Britain, France and the Struggle for Leadership in the European Union
Routledge – 2004
Series: British Politics and Society
This book takes a fresh look at British responses to European unity, challenging standard assumptions that Brits were not interested in Europe and that governments did the best they could in seeking to balance worldwide interests. By contrast, the author argues that the American alliance distracted leaders from other policy options. An Anglo-French alliance could have reconfigured Euro-American relations, offsetting the shrinking of power. As well as reassessing the policies of Bevin, Churchill, Eden, Macmillan and Wilson towards Europe the book highlights a dimension neglected by the literature - the impact of the post-1945 revolution in international affairs on a run-down, overloaded Whitehall engine room which lacked the capacity for forward strategic thinking. This analysis, unlike many accounts that focus almost wholly on British decision-making, investigates French attitudes and the dynamics of the mesentente cordiale.
Anthony Adamthwaite is Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. A Yorkshire man by birth, educated at the Universities of Durham and Leeds he has published widely on interwar international relations, twentieth century French foreign policy and the origins of World War II. He has held fellowships and visiting professorships in Paris, Tokyo, Toronto, and Washington D.C. His previous books are: France and the Coming of Second World War (1977); The Making of the Second World War (1979); The Lost Peace: International Relations in Europe 1918-1939 (1980); Grandeur and Misery: France’s bid for power in Europe 1914-1940 (1995).