The General Says No: Britain's Exclusion from Europe

By Nora Beloff | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE

NOBODY was pleased with the ending. The Western alliance and the Kennedy 'Grand Design' were shaken to their foundations. But though this was cheering to the Soviet Union, the Franco-- German treaty, with its military and potentially nuclear provisions, gave no cause for comfort to the Russians. The French had forfeited their leading role inside the Community by quarrelling with all their allies. The Germans felt diddled by their old Chancellor, but still too nervous and unsure of themselves to dare get rid of him. The Italians were bitterly resentful of the 'Paris-- Bonn' axis. The little countries nursed a sense of grievance and betrayal. A spring had broken in the European Community, and no one knew whether it could ever be repaired. And the British Government was left looking politically naked and ridiculous.

What had gone wrong? Were there any lessons to be drawn from the long sad tale, beyond the confirmation of Puck's dictum: 'Lord what fools these mortals be!'

Britain's mistake, perhaps, was in failing to deal with first things first. Before proposing the revolutionary merger of the British economy into E.E.C., Britain should perhaps have stopped to examine what kind of Europe she wanted and why.

Historically, the decision to apply for entry followed unsuccessful efforts to find other ways of leaping over tariff walls into the lush and growing European markets. The Europeans had insisted on a political commitment and so a political commitment Britain made: at first shamefacedly, then keenly, and finally with booming zeal.

Imperceptibly, the political aspect of the merger ceased to be the means and became the end. The same Prime Minister who had once told Parliament why it would be 'fatal' to British interests for Britain to go in was able to write:

-172-

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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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