Wielka Brytania wobec integracji europejskiej w latach 1945-1950
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Great Britain and European Integration in the Years 1945-1950
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During the Second World War Winston Churchill called for a close cooperation among countries in postwar Europe with the purpose of uniting them under the leadership of Great Britain. After the war, on account of its prestige and international status, Great Britain seemed to be a natural leader of Western Europe. In 1945 the Conservative Party was replaced in power by the Labour Party but the latter’s attitude toward European integration and the place of Europe in Great Britain’s politics did not differ in essentials from that of the Conservatives, although it should be noted that the traditional reasons of reluctance in tightening cooperation with continental Europe were supplemented by the Labourites with new ones, in line with the party’s the anti-capitalist socio-economic program. In the years 1945-1950 the British government, contrary to the expectations of Western European countries had no intention of leading the process of European integration or even participating in it. However, it was ready to support such activities similarly to Britain’s stance in the interwar period. Churchill, who was then in opposition, championed European integration albeit on the French-German basis, without the participation of Great Britain. When he came back to power in 1951 he continued his predecessors’ policy of splendid isolation in relations with Europe. Therefore, one may speak of a continuity of British policy toward European integration from the interwar period to the early 1960s when the British government expressed its will to join the EEC. This policy had far reaching consequences both for Great Britain and Europe which can be experienced even today.
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