Foreign Affairs 1951 -1964


Foreign Affairs 1951 -1964


  • Harold Macmillan 'Winds of Change' Speech - This speech was conducted in Cape Town, it addressed the countries need for independence, which needed to occur before tensions descended into violence. There was a change from pre 60's attitude, this called for decolonisation and there was recognition of the independence movement.
  • Mau Mau Rebellion - Britain were effective at realising that the process of independence needed to be swift. Iain McLeod helped hugely to reduce the amount of conflict that occurred in the transition from a colonial country to independence.
  • The Commonwealth - This was a positive as it meant that Britain didn't lose all the trade links and kept a positive relationship with them. Many products we have would not be possible without the commonwealth.
  • Open door policy - Britain were given the option to join the EEC or not, and were offered to take a leading role. Britain saw European integration as important for continental Europe. Also,  Britain had a very strong relationship with the USA.
  • NATO - Britain were fighting in the Korean War as part of the United Nations. They had became a founding member of NATO.


  • Suez Crisis - This was a humiliating defeat to the British. The canal was owned by France and Britain and Colonel Nasser nationalised the canal. Meaning that the main trade way for Britain for oil was gone. France, Israel and Britain organised a staged invasion in which France and Britain would appear as the 'peace-keepers' in this situation. Whereas, it was just an attempt to gain the canal back. Britain then experienced a shortage of oil and then went to America for a bail out, but 'not another dime' was allowed until they had removed from Suez. This was humiliating for Anthony Eden.
  • Decolonisation -Britain lost a lot of their empire, including Ghana (1957), West Indies (1958), Nigeria and Cyprus (1960), Sierra Leone (1961), Uganda (1962) and Kenya (1963). There was an accelerating rate for independence that echoed through nations.
  • Rejection from the EEC IN 1961 - After the creation of EFTA ( European Free Trade Area, it was only moderately successful. So then, Britain applied for membership in the EEC, they were rejected on the means of French Prime Minister Charles De Gaulle due to the influence from the Americans.
  • Locked out - Britain had began to change the attitude towards the economic means of the EEC. Power of Britain hit by Suez, and US wanted Britain to be the bridge between Europe and them.
  • The 'special' relationship - We were militarily overstretched and we were heavily dependent on American power. Demonstrated by the costs spent on a nuclear deterrent .


Britain were able to show empathy to the people who needed independence which showed their power in allowance for the countries to gain independence without violence, whilst Britain were able to keep a mild alliance through the commonwealth which still demonstrated some power. In terms, of the EEC, Britain came off as arrogant through the rejection of the offer, due to the fact the age of prosperity was rife. But, when the economy struggled, they went to the EEC and suffered three rejections, showing that they were no longer a stronger power that Europe wanted in their circle of power. The USA, had a huge part in the influence of Britain and the decisions, Macmillan had a close relationship with Eisenhower and later, J.F Kennedy. We were pushed into applying to the EEC, to try establish and be a vital link for America in Europe.


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