Britain and Europe 1951-73 Acronyms

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Economic coal and steel community 1951

Established through the Treaty of Paris following Schuman plan – signed by the 6, West Germany, France, Italy and Benelux). Britain didn’t join as supranational organisation – foreign secretary stated that whilst putting France and West Germany under new authority would be beneficial to them, GB wanted only consultation. Britain had the strongest coal and steel industry in Europe, and coal had just been nationalised and steel was in the process. 

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European Defence community 1950

Set up following the Pleven plan and proposed supranational army with French and German troops. Britain didn’t join as this would mean they would have to give up national sovereignty and believed this would be militarily naive and also threaten the Nato alliance. The Eden plan tried to bridge the gap and promised to send an equal no. of troops if they remained under GB control, therefore an intergovernmental agreement. Extended the Brussels pact 1948 to West Germany and Italy. Western European Union set up to manage the troops This was largely successful as it was constructed under British terms.

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The EEC was signed following the Treaty of Rome after talks at Messina, it founded the common market in 1957. The treaty was signed by West Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. In 1963 Macmillan’s application was vetoed and in 1967 so was Wilsons. Britain didn’t join in 1957 because the EEC was a supranational organisation (The Treasury and Board of trade stated that it created a trade bloc which was contrary to the doctrine of free trade – this would limit markets and wouldn’t allow them to trade properly with the Commonwealth). Eden proposed ‘plan G’ instead which would establish a free trade area throughout Europe (although this was largely unsuccessful). Also, in 1955 the Empire accounted for 40% of trade, whereas the common market accounted for only 20%.

But in 1973 Britain joined the EEC under Heath. This is because by the early 1960s it was clear the EEC was a big success, France’s production had risen by 75% and German production had risen by 90%, whilst  Britain’s had only risen by 30%. EFTA had been unsuccessful and their commonwealth trade was declining, concessions were being made by the EEC to former members of the Commonwealth, for example Nigeria in 1962. Also a decline of Empire in 1945 it has totalled 800 million people, but by 1964 this was only 15 million. Britain also had a deficit of £270 million and believed the EEC would stimulate the economy. 

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European Free Trade Association 1959

Solely intergovernmental organisation signed by Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal and Sweden, also the UK. Established as a trade bloc to European states who had not wished to join the EEC. Intergovernmental organisation. 

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The European Defence community 1950

The European Defence Community (EDC) was a plan proposed in 1950 by René Pleven, then the French Prime Minister, in response to the American call for the rearmament of West Germany. The intention was to form a pan-European defence force as an alternative to Germany's proposed accession to NATO, meant to harness its military potential in case of conflict with theSoviet bloc. The EDC was to include West Germany, FranceItaly, and the Benelux countries. A treaty was signed on 27 May 1952, but the plan never went into effect.

Eden tried to bridge the gap with the Eden Plan and later in 1954 offered to send roughly the same amount of troops as France and Germany to the continent but they would remain in British control.

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Western European Union

When the EDC failed Britan proposed the idea of a Western European Union, set up in 1955. 

It was an international organisation tasked with implementing the Modified Treaty of Brussels (1954), an amended version of the original 1948 Treaty of Brussels. The WEU was established by seven Western European nations during the Cold War.

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Historian view's

Reynolds - Britain did not want to lose her national sovereignty by surrending to a suprantational organisation

Bevin argues "she was not part of Europe"

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