal British response to the Messina initiative amounted to a holding operation, governed by the view that Britain should associate with the Six but avoid positive commitment to any schemes that might emerge from the Spaak committee. It was on this basis that Russell Bretherton, an 38 Limited liability, 1945–55 Under-Secretary at the Board of Trade, participated in the Spaak committee during the period July–November 1955. By the end of this period, the committee clearly favoured the formation of two new communities, an atomic energy community and a common market with a customs union as its centrepiece, in preference to the idea of a free trade area.

In support of its general recommendation against membership of a common market, the Trend Report identified four decisive considerations: the adverse impact on Britain’s relationship with the rest of the Commonwealth including the colonies; the detrimental effect on the global approach to international trade and payments; the likelihood of further integration and perhaps political federation unacceptable to British public opinion; and the removal of protection from British industry against European competition.

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