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"Explaining British Policy Towards European Integration in the 1950s"

Ellison, James R.V. (1995) "Explaining British Policy Towards European Integration in the 1950s". In: UNSPECIFIED, Charleston, South Carolina. (Unpublished)

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    Recently, Alan Milward has argued that diplomatic historians have failed in their analysis of the formation and growth of the EEC and suggests that a new theoretical framework for the process of western European integration is necessary. This paper responds to Milward's views. There is absolutely no question that Milward's analysis of Britain's economic policies towards western European integration in the 1950s is seminal. However, the vacuum in Milward's work is his disregard for more traditional diplomatic accounts of Britain's attitudes towards western European integration in the 1950s, which stress the importance of wider foreign policy considerations. When read in parallel, the economic and diplomatic histories move towards a more" comprehensive understanding of British policy. The first aim of this paper is to analyse the dichotomy in the historiography of British policy from 1950 to 1955. The nature of London's western European integration policy from 1955 to 1958 has received much less detailed archival attention. What has been learnt from the development of the historiography of Britain's relations with western Europe up until 1955 is that historians are dealing with a complex set of policy frameworks and decisions. There are both economic and diplomatic determinants, not to mention wider considerations such as defence policy. To meet the requirements Milward has suggested are crucial to a new understanding of the dynamics of western European integration, historians need to provide an overarching analysis of British policy from 1955 to 1958. This should include both economic and diplomatic investigation. Only by taking such a comprehensive view of British policy will it be possible to reach a platform from which historians can satisfy themselves and make contributions to other disciplines also interested in the process of post-war western European integration. The second aim of this paper, therefore, is to employ ongoing research in British archives to show what recently released governmental documentation reveals about the nature of British policy in the latter half of the 1950s. Do the conclusions of economic and diplomatic historians of British policy in the first half of the 1950s have relevance to the second, especially when it is considered that the European Free Trade Area proposal represented, to an extent, a new direction in British attitudes?

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > U.K.
    Other > integration theory (see also researching and writing the EU in this section)
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > historical development of EC (pre-1986)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 1995 (4th), May 11-14, 1995
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2007
    Page Range: p. 14
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:45

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