Clement Attlee, Labour
PM from 1945-1951
- Believed empire was needed to remain a world power.
- Wanted to maintain a good relationship with the US.
- Didn't want European integration- sees Empire as more important.
- Wanted to defeat Communism.
Key events in this time:
- Decolonisation of India (1947) and Palestine (1948)
- Joined intergovernmental organisations e.g. OEEC and Council of Europe
- Joined NATO
- Colonial Development scheme e.g. East Africa Ground Nut Scheme
Winston Churchill, Conservative
Served as PM 1951-55
- Wanted a United States of Europe
- Wanted to maintain a good relationship with US
- Fought Communism
- Wanted to maintain British Empire.
- Sent troops to fight against Communism in Korean War.
- Didn't join supranational organisations such as EDC and ECSC.
- Malayan Emergency (1948-1960)
Anthony Eden, Conservative
Served as PM 1955-57
- Wanted to maintain good relationship with US.
- Didn't want close links with Europe.
- Wanted to maintain the British Empire.
- Suez Crisis - fell out with US.
- Restored relationship with US by end of 1950's.
- Didn't accept the Treaty of Rome or join the EEC in 1957.
- The Suez Crisis sped up decolonisation.
Harold Macmillan, Conservative
Served as PM 1957-63
- Maintained a good relationship with the US.
- Wanted closer integration with Europe to solve economic problems in Britain.
- Recognised nationalism as a problem in the empire and encouraged decolonisation.
- Shared nuclear secrets with US and bought Polaris. (1963)
- Founded EFTA to promote trade (1959)
- Applied to EEC but wanted to keep special terms - application failed. (1961)
- Winds of Change speech (1960)
Harold Wilson, Labour
Served as PM 1964-70
- Wanted closer integration with Europe due to economic difficulties.
- Was willing to accept Treaty of Rome.
- Applies to join EEC in 1967 - fails as De Gaulle saw Britain's economic weakness as their only reason to apply.
- Devaluation of the sterling (1967) - convinced De Gaulle that economy was still weak.
- De Gaulle falls from power (1969) - left door open for Britain to reapply to EEC.
Edward Heath, Conservative
Served as PM 1970-74
- Pro-European - believed joining the EEC would bring prosperity to the country.
- Applied to EEC 1970 - successful.
- Played down relationship with US to appeal to the EEC.
- Talks stalled over agriculture so Heath interevenedby holding talks with French PM Georges Pompidou. Pompidou trusted Heath so agreed to admit UK to EEC.
- UK join EEC (1st Jan 1973).
- Labour referendum by Wilson on withdrawal from the EU (1975) - 68% voted to stay in EU.