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Since World War II, the British Labour Party has played a central role in dealing with complex international issues. Achieving real power in parliament for the first time, Labour governments have acted responsibly, and are usually in accord with the views of a substantial majority of the British people. Such was not always the case. In British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940, Henry R. Winkler synthesizes twenty years' study of the subject to offer the first full-scale treatment of the Labour Party's evolution in foreign affairs.

The Labour Party came into existence at the beginning of the twentieth century to deal with the domestic problems of the working class, and it showed relatively little interest in foreign policy issues. In the aftermath of World War I, however, small groups of moderates made the case against the bitter rejection of the Versailles Treaty by many in the Labour Party and the trade union movement. Most of these argued that the League of Nations could be used to remedy some of the deficiencies of the settlement and that such a League must have the sanction of force if it was to be effective.

During the 1930s, the failures of the League--in the Far East, Abyssinia, Spain, and Central Europe--compelled some of its advocates to conclude that, League or no League, the threat from Nazi Germany mandated support for a program of preparedness and rearmament even under the aegis of a hated National Government. The result, by 1937, was the final formal abandonment of many of the radical illusions of the twenties and thirties, as Labour reluctantly but formally assumed a posture that enabled it to share in the governance of wartime Britain and to take a key role in dealing with the international issues that emerged in the aftermath of the Second World War.

This volume contains valuable lessons on the responsibilities of political parties as well as the pros and cons of specific policies. It is essential reading for understanding Britain's later stands as its leaders tried to adjust to Britain's diminished power in the post-World War II world.

The Protectorate's foreign relations are among the most misunderstood aspects of a little-known period of British history, usually seen as an interlude between regicide and Restoration. Yet Cromwell's unique political and military position and current European conflicts enabled him to play a crucial role in international affairs, playing off France against Spain and arousing Catholic fears. Financial and security problems determined the nature of Cromwell's policies, but he achieved great influence among his neighbours in five turbulent years Until recent studies the Protectorate has been regarded as a political cul-de-sac lying uncomfortably between regicide and Restoration. Its foreign relations presented outdated 'Elizabethan' hatred of declining Spain, neglect of rising French and Dutch power, and excessive admiration of Protestant Sweden. A close study of Cromwell's domestic and international position in 1653 casts new light on his problems and successes, restoring pragmatism above religious idealism as the determining factor despite Cromwell's undoubted miscalculations. It is to his credit that England's international prestige stood at its highest during the century in 1658, helped by his unprecedently powerful (though expensive) armed forces. Despite unpopularity and subversion at home, and a narrow base of support, Cromwell utilised the Franco-Spanish war to auction his services between them, obtained England's only Continental foothold after 1558, and pressed his claim as leader of European Protestantism at a time of renewed religious tension.
This is a stimulating work with an original perspective on the most important existential question in the UK since the Second World War. Rather than focusing on the minutiae of the on-going crisis, Beatrice Heuser considers Brexit in the light of the dialectic of Empire, sovereignty and co-operative syntheses throughout history. The result is an impressive synthesis of the evolution of power relationships within and between political entities.' -- Professor Michael Newman, author of Democracy, Sovereignty and the European Union Are Europeans hard-wired for conflict? Given the enmities that wracked the Greek city-states, or the Valois, Bourbons and Habsburgs, it seems undeniable. The Holy Roman Empire promised peace, but collapsed before it could deliver it, while rival rulers counter-balanced its power by stressing their own sovereign independence. Yet, since Antiquity, there has also been a yearning for the rule of law, the Pax Romana. For seven centuries, Europe's philosophers and diplomats have sought to build institutions of compromise between the unrestricted competition of nation-states and the universal monarchy of the old empires: a confederation whose representatives would meet to resolve differences. We have seen these ambitions at least partially realised in a progression of multilateral solutions: the Congress System, the League of Nations, the United Nations, and the European Union. But, with the United Kingdom's vote to leave the EU, state sovereignty seems to be pushing back against two centuries of travel in the other direction. The Brexit result shows that distrust of a "greater Europe" and fierce insistence on state sovereignty remain live issues in today's politics. To explain recent events, Beatrice Heuser charts the history and culture underpinning this age-old tension between two systems of international affairs.
This is the second volume in The Official History of Britain and the European Community, and describes the events from 1963 up until the British referendum on the Common Market in 1975.

In 1963, General de Gaulle dashed Prime Minister Macmillan’s hopes of taking Britain into the European Community (the Common Market). When Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson tried again, de Gaulle again said ‘no’. Six years later, Prime Minister Edward Heath took Britain into the EEC. But by then the country was split and Harold Wilson, to keep the Labour Party from voting to leave, undertook to renegotiate Britain’s membership. When Labour won the 1974 election that renegotiation culminated in the first nationwide referendum ever held in the United Kingdom.

The British people voted by two to one to stay in the European Community, but British membership has been controversial ever since. This is the story of why three very different Prime Ministers all concluded that, in the British national interest, there was no viable alternative to joining the Common Market. In the words and documents of the time (those of politicians, diplomats and journalists from Britain, France and Germany) it relives the frustrations, successes and humiliations of British politicians as they wrestled with the most important issue of their generation. It shows, with the authority of the Government papers of the day, where and why today’s European controversy started and why yesterday’s challenges, and the way they were confronted, hold valid lessons for our time.

This book will be of much interest to students of British political history, European Union politics, Diplomatic History and International Relations in general.

Aspects of British Politics 1904-1919 investigates various aspects of British politics during the period 1904-1919, with emphasis on the varied reactions to the changes in British foreign policy that were made after losing its power at the beginning of the twentieth century and the resulting diminution of confidence in the government's handling of foreign affairs. The effect of World War II both on the nature of foreign affairs and on the traditional machine for the execution of foreign policy in Britain is discussed, along with the loss of morale within the Foreign Service.
This book is comprised of eight chapters and begins with an introduction to the objectives and conduct of British foreign policy, followed by an analysis of developments in Whitehall concerning diplomacy. Subsequent chapters focus on the debate over the conduct of foreign policy, especially before World War II; the fusion of politics and strategy during World War II with respect to the conduct of foreign affairs; and the setbacks suffered by British diplomacy in the first years of the war in the Balkans. Two developments with implications for foreign affairs are examined: the recognition of the importance of the economic factor in modern warfare and the development of propaganda techniques. The final two chapters are devoted to the Anglo-American relations and the demand for greater democracy in international affairs in Britain during the closing stages of World War II.
This monograph will appeal to politicians, diplomats, political scientists, and others interested in the nature of international relations.
A magisterial and profoundly perceptive survey of Britain's post-war role on the global stage, from Suez to Brexit.

'Admirably lucid and measured, as well as studded with sharp pen portraits of the key players, Britain Alone gives us the fullest long-run political and diplomatic narrative yet of Britain's fateful, tragi-comic road to Brexit.'
DAVID KYNASTON

'Philip Stephens has produced that rare thing - an instant classic. Britain Alone is the codebook we need to unravel the six and a half decades between Suez and Brexit, and Stephens is a master of historical codebreaking.'
PETER HENNESSY


How might we celebrate Britain's undoubted strengths while accepting that we have slipped from the top table? How can we act as a great nation while no longer pretending to be a great power? How might we be European and global?

In 1962 the American statesman Dean Acheson famously charged that Britain had lost an empire and failed to find a new role. Nearly sixty years later the rebuke rings true again. Britain's postwar search for its place in the world has vexed prime ministers and government since the nation's great victory in 1945: the cost of winning the war was giving up the empire.

After the humiliation of Anthony Eden's Suez expedition, Britain seemed for a time to have found an answer. Clinging to its self-image as a great island nation, it would serve as America's best friend while acknowledging its geography by signing up to membership of the European Union. Never a comfortable balancing act, for forty years it appeared to work. In 2016 David Cameron called the Brexit referendum and blew it up.

Award-winning journalist Philip Stephens paints a fascinating portrait of a nation struggling to reconcile its waning power with past glory. Drawing on decades of personal contact and interviews with senior politicians and diplomats in Britain, the United States and across the capitals of Europe, Britain Alone is a vivid account of a proud nation struggling to admit it is no longer a great power. It is an indispensable guide to how we arrived at the state we are in.
The many dimensions of the Irish Question, 1800−1922, constituted the most emotion-laden problem in British politics, often to the detriment of other imperial interests -- a Gordian knot only severed by the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. In this volume Lawrence J. McCaffrey presents a coherent view of the evolution of Irish nationalism since 1800 and the impact of the Irish Question on British culture, politics, and institutions.

The emotional nexus of the Irish Question was the religious issue, but McCaffrey believes that nationalism emerged from the attempt of the Irish Protestant minority, supported by Britain, to maintain religious, political, economic, and social ascendancy over a deprived and resentful majority. Although British concessions to Irish agitation removed many grievances -- granting to Ireland virtual religious equality, along with substantial social, economic, and political reforms -- nationalism, often frustrated in its attempts to secure reform and freedom, assumed an increasingly rigid position. Nationalists were not willing to settle for less than self-government, and as constitutional methods failed to achieve this goal, violence seemed the only other alternative.

The bitter dissensions created by the Irish Question left permanent marks upon British politics and institutions. The efforts of two Prime Ministers, Peel and Gladstone, to resolve the conflict split their parties, thus contributing to political confusion and instability. But the Irish nationalist−British Liberal alliance achieved improvement in the condition of Ireland and speeded advancement of democracy in Britain. And the attempt of British politicians to deal with the economic and social aspects of the Irish Question undermined laissez faire and encouraged the progress of the welfare state in both islands. On the other hand, the challenge of Irish nationalism sustained and stimulated the no-Popery roots of British nativism, making it an influential factor in politics until early in the twentieth century.

The Irish Question, McCaffrey believes, has particular relevance in our contemporary world of emerging nations, wars of liberation, and tensions between majorities and minorities. Ireland offers an early example of the dreams of cultural nationalists becoming realities and of the sobering fact that ideological revolutionaries often make poor practical politicians.

England in the Age of Palmerston had two players of colossal influence on the world stage: Lord Palmerston himself - the dominant figure in foreign affairs in the mid-nineteenth century - and The Times - the first global newspaper, read avidly by statesmen around the world. Palmerston was also one of the first real media-manipulating politicians of the modern age, forging close links with a number of publications to create the so-called 'Palmerston press'. His relationship with The Times was more turbulent, a prolonged and bitter rivalry preceding eventual rapprochement during the Crimean War. In this book, Laurence Fenton explores the highly charged rivalry between these two titans of the mid-Victorian era, revealing the personal and political differences at the heart of an antagonism that stretched over the course of three decades. Fenton focuses on the years from 1830 to 1865, when Palmerston was British Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister for a combined total of almost twenty-five years, and when The Times, under the editorship of first Thomas Barnes and then John Delane, reached the zenith of its success.
It was a period during which public interest in foreign affairs grew immeasurably, encompassing the tumultuous 'Year of Revolutions', the famous 'Don Pacifico' debate and the Crimean War. Palmerston and The Times adds significantly to the understanding of the life and career of Lord Palmerston, in particular the relationship he enjoyed with the press and public opinion that was so vital to his incredibly long and multifaceted political career. It also brings to light the remarkable men behind the success of The Times, paying fair tribute to their abilities while at the same time warning against the long-standing view of The Times as a paragon of newspaper independence in this era. It will be essential reading for researchers of Victorian history and for anyone interested in the tumultuous relationship between politics and the press.
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