Britain, Detente and Changing East-West Relations by Brian White

By Brian White

There is little systematic research to be had of Britain's contribution to East-West family members for the reason that 1945, and particularly of Britain's contribution to East-West detente. quite often, British makes an attempt to behave as mediator among East and West were considered as ineffectual, and a slightly determined try and end up that Britain may possibly nonetheless wield impression at the global stage.

In this new contribution to the learn of the evolution of post-war diplomacy, Brian White argues that Britain's contribution to detente can't so simply be brushed aside. via narrative and research, he examines the chronic subject matter of Britain's makes an attempt to lead East-West family members in a co-operative path. In doing so, he has supplied either a huge revaluation of Britain's position within the post-war global and a useful case research in overseas coverage formation and execution.

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Extra resources for Britain, Detente and Changing East-West Relations

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As Elisabeth Barker puts it, Bevin saw the ‘alliance with the Americans not as a preparation for an inevitable war against Russia, but as an essential foundation for future efforts of détente [sic]’ (Barker, 1983, p. 185; see also Baylis, 1982). Barker documents the skilful way in which Bevin, allegedly the coldest of cold warriors, firmly resisted domestic pressures: from the Foreign Office in 1946 to mount an anticommunist crusade; from the Chiefs of Staff in 1948 to set up a political warfare machinery (the Information Research Department that was set up was not what the Chiefs had in mind); and again in 1949 from the Russia Committee of the Foreign Office for an interdepartmental committee with Ministry of Defence representation to be concerned with political warfare (Barker, 1983, pp.

Nevertheless, the problem remains that any overall agreement on meaning is limited to a simple dictionary definition, and this only serves to paper over the variety of use and connotation. The absence of an agreed meaning, however, raises the important question of whether détente can be legitimately used as an analytical term. The problem of establishing an agreed meaning of détente, as this discussion has illustrated, is exacerbated by the fact that the term has been suffused over time with ideological content.

Stanley Hoffman implicitly links détente to a notion of traditional or ‘normal’ diplomacy. Writing at the beginning of the 1970s, he looked forward to a period when: instead of relations of total enmity or total friendship, both inimical to diplomacy, there would again be those fluctuating mixes of common and divergent interests characteristic of eighteenth and nineteenth century European diplomacy. Ideology would not disappear but its external effects would be neutralised: different political systems could coexist since beliefs would be disconnected from behaviour through voluntary or necessary restraint (Hoffman, 1972, p.

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