U.K. Recent History 2

U.K. Recent History Part II


Foreign policy development: With the independence of its colonies (India, Burma, Ceylon / Sri Lanka) inside and outside the Commonwealth of Nations, the process of dissolution of the British empire began, which continued under the conservative governments (since 1951). However, this process of detachment was not always peaceful. When the Attlee government transferred the Palestine mandate to the UN in 1947, the Middle East conflict began. In the context of its colonial legacy, Great Britain and Northern Ireland remained faced with many unresolved problems from the new Third World states.

According to Homosociety, British foreign policy in World War II (especially at the major World War II conferences) assumed that only a post-war order supported by the “Big Three” (USA, USSR and Great Britain and Northern Ireland) could last. At the Potsdam Conference(1945) Churchill, and after him Attlee, sought to work in this way. In close connection with the policies of US Presidents Roosevelt and H. S. Truman, Great Britain and Northern Ireland worked intensively on the founding of the UN, on whose Security Council it received a permanent seat.

Following the German surrender, Great Britain and Northern Ireland participated as one of the main victorious powers in the occupation of Germany (German history) and the re-established Republic of Austria (Austria, history). In 1947 it concluded an alliance with France (Dunkirk Treaty), which in 1948 was expanded to form the Brussels Pact with the Benelux countries in order to be able to fend off the aggression of a Germany that might regain its strength in the future. In view of the East-West conflict that has become visible since 1946 Great Britain and Northern Ireland increased their defense efforts under the Labor government, made a significant contribution to the establishment of NATO (1949), provided the UN forces with a contingent of British troops after the outbreak of the Korean War (1950) and advocated the merger of the western zones of occupation into the Federal Republic of Germany (1949). The conservative governments began building a British nuclear force.

Since the late 1940s, Great Britain and Northern Ireland supported the integration efforts of the parliamentary democracies of Europe; It joined the Council of Europe in 1949, but declined to join the supranational coal and steel union (later the European Coal and Steel Community, ECSC) in view of its non-European ties. The Churchill government and its successors strengthened Anglo-American relations on the one hand, but tried to relax the East-West relationship on the other hand and made a decisive contribution to the convening of the Geneva Summit Conference (Geneva Conferences) 1955 at. The military intervention of British and French troops after the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egypt (1956) put a strain not only on British relations with the USSR, but also with the USA. In view of the sharp criticism at home and abroad of his Middle East policy, Prime Minister Eden was forced to resign in January 1957. The political and diplomatic defeat of France and Great Britain and Northern Ireland showed how limited their international scope for action had now become.

Farewell to world politics and turn to Europe

In January 1957, H. Macmillan took over the leadership of the government. In 1959, under the sign of increasing prosperity, he was able to lead the Conservative Party to a clear election victory (365 members of the Conservatives, 258 of the Labor Party). Despite the economic upturn, he was faced with growing inflation and rising unemployment; He tried to limit the economic power of the trade unions. In terms of legal policy, his government restricted the death penalty (1957; completely abolished in 1965). In its defense concept, the Macmillan government placed the emphasis on the development of atomic bombs and launch vehicles. Their efforts to build a joint NATO nuclear force (Bahama Conference; 1962) prompted the President C. de Gaulle to free France from the military integration of NATO.

On the foreign policy front, Great Britain and Northern Ireland developed strong disarmament policy activities, emphasizing their close ties with the United States (including the conclusion of a test freeze agreement with the United States and the USSR in 1963). In contrast to the policy of the conservatives, which had been strongly oriented towards the British imperial idea, Macmillan continued the policy of decolonization initiated by the Attlee government. As part of a “tripartite agreement” (1959), Great Britain and Northern Ireland agreed with Greece and Turkey to create an independent Republic of Cyprus.

U.K. Recent History 2