IN the course of 1989 and 1990 the world changed beyond all recognition. The collapse of communism throughout Eastern Europe left Western governments facing a situation that was unexpected and complex. In particular the rapid movement to German unity inserted a new element into the calculations of the leaders of other West European states.
Faced with the emergence of a reunited Germany, with borders that extended into Central Europe, the leaders of most member states of the EC decided that there was an even greater need to press forward to political union so as to contain the new state, but also so as to tie it into the EC and prevent it drifting eastward and concentrating on reconstructing the links that had existed between Germany and Eastern Europe before the wars.
Margaret Thatcher drew different conclusions. During 1989 and 1990 her position on further European integration increasingly came to be out of line with the positions of the other EC leaders, but also to be at odds with the position of the new Administration in the United States, and ultimately with the position of other leading members of her own Government. Thatcher was always of the opinion that, just because she was out of line with everybody else, that did not mean that she was wrong. However, her failure to adapt to the changing circumstances and thinking of the post-Cold War world proved to be the cause of her downfall.
There can be little question about the most important international developments of 1989 and 1990. Gorbachev's policy of perestroika in the Soviet Union allowed the freeing up of the monolithic regimes that had existed in Eastern Europe. In the German Democratic Republic the communist regime came under pressure from popular movements, and in the course of 1989 there began a