Assess the Claim That Political Factors Were the Main Reasons Why British Attitude to Europe Changed During the Period from 1945-1963

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1955 saw the start of the Western European Union and talks began at Messina about a European Economic Community, the EEC. Britain maintained a strong opinion when referring to Europe and the EEC. This being scepticism, Britain didn’t take these plans very seriously. Such feelings were clearly displayed, when Britain didn’t even send an Ambassador to the Messina Conference. Instead, in keeping with their, thus far sceptical approach, only an observer was sent on the British behalf, rather than Foreign Sectary of State Harold MacMillan. Britain’s feelings hadn’t changed by 1957 when the Treaty of Rome, which created the EEC, which was signed by the six. Italy, France, Western Germany and the Benelux countries, but not by Britain.

There
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It became clear that British industry was in a bad state and needed reviving. Once that economic recovery happened in Europe, Britain’s economic problems were showcased, and Britain was being overtaken by Europe. In 1950 Britain’s output in shipbuilding was 25 per cent and Germany’s was a mere 7.3 percent. However, by 1960 the situation had completely changed. Britain’s shares had fallen to 16.5 per cent and Germany’s had risen and over taken Britain’s with a share of 19.3 per cent. This growth for Germany, and the rest of “The Six” was due to the removal of tariff barriers to trade among themselves in 1960.

Although, the did British believed that they could stay economically afloat by maintaining its ongoing relationships with the United States and trade with the Common Wealth. This was not going to happen though, trade with the Common wealth was actually in decline. Also the EFTA, the European Fair Trade Association which Britain had set up with other countries such as Denmark and Norway, as a defence to the Six’s economic bloc, was of little help. As it didn’t promote British Trade, as Britain was the largest market among the EFTA.

Increasing economic pressures, and now the added pressure from business in Britain who were now in favour of the EEC, as it would encourage competition and investment. Made Britain, who was now

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