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Britain and Europe Since 1945

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  1. Staying out
  2. Joining
  3. Summary

Winston Churchill, the great British leader who had seen Britain through the war, had an incredible charisma. At the end of the Second World War in 1946, he came up with a brilliant idea. He opined that in the European continent, the only way to go forward for the war-torn Europe lay in some sort of union. He explained this in a speech delivered in the Union of Zurich in September 1946. The epitome of this new Union could not have been other than Switzerland. He addressed this particular issue and said that "we must build a kind of United-states of Europe." This never meant that Britain was going to be part of the new Europe. As the British conservatives clarified, "in this urgent work, France and Germany -who had been at each other's throat since World war one, must take the lead together. Great Britain, the British Commonwealth of nations, mighty America and Soviet Russia must be the friends and sponsors of the new Europe. Therefore I say to you let Europe arise." A few years before, he was adamant that Britain and all the British Commonwealth should not become an integral part of European federation. The role of Britain was to be nothing more than some sort of paternalistic sponsorship.

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