The Schuman Plan and the British Abdication of Leadership in Europe

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byEdmund Dell

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This book provides the first detailed examination of the Attlee government's rejection of British participation in the Schuman Plan in 1950, which proposed the establishment of a common market for steel and coal as a way of avoiding future Franco-German conflict. This also representedBritain's rejection of a leading role in fashioning European political and economic intergration. Many received myths are contested: the Schuman Plan was not a bolt from the blue; domestic political circumstances did not make it impossible for Britain to join; participation would not have beenincompatible with Britain's global and Commonwealth roles. Edmund Dell assesses Ernest Bevin's conduct as Foreign Secretary during this last year of his life: in declining health but still believing himself indispensable, he was arrogantly mistaken about the Schuman plan and lacked colleagues ofcomparable stature able to tell him he was wrong. The only hope was Stafford Cripps, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but he was on the point of resignation due to ill-health and lacked the energy to press his doubts. Ministerial inadequacy was compounded by the Foreign Office, the leadingofficials in which were no less arrogant and quite as blind to the implications of the proposal. The consequence was a major policy failure which has influenced Britain's relations with its European partners right up to the present. Edmund Dell works with archival evidence, and the memoirs of participants, to place these events in the context of the 'big questions' dominating British policy formation: security, the dollar shortage, and the difficult relationship with an American administration intent both on attacking thesterling area and pressing for European federation. The result is an incisive revaluation of a key episode in post-war European history.

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This book provides the first detailed examination of the Attlee government's rejection of British participation in the Schuman Plan in 1950, which proposed the establishment of a common market for steel and coal as a way of avoiding future Franco-German conflict. This also representedBritain's rejection of a leading role in fashioning...

Edmund Dell was Lecturer in Modern History at the Queen's College from 1945 to 1947, until going into politics. He was Paymaster General from 1974 to 1976 and Secretary of State for Industry from 1976 to 1978.

other books by Edmund Dell

Format:HardcoverDimensions:338 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.98 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198289677

ISBN - 13:9780198289678

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`brilliant ... book.'New Statesman and Society, 20 June 1997