Transformations of thought among British foreign policy makers since World War II have motivated this new study. For the first time in its history, during the postwar decade, Britain began to abandon its world power outlook and to turn toward a European consensus, substituting regional interests for its global perspective.
The author asks: How does a people so attuned to worldwide interests and commitments reconcile itself to such drastically altered circumstances as those that followed World War II? How does a people that has historically viewed with hostility the unification of continental Europe develop as a top foreign priority participation in the European integration movement? The book focuses on the response of the British Government to changing international and domestic forces, including elite groups at home.
Britain Faces Europe is the first book to examine both the development of British policy and the evolution of attitudes in the British private sector toward European integration between 1957 and 1967.
Drawing on public documents and interviews, the author traces the movement of British policy toward a more European out look. Investigating publications of interest groups such as the National Farmers Union, the Trades Union Congress, the Confederation of British Industry, and such Europe- oriented groups as Federal Union and the United Kingdom Council for Europe, the author traces the development of support for Common Market membership in the private sector. Developing attitudes in representative British newspapers and journals and those of parliamentary parties art described. Publications and statements of "anti-European organizations and public opinion polls are also examined.
Important elements of the study for all students and observers of world affairs are its examination of British expectations from European integration and its assessment of the British Common Market case from propositions about integration drawn from theoretically-oriented literature.
The book is an innovation in approach in that other studies have focused almost exclusively on descriptions of official policy without major reference to either the private sector or theories of integration at the international level.