The General Says No: Britain's Exclusion from Europe

By Nora Beloff | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
EUROPE IN UNIFORM

FIFTEEN months after sponsoring a motion at Strasbourg that Britain should join a European Army, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of England. On the continent, there were great expectations that he would end Britain's isolation and take over the leadership of the emergent European Community. As it turned out, in office, Britain's non-European links loomed large, and in foreign affairs the Conservatives broadly took over where Labour left off.

On the European side the Coal and Steel Pool had already laid the basis for Franco-German reconciliation: once German heavy industry was safely integrated into a European system, it had been argued, there could be no revival of dreaded German militarism. And then, quite suddenly, Germany's neighbours found themselves being asked whether - now that Germany was internationally respectable again - it could not safely be re-armed? It was highly paradoxical that for the next few years the drive towards European unity, originally designed to neutralize the German danger, became inextricably entangled with the question of German re-armament.

This was in no way the fault of the Germans who, for financial and political reasons, were still very reluctant to re-arm. What happened was that the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 had driven the Americans into one of their recurring panics that the Russians were about to take over the world. Playing their favourite numbers game, they frightened themselves by contrasting Soviet and Western forces along the two sides of the Iron Curtain. They never stopped to think the Russians might be more vulnerable in Eastern Europe than the Americans were in Western Europe: if the Communist conspiracy had at one moment been alarming in Paris and Rome, the nationalist antipathy to Moscow in Berlin, Budapest, Warsaw, and Prague was now a much more dangerous and lasting challenge to the Russians. But by mid 1950,

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The General Says No: Britain's Exclusion from Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • Chapter One - The Execution 11
  • Chapter Two - De Gaulle: Man and Monarch 19
  • Chapter Three - De Gaulle: Anglo-Saxon Attitudes 28
  • Chapter Four - New Notions of Europe 39
  • Chapter Five - Britain Says No to Europe 50
  • Chapter Six - Europe in Uniform 61
  • Chapter Seven - Europe Splits 70
  • Chapter Eight - Unsplendid Isolation 84
  • Chapter Nine - Macmillan Somersaults 95
  • Chapter Ten - Brussels: First Round 113
  • Chapter Eleven - Brussels: Last Round 132
  • Chapter Twelve - The Débâcle 148
  • Epilogue 172
  • European Institutions 181
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