• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Foreign Policy failures of British Governments in the years 1951- 1964 were due to a lack of realism about Britains post-war world. Assess the validity of this view (45)

Extracts from this document...


?The Foreign Policy failures of British Governments in the years 1951- 1964 were due to a lack of realism about Britain?s post-war world?. Assess the validity of this view (45) The years 1951- 1964 saw the occurrence of several foreign policy failures within British Politics. The failures include the formation and downfall of a rival group to the EEC called EFTA, as well as the occurrence of the Suez Crisis and the loss of the British Empire which previously allowed Britain to stand as a dominating world power. Though, historians are in constant dispute over the true cause of these failures where some believe that the lack of realism across British politics and society was the root cause of foreign policy failures, other historians tend to disagree. To begin with, it is arguable to suggest that a lack of realism engulfed Britain as a whole to trigger the occurrence of foreign policy failures. Society and the government failed to recognise the declining role Britain played in the world. Due to this, many proclaim it arrogant of Britain to have delayed earlier involvement with Europe. Whilst other nations like France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, West Germany and Luxemburg as the founding members of the EEC can arguable be recognised to have started modern integration between European countries who would begin to act as one body with mutual benefits (i.e. ...read more.


The independence movements which derived during World War II are recognised as momentous turns in history saw the occurrence of individual and political protests as well as strikes and boycotts across global colonies in the demand for independence. Therefore some may argue it to be inevitable that Britain found such movements very difficult to control. This is includes the violent Mau Mau Rebellion of 1952 which is proclaimed to have been unexpected, but believed to have triggered reform and Kenyan independence in 1963. Also, Malaya and Cyprus too saw the occurrence of popular and unexpected demands for independence which increased Britain?s expenditure on defence causing in some cases the problem to escalate and therefore creating foreign policy failures. Establishing the fact that Britain was no longer financially secure, like many previous Imperial powers at the time Britain could no longer supress these nationalists because it simply could not afford to and consequently decided to undergo decolonisation. Thus, we can argue that foreign policy failures such as the Suez Crisis happened because Britain was now a pawn in a Kings game; therefore the emergence of new superpowers like the USA meant Britain could no longer throw its weight about, it had to comply to the rules of its superior (USA) ...read more.


Whilst, the Suez Crisis saw Britain put into its place by the USA by enlightening the public that it was no longer strong enough to stand up to the USA as it was suffering from huge economic losses. The role of individuals such as Eden and De Gaulle can be recognised to have caused foreign policy failures. De Gaulle for one vetoed Britain?s application into the EEC, creating foreign policy problems for the country by preventing it to be in with the political and economic inner circle. The French president can be seen to have brought Britain into its place by understanding Britain would be an awkward partner in the EEC. De Gaulle wanted to limit the growing influence the USA was obtaining, especially in Europe therefore by rejecting Britain?s application, De Gaulle was objecting to American interference that were pushing Britain to get into the EEC. Whereas Edens personality conflicted his judgement in the case of the Suez Crisis when responding to Colonel Nassers actions. Although Eden proclaimed himself to be an expert in foreign policy he created the biggest foreign policy failure which would in the coming decades always degrade Britain. Believing that Britain was still an Imperial power he is accused of literally forcing the cabinet to agree with him in dealing with the Suez situation which would turn into one of the biggest scandals in British history. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Henry VIII'S Foreign Policy.

    Wolsey aimed to meet the entire costs of war from the lay and clerical purse, for which reason he had improved the system of assessing individuals for taxation purposes with the Tudor subsidy (introduced in 1513). This was a radical departure from previous practices and explains many of the difficulties

  2. The efforts of the British government to join the EEC in the years 1961 ...

    The decision by Abdel Nasser to nationalize the Suez Canal damaged Britain's economic interests in the region which was a major trading route to get Middle Eastern oil to Britain. Subsequently, Nasser's decision caused uproar in Britain shared by the public and conservatives.

  1. Margaret Thatchers Foreign Policy 1979-1990 enhanced Britains position in the world. Assess the validity ...

    When the collapse of the Berlin Wall signified the end of Communism in 1989, Britain was portrayed as being a crucial player, as Margaret Thatcher successfully negotiated with Gorbachev.

  2. Within the context of 1880-1980, to what extent did British actions accelerate British decolonisation ...

    White has theorised that the latter is true, citing that the reason as to why "the colonies were ditched was to release resources for domestic welfare spending"5. Moreover, the fact National Service was revoked in 1960 reduced Britain's ability to defend its colonies against uprising nationalist movements: conscription was ended

  1. Successful at home but a failure abroad Assess the validity of this view of ...

    Howver, The Act was not taken up in all areas and would be more firmly enforced through later reforms. There were objections to the concept of universal education. One was because many people remained hostile to the idea of mass education.

  2. The British reforms to change India failed because the British would sometimes use force ...

    The events at Amritsar led to the passing of the Government of India Act in 1919 which was originally thought up by the Montague-Chelmsford Act. The Government of India Act would completely change the way India was governed however, many Indians now didn't trust the British and didn't believe that the reforms would last.

  1. Assess the validity of the view that the Rump and Barebones parliaments had no ...

    Then two weeks later Cromwell landed near Dublin with 30,000 highly trained soldiers. With the help of the infamous massacres of the civilian populations of Drogheda (11th September 1649) and Wexford (11th October 1649) where about 4,600 people were put to death, Cromwell advanced through southern and western Ireland.

  2. Why did the Conservatives remain in power between 1951 1964?

    This meant that the conservatives had time to recover from the political media storm that arose from it.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work