Essay about Assess the Claim That Political Factors Were the Main Reasons Why British Attitude to Europe Changed During the Period from 1945-1963

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1955 saw the start of the Western European Union and talks began at Messina about a European Economic Community, the EEC. Britain maintained a strong opinion when referring to Europe and the EEC. This being scepticism, Britain didn’t take these plans very seriously. Such feelings were clearly displayed, when Britain didn’t even send an Ambassador to the Messina Conference. Instead, in keeping with their, thus far sceptical approach, only an observer was sent on the British behalf, rather than Foreign Sectary of State Harold MacMillan. Britain’s feelings hadn’t changed by 1957 when the Treaty of Rome, which created the EEC, which was signed by the six. Italy, France, Western Germany and the Benelux countries, but not by Britain.

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Britain found itself excluded from an organisation which was economically stronger than itself. This was not a place the British wanted to be, especially as it wanted to be seen as a strong force. The EEC was looking more and more attractive and beneficial to Britain, if they were to join. Britain was in no position to snub an organisation who was in such a better position than themselves. It is clear to see that without the economic struggles Britain found themselves in during the 1950’s and 60’s, that they might not have take a second look at the EEC and changed their sceptical views.

However, that doesn’t mean to say that economics were that main stimulus to Britain’s change in attitude towards Europe. Many Believe that politics played a bigger role, than any other reason. The Suez Crisis in 1956, caused a serve shock to the British and the rest of the world that Britain was no longer a Great Power. The Crisis led the Americans to be extremely annoyed at the British , as Britain had not consulted with them. Britain’s biggest issues was to restore the special relationship she had with America, as Britain was extremely dependent of the US. Britain was afraid that if the EEC continued to grow stronger, America would prefer to work with Germany then them. Not only that, due to British weakness at the time, many other Common Wealth countries, like Nigeria, were looking at the EEC as a better place to use as an exports market. Harold Macmillan therefore saw an EEC