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Europe and the Struggle for Leadership : Britain and France, 1945-1975 (Paperback) (Anthony Adamthwaite)
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Europe and the Struggle for Leadership offers a comparative history of sharply contrasting national experiences in the aftermath of the Second World War. Perceived as a failing power, post-war France seized the initiative in European construction, gaining ascendancy in Western Europe; Britain became the sick man. How and why did the French outsmart their arch-rivals?
Drawing on American, British and French official records, together with private papers and interviews, Anthony Adamthwaite explores the reasons for French success. As well as reassessing Britain's membership bids for the European Community, the analysis evaluates key influences: the mental maps of decision makers; leadership styles; the post-1945 international system; policy making machinery; the 'democratic deficit' in British and French politics; public opinion. The study highlights the importance of contingency and individual actors. Britain's altercation with the Community's French doorkeeper, argues the author, ignored the elephant in the room- the need for a revived entente in the Cold War era. An Anglo-French couple powering European unity could have repositioned Western Europe as partner, not client of the United States.