The Making of Modern Britain 16- Foreign Affairs

What dominated foreign policy in the early 80s?
The Falklands.
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What were the Falklands?
Islands 300 miles east of South American mainland. British colony and naval base since 1833.
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Who claimed ownership to the Falklands?
The Argentians, called them Las Malvinas.
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By 70s- what was Britain considering to do?
Falklands had no longer much strategic importance. Foreign office prepared to negotiate with Argentina over future of islands.
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But, what were the islanders keen to have?
British identity.
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1981- what did foreign secutary, Lord Carrington, and Defence secutary John Nott decide to do?
Approve the withdrawel of HMS Endurance. Left the South Atlantic without any British naval presence.
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How did the Argentinian military junta think of this as?
A sign the Britain was willing to let the Falklands go.
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What did General Galtieri do in response to this?
Sent an invasion force to occupy the Falklands- claimed sovereignity over the Las Malvinas.
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What did Lord Carrington do as a result?
Resigned as he didn't want to pull out, but had been overruled.
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How did the British govt face a dilemma?
To win back the islands, it would be very difficult and dangerous. Had already suggested negotiations.
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Despite this, what was Thatcher's response to the invasion?
A naval task force would be sent to remove the Argentine forces. Assert the right of the Falklands insiders to self-determination.
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How did this have an effect on the Thatcher govt?
Previously unpopular, but decision sent thme soaring in the opinion polls .
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How was the Falklands battle viewed by the public?
Very patriotic. Took everyone by surprise.
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Name the headline of the American magazine Newsweek.
'The Empire Strikes Back'.
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Even though this task force had been sent, what was Britain trying to engage Argentina in?
Diplomatic efforts to try and get them to pull their troops back.
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2nd May- how did the last chance at peaceful settlemnet disappear?
A British submarine sank the General Belgrano, caused heavy loss of life.
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Why was it controversial?
the Belgrano was heading away from the battle zone. Many applauded the action e.g. the Sun 'GOTCHA!'. But there was anti-war protests, claimed it to be unecessary.
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Why did Britain have to get the USa on board?
Difficult fighting a war 8000 miles from home, without the use of Ameican bases such as Ascension Island.
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What did America respond to the Falklands?
Gave the green light (unlike Suez)- stengthened relationship with Thatcher and Reagan.
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List the events from 4th May to 21st May.
4th May- Exocet missile destroyed HMS Sheffield. Americna intervention needed to prevent the Argentianian forces gaining missiles to defeat the British. 21st May- British troops landed in St. Carlos Water, between E & W. Falkland.
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14th June- what happened?
Once landings were secure, victory was certain. Argentian forces surrended on the 14th June.
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Why was the impact on Thatcher's foreign policy less clear-cut?
Critics suggested the invasion was unecessary as sooner or later, Britain would ahve negotiated a deal with the Argentianians.
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But how was the psychological impact important?
70s- Britain's international position seemed to be in decline, now there was a resurgence of pride for Britain.
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What was the wider context of the Falklands?
Made it less likely that Britain would force the people of Gibraltar to accept being handed to Spain.
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What didn't the war stop?
The tidying up of Britain's imperial legacy.
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The special relationship with the USA.
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Who was there a strong bond between?
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, both personally and ideologically.
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Why did they have a personal bond?
Both came from generations whose lives had been shaped by WW2.
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In what situations was the Thatcher-Reagan link powerful?
Having a tough stance on the USSR, the Falklands and deploying cruise missiles.
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1986- what did Thatcher allow?
Gave permission for the USA to use British Navla bases to bomb Libya. Even though people against it.
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However, what differences were there?
1983- US invaded Grenada after a communist coup. Against advice of Thatcher.
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Moves to end the Cold War.
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By the late 70- how well was the West competing in the Cold War?
Seemed to be losing. Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979- dangerous threat to Western interests.
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Between 1979 and 1981- which three new 'Cold War warriors' emerged?
Thatcher, Reagan, and Pope John Paul II. All determined to challenge Soviet power. Both militarilly and ideologically.
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What was the period 1979-85 known as?
The 'New Cold War'. Marked by rising tenson.
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How can Thatcher's willingness to support the USA be seen?
By her agreement to deploy US cruise missiles in Britain.
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What did the international tension make fear of?
The threat of nuclear war between the East and the West become ever more real.
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What did the government produce which highlighted this fear?
Protect and Survive booklets- told people what to do in the event of a nuclear attack.
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How were these fears reflected in popular culture?
BBC TV drama Threads of 1984 was a documentary-style account of the aftermath of a nuclear conflict in Britain. When the Wind Blows- by Raymond Briggs, 1986, elderly couple preparing for a nuclear conflict.
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1983- how many people marched with the CND in London to oppose nuclear weapons?
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Similar demonstrations held across Europe, how mnay attended one in West Germany?
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Thatcher and moves to end the Cold War 1985-7.
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What three pillars did Thatcher's contribution to ending the Cold War?
Her combative style and determination to confront the USSR; her willingness to negotiate wth the new reformist Gorbachev, and hwo her foreing polcy was based on special relationship with the USA.
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When did Gorbachev become leader of the Soviet Union?
1985. 30 years younger than his predeccesors.
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Wh did Gorbachev make a good impression on?
On the hard-line conservatives, Thatcher and Reagan.
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What did Thatcher say when he first met Gorbachev in 1984?
'I like Mr Gorbachev, he and I can do business together'.
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What did Thatcher encourage Reagan about?
Negotiations with Gorbachev. 1986- Reykjavik summit, found that both could do business together.
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As a result, what was signed in 1987?
The Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. This limited short-range missiles and began a process of mutual disarmament. This didn't mean an end to the Cold War, but an end appeared possible.
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Thatcher and Britain's relationship with Europe.
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What style of dipolmacy did Thatcher have when negotiating with Europe?
A 'handbag diplomacy'. More abrasive style of negotiation in comparison to the more patient and measured negotiations that were more usual.
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What did her 'handbag diplomacy' sometimes cause?
Consternation,a nd rufled the consensual politics favoured by other European leaders.
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What else were there issues over?
How Britain cooperated with Europe.
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What was Thatcher's first priority in Europe?
To secure a better deal for Britain over financial contributions to the EEC. Paying more in than it was receiving in benefits.
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What was Thatcher's persisitant campaign for?
To get Britain a rebate. She was successful in 1984. This well played with her supporters back home, but irritated some of her European partners.
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Who did Thatcher establish a good working relationship with?
The French president, Francois Mitterrand (president from 1981-95).
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What did they cooperate closely on?
The Channel Tunnel Project, which was agreed in 186 and opened in 1994. Such a symbolic link showed hardly any proof of anti-Europeanism.
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In 1986, what did Thatcher help to negotiate with other European members of the EEC?
The Single European Act. Most important piece of legislation since UK entered. Changed the assembly into European parliament, mentioned possil future monetary union. Thatcher was excited about this.
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Why was Thatcher in support of this?
It would make a free market in Europe a reality.
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But at the same time, what would it hinder?
surrendered some elements of British sovereignity.
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What became an important arbiter between disputes between members?
The European Court. At the time, Thatcher ignored implications of this.
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When was the act passed and what was it passed with?
June 1986, and with little controversy.
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Divisions within the Conservative Party over Europe.
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When Thatcher first became PM, who were the divisions of Europe between?
The 'wets' and 'dries'.
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As the decade progressed, who dominated the Conservative Party?
The 'dries'. Thatcherite policies had prevailed
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What did the electoral successes in 1983 and 87 do for Thatcher?
Justified Thatcher's premiership. Economic improvements also helped.
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What was not apparent among the party?
The serious schism that would form over Europe.
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During early 80s- most ministers were?
Pro-European- all favoured it's expansion.
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Why were they all behind the expansion?
Creation and strenghtening of free market across the EEC fit in line with Thatcherite economic goals.
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However, give an example of how cracks were appering to show within the Conservative Party?
The Westland Affair 1986- Michael Heseltine (defence secutary) his views on the future of the Westland helicopter company were being ignored. the final straw came when Mrs Thatcher insisted all his public comments on Westland would have to be vetted
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Who spoke out against the Single European Act?
Only a few backbenchers such as Enoch Powell. But seeds had been sown for later discontent.
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Thatcher as an international figure.
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Was Thatcher experienced in foreign affairs?
NO, she had very little experience.
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By 1987 however, what had she become?
An international stateswomen. Tough stance against the Soviets got her nicknamed the 'Iron Lady'. Gained the reputation for bringing USA and USSR together.
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What else did she gain back?
Britain's special relationship with the USA. People thought she my not be able to stand up to Reagan. Denis Healey- 'Reagan's poodle'.
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How did she show her Iron Lady stance in Europe?
Won Britain a rebate. Shown herself to be willing to work with European allies to strengthen the EEC.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What were the Falklands?


Islands 300 miles east of South American mainland. British colony and naval base since 1833.

Card 3


Who claimed ownership to the Falklands?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


By 70s- what was Britain considering to do?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


But, what were the islanders keen to have?


Preview of the front of card 5
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