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Cold War Britain, 1945-1964: New Perspectives
Michael F. Hopkins, Michael D. Kandiah & Gillian Staerck, eds.
Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave, 2002/2003.
£47.50/$72.00, ix-244 pages, ISBN 1-4039-0121-X (hardback).

Antoine Capet
Université de Rouen

This new book on Britain and the Cold War comes as a very useful addition to the recent literature (1) in that it provides a series of spotlights on specific aspects of the subject, in many cases ‘aspects that have hitherto been little examined’ as the Editors put it in their Introduction. Collective works derived from a Conference, as is the case here, can be a disaster when the unifying theme is not self-evident, but a quick glance at the table of contents immediately shows that this book obviously does not suffer from this weakness:

1. ‘Britain and the Origins of the Cold War 1917-1925’; Erik Goldstein.
2. ‘Herbert Morrison, the Cold War and Anglo-American Relations 1945-51’; Michael F. Hopkins.
3. ‘The Conservative Party and the Early Cold War’: The Construction of “New” Conservatism’; Michael D. Kandiah.
4. ‘Waging the Economic Cold War: Britain and COCOM, 1948-54’; Ian R.W. Jackson.
5. ‘Fight Against Peace? Britain and the Partisans of Peace, 1948-51; John Jenks.
6. ‘ “Our Staunchest Friends and Allies in Europe”: Britain’s Special Relationship with Scandinavia, 1945-1953; Juhana Aunesluoma.
7. ‘Revisiting Rapallo: Britain, Germany and the Cold War, 1945-1955; Spencer Mawby.
8. ‘Defence or Deterrence: The Royal Navy and the Cold War, 1945-1955’; Ian Speller.
9. ‘From “Hot War” to “Cold War”: Western Europe in British Grand Strategy, 1945-48; Martin A.L. Longden.
10. ‘Whatever Happened to the Fourth British Empire? The Cold War, Empire Defence and the USA, 1943-1957; Wayne M. Reynolds.
11. ‘Coal and the Origins of the Cold War: the British Dilemma over Coal Supplies from the Ruhr, 1946’; Sean Greenwood.
12. ‘The Algerian War, de Gaulle and Anglo-American Relations, 1958; Gillian Staerck.
13. ‘A Transfer of Power? Britain, the Anglo-American Relationship and the Cold War in the Middle East, 1957-1962; Stephen J. Blackwell.
14. ‘The Origins of Konfrontasi: Britain and the Creation of Malaysia, 1960-1963; Peter Busch.

Even though it is ‘easy’ to tell precisely when the Cold War ended—the conventional date being, it seems, the Fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989—there has always been a wide measure of disagreement on its beginning. In the enormous literature on the Cold War, the usual ‘bracket’ has it begin some time between the first inter-Allied dissensions over Poland c.1942-1943 and the Americans’ final acceptance of the arguments in Churchill’s ‘Sinews of War’ speech of 5 March 1946 at Fulton, Missouri on the ‘Special Relationship’ and ‘The Iron Curtain’. Yet a minor French classic like André Fontaine’s Histoire de la guerre froide (2) starts as early as 1917.

In this particular book, Goldstein starts even earlier: speaking of a ‘Pre-1917 Proto-Cold War’, he goes as far back as the 1790s, ‘when Pitt the Younger perceived that the two growing empires (3) were heading towards possible confrontation, at this stage in the Near East’. He was right, Goldstein argues, since ‘In the 1850s this Proto-Cold War became a real war, fought in the Crimea’. Goldstein also sees ‘a distant echo of Cold War observations about the Rhine’ in Lord John Russell’s remark in 1853: ‘if we do not stop the Russians on the Danube, we shall have to stop them on the Indus’.

The puzzled layman will find an explanation to this disagreement among historians in the Introduction, where the Editors remind him that ‘Many now suggest that national interests were just as influential in shaping foreign policy as the ideological struggle against communism’. One person at least would not have found Goldstein’s reasoning far-fetched, viz. de Gaulle. Many lesser mortals have mocked him for his discourse on ‘la France éternelle’—but there always was a counterpart in a man with such a highly-developed sense of history: he held the same discourse, with the same sincere conviction, on ‘l’Angleterre éternelle’, ‘l’Allemagne éternelle’ and of course ‘la Russie éternelle’ (4).

Thus, if we accept—as all scholars in good faith should do—Goldstein’s reminder, the interpretative key to the whole collection is given in the opening paragraph of the first contribution, when he writes that except ‘during two brief periods’ in the two world wars ‘the normal condition of Anglo-Russian relations has been one of rivalry, mutual distrust and suspicion’.

Then follows a series of monographs on various aspects of the Cold War seen from a British perspective: some already well covered in the literature, like Anglo-American, Anglo-French and Anglo-German Relations, some exploring relatively or totally neglected fields. After Goldstein’s ‘Prelude’ the first article on the Cold War proper is devoted to a politician, Herbert Morrison, who is generally not associated with it, unlike his towering predecessor Ernest Bevin. Hopkins tells us that ‘Morrison has been less extensively examined (5) and has received an altogether less favourable verdict’, and a simple reminder of their periods in office readily explains this imbalance, since Bevin was Foreign Secretary from July 1945 to March 1951 and Morrison only from March to October 1951, before Labour lost the General Election.

But this purely quantitative comparison is misleading, since Morrison had an enormous role, as Leader of the House of Commons after 1945, ‘in securing the support of MPs and the Party for the Cold War policy’. And here he faced an uphill struggle—ironically largely of his own making since, as Hopkins reminds us, he had drafted the Labour Manifesto of 1945 ‘which declared that left could speak to left in the Soviet Union’. His strength was in publicity and propaganda, and it is only when he succeeded Bevin—who did not like him—that he could show his full talents. And he needed them, as the Spring and Summer of 1951 coincided with one of the worst internal crises in the Labour Party, the Bevanite Left leaving the Government (but not the Party) in protest against the budgetary priority given to rearmament rather than the National Health Service in the wake of the Korean emergency. As Foreign Secretary, Morrison had to make sure he did not lose the confidence of the United States—but at the same time, as a Labour Minister, he also had to make sure that he did not lose that of his backbenchers, tempted by the critique of the ‘Special Relationship’ and the Cold War formulated by Bevan and his friends on the Left. This was clearly a case of squaring the circle, but he seems to have been successful, as Hopkins argues in conclusion:

If Bevin played the pivotal role, on the British side, in building the foundations of the Anglo-American Cold War alliance, Morrison ensured that they were secure against the tremors of criticism from the Labour left and anti-American sentiment.

For those of us who are familiar with contemporary British history, Morrison’s invidious situation will recall the far better known one which befell Harold Wilson (ironically one of the Bevanite ‘rebels’ in 1951) over Vietnam from 1964. And if one accepts to leave history and refer to current affairs, there is an obvious echo today (March 2003) in Tony Blair’s difficulties with his backbenchers over the accusations of suivisme vis-à-vis American policy over Iraq.

Turning to the Conservative Party, Kandiah—like Goldstein—feels the need to go back to the trauma of 1917 and he explains that the Conservatives ‘became even more alarmed when, in Moscow in 1919, the Communist International, or Comintern (6), was formed’ since ‘Both the Soviet Union and the Comintern…were exponents of communism, anti-capitalism, anti-colonialism and the international class struggle—all of which was antithetical to what Conservatism stood for’. Kandiah logically, then, describes the Anglo-Soviet alliance in 1941 a ‘the unthinkable’ for the Conservatives, who ‘remained deeply suspicious of Russian (7) intentions throughout the war and even before it had ended had begun to identify the Soviet State and communism as the next major threat to British interests in the post-war period’. When they lost the General Election of 1945, they also faced a dilemma: while they did not want in any way to appear as the enemies of the small man, who believed in social protection—hence their adoption of a renovated profile, sometimes called ‘New Conservatism’, under the aegis of R.A. Butler and Lord Woolton—they equally did not want to be seen as having any truck with Communism, or—they argued—its domestic version, Socialism, i.e. the Labour policy of ‘controls’ inherited from the war. Contrary to many commentators, therefore, Kandiah believes that the influence of the Cold War was not marginal on the Conservative Party’s domestic policy development: in the bipolar world which developed after the war Conservatism, he argues, ‘began the process of clear alignment with capitalism and enterprise and with individualism, freedom and choice’. His argument will no doubt lead to further debate among the proponents and opponents of the ‘post-war consensus’ thesis, which already benefits from a substantial literature (8).

In contrast, Jackson greatly adds to our knowledge in a field which seems to have only received the attention of specialists so far: the genesis, formation and functioning of the Coordinating Committee on East-West Trade (CoCom), which held its inaugural meeting in January 1950. This American idea was extremely simple: the Soviet bloc should in no way be aided in its development by Western exports of strategic raw materials and industrial equipment. CoCom comprised the United States, Belgium, Britain, France, Italy and the Netherlands, but the two major European players soon appeared to be France, and especially Britain, which took the lead in defending European commercial interests and trading freedom against American encroachments. Here again, the contribution will probably lead to a debate, since Jackson indicates that he does not agree with the recent scholarship on the subject ‘which has concluded that the Americans “coerced” their CoCom partners into accepting a strategic embargo beyond their economic means’ and since he also contradicts those who argue that the British Government and Administration remained passive after Churchill’s return in 1951. As he argues,

Not only were British officials instrumental in the establishment of a multilateral export control system to regulate East-West trade, they were also responsible for shaping and directing international embargo policy in partnership with the Truman and Eisenhower administrations.

At any rate, this conclusion on a highly specialized aspect of Cold War history will be of considerable interest in the much wider context of the ‘Special Relationship’, since few examples can generally be adduced as evidence that this was not in fact a one-way relationship of British subservience. If Jackson is right, then we clearly have one such example here.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament of the mid-1950s is well documented, but not so the peace movement in the preceding period, and Jenks devotes his attention to the Communist-backed Peace Partisans (later renamed the World Peace Council, WPC) from 1948 to 1951. In this particular instance, the Cold War was primarily a propaganda war, which arguably began with the ‘World Congress of Intellectuals’ in Wroclaw, Poland in August 1948. Major British figures like A.J.P. Taylor (who came back from the Congress disgusted) and Kingsley Martin (editor of the New Statesman and Nation) refused to join the movement, but the Foreign Office’s Information Research Department, in charge of countering Soviet-inspired peace propaganda, did not try to recruit them. The battle for public opinion reached a crux in 1950, when the Peace Partisans decided to organize their second Congress in Sheffield. The Labour Government, though not technically banning the Congress, effectively wrecked it by refusing visas to foreign personae non gratae in the midst of a relentless anti-Communist press frenzy. Jenks is extremely successful in recreating the peculiar atmosphere of late 1940s, so well described by Orwell, when words seemed to have only become propaganda weapons—and Jenks aptly ends his discussion with a single-sentence paragraph which sums it all: ‘Peace had become a dirty word’.

Juhana Aunesluoma also enlightens us on a little-known aspect of the Cold War, the Anglo-Scandinavian ‘Special Relationship’ within (or next to) the Anglo-American ‘Special Relationship’ in the immediate post-war years. Few general historians (as opposed to historians of Scandinavia) must be aware today, as she reminds us, that ‘in the immediate pos-war period of 1945-47, the US let the British take the lead in Scandinavia’. British influence there was due to historical ties, sentimentally going back to the Vikings and reinforced notably with Norway and Denmark during the Second World War, and also to ‘a perception of a cultural, economic, social and ideological unity that existed within the Anglo-Scandinavian group of nations’. The Scandinavians, on their part, welcomed this alliance, even though of necessity founded on unequal terms. Aunesluoma’s discussion makes fascinating reading for anyone interested in the wider problems of the Anglo-American ‘Special Relationship’, as she explicitly explains the Anglo-Scandinavian ‘Special Relationship’ in terms of the asymmetry which most authors now say characterized the Anglo-American ‘Special Relationship’:

As seen from the British side, and from the Foreign Office in particular, it was as if the Atlantic ‘special relationship’ was reproduced on a smaller scale over the North Sea. Conveniently enough, the senior partner was now Britain, with the Scandinavians—in the British view—claiming a role similar to Britain’s in the Atlantic model.

In both cases, the ‘Special Relationship’ has widely been interpreted as resting on foundations provided primarily by the Cold War, namely the common threat constituted by the Soviet Union—and this is what makes Aunesluoma’s contribution particularly relevant here.

At first glance, Mawby has a much harder task in interesting the reader since his subject, Anglo-German Relations in the Cold War 1945-1955, must now fill miles of bookshelves in University libraries. But his chosen angle of attack, the gradual shift from fear of the Soviet Union to fear of a German renascence as the overriding (and unavowed) consideration of British Diplomacy, though not a totally new one, is sufficiently attractive to hold the reader’s attention from his reminder of the Rapallo trauma of 1922 to his conclusion that ‘much of the Cold War diplomacy of the early 1950s was conducted for the benefit of public opinion’. Of special interest in the Foreign Office documents cited is the lasting obsession with a ‘new Rapallo’, a recurrent idea in all the writings quoted. Thus when the head of the Western Department learnt that West Germany had agreed to establish diplomatic relations with the USSR in September 1955—disastrous news for the British and American allies—he could find solace in the thought that ‘It is worth recalling that the Rapallo Treaty of 1922 was concluded before the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Germany’.

Ian Speller re-examines the defence options taken after the war in the light of the remit given in 1947 by the Minister of Defence to the Chiefs of Staff: ‘priority should be given to forces in peace which gave the best visible show of strength and thus have the best deterrent value’. Speller insists on the fact that we should not reason in terms of the thermonuclear deterrent, to which we are now accustomed, usefully reminding us that: ‘Britain did not gain atomic weapons until 1952 and she did not receive an entirely satisfactory delivery system until Polaris became operational in the late 1960s.’ He argues that in the early post-war years, the Royal Navy could have provided an excellent power projection force, thanks to amphibious operations in conjunction with Commandos. But, when amphibious operations were discussed, Navy chiefs continued to think in terms of old-fashioned landings of vast armies, as in Italy and Normandy. When they did realise the value of raids by small, highly-trained unit, under Eden in 1955, it was much too late:

The role of readily available, mobile and flexible sea-based forces in situations short of war was not appreciated in the late 1940s and early 1950s. This was to have an unfortunate effect during the Korean War, the Abadan Crisis and later the Suez Crisis when the need for just such a force was felt.

Speller therefore logically concludes on one of the ironical side-effects of deterrence as the pivot of early Cold War policy: ‘Concentration on the possibility of war in Europe had left Britain with unbalanced armed forces ill-suited to meet the new challenges of the Cold War’.

This ‘concentration on the possibility of war in Europe’ provides the guiding thread in Longden’s chapter, who revisits Britain’s post-war assessment of the military situation in Europe, starting from the premise that ‘For the bulk of the British military establishment Western Europe was regarded, not as vital British strategic concern, but as a potential drain on already scarce resources’. During the war, Churchill had been opposed to post-war plans for a military grouping of Western European states, if only because he believed that ‘this might oblige the UK to maintain a continental-sized army, something the British Exchequer could neither afford nor Parliament accept’. French weakness after de Gaulle’s departure in January 1946 meant that even under Attlee and Bevin, more open to the idea, ‘the prospects of a Western European security group, independent of the two superpowers, were fatally injured’. The stark conclusion came in a Ministry of Defence note of May 1947:

There is now […] no combination of European powers capable of standing up to Russia on land, nor do we think that the military capabilities of an association of Western European States at present justify us in relying upon such an association for our defence. […] The United States alone, on account of her manpower, her industrial resources and her lead in the development of mass destruction can turn the balance in favour of the Democracies.

Hence the embarrassment over the Treaty of Dunkirk with France (March 1947) in case it alienated the Americans, ever suspicious of France’s unreliabily owing to the strength of its Communist Party. Once more, students of the ‘Special Relationship’ will recognise a familiar dilemma of British Foreign Policy—a dilemma always of short duration, however, since the greater prize of an American guarantee of European (and by way of consequence British) security was no match for the ‘spiritual aspects’ Churchill saw in his projects for European cooperation. At the time, of course, the Americans were as opposed as the British to the idea of stationing troops on the Continent. Longden believes that the deciding factor was the Prague Coup of February 1948. Until then, the British were caught in a ‘vicious circle’: they were extremely reluctant to take commitments in Continental Europe, but the United States asked for ‘evidence of unity’ on the part of the Europeans (including the British) before they discussed military participation. For Longden, the vicious circle was only broken by the repercussions of the Prague events across the Atlantic, which finally led to permanent American presence in Europe.

Reynolds in fact continues the story after ‘London’s attempts to engage American power in Europe after the onset of the Cold War’. On one point, however, until the Bermuda Conference of 1957, the Americans refused to pool forces: that of nuclear cooperation. Reynolds argues that the only alternative was reliance on the Empire, which had ample reserves of uranium and ideal testing grounds in its vast desertic areas, and he defends the thesis that ‘From 1943 to 1957 the Empire was to play a crucial role in British atomic strategy’ because ‘While always aware of the need to harness American support […], London moved to base Britain’s defences on a reinvigorated Empire’. The two central pillars in that policy were to be Australia and South Africa. But the demise of the plans for an ‘independent deterrent’ after the Bermuda agreements also meant the demise of Empire cooperation. Although Reynolds does not say so in so many words, the reader is led to the conclusion that reliance on the Empire always was a transitional second-best option for British decision-makers intent on recreating the wartime Anglo-American alliance in the nuclear field. Reynolds’ contribution opens interesting perspectives, since it inevitably suggests that the Imperial mystique was the indirect victim of Britain’s Cold War nuclear strategy of an Anglo-American deterrent (concretely, Polaris) rather than an ‘independent deterrent’ (in practice Anglo-Australo-South African). The ‘Winds of Change’ (which Reynolds does not fail to mention) would thus be somehow connected with the Cold War, through Britain’s geopolitical nuclear strategy.

The next two chapters deal with Anglo-French Relations in the Cold War, though Greenwood’s title does not make the fact obvious. But his opening sentence, which excellently sums up his discussion, does:

The subject of this chapter is a quite narrow one: the British predicament during 1946 over whether to allocate the significant coal resources of the Ruhr […] principally to their French allies or to use them to buttress the failing economy in the German zone over which they were now the masters.

France needed German coal for its Reconstruction—it had been the largest importer of coal in the world before the war—and did not see why Britain (which occupied the Ruhr) should give priority to German rather than French Reconstruction. The British view was simple: a despairing German population might throw in its lot with the Communists and finally the Soviets. Hence the importance of German coal as a Cold War issue. The French (like the Americans) were slower than the British to perceive the Soviet threat in Germany and always feared ‘that the British had embarked upon a policy of restoring German industry which enabled Germany to prepare for a fresh war’. Greenwood assumes that his readers are familiar with the history of the inter-war-years, and that they will understand why the French should have entertained this fear, just as he assumes knowledge of the Anglo-American aggreement over the amalgation of their Zones of Occupation into a ‘Bizone’. His conclusion on the foundation of French fears over Ruhr coal provides an excellent example of the difficulty of Anglo-French Relations, owing to the constant suspicion that the British Government was only the mouthpiece of American interests:

Yet, whilst it is possible to appreciate the coherence and reasoning behind the British stance, their failure to deal openly with the French, their reluctance to enter into frank discussion, their suspicion of any proposals for Anglo-French cooperation in the Ruhr and their open collaboration with the Americans could only heighten French apprehensions of a pro-German British policy with the United States in the driving seat.

Much the same theme of Anglo-French suspicion and misunderstanding, with this time the Americans in the foreground rather than the background, is developed by Gillian Staerck in her discussion of de Gaulle’s memorandum of 17 September 1958 on NATO, with a ‘hidden agenda’ which she perceives in it on the Algerian war. Staerck believes that de Gaulle ‘intended to seek NATO assistance’, that is Anglo-American intervention, to put a quick end to the Algerian war, ‘but first he must gain much greater influence in NATO strategy formulation through participation in Anglo-American decision-making’. The very interesting thesis which she defends in her chapter is that de Gaulle’s ultimate reason for requesting ‘a tripartite directorate’ for NATO, that is an equal voice for France, and perhaps even—according to some interpretations of the memorandum (whose crucial passage she quotes)—a veto on the use of nuclear weapons by the Western Allies, was the immediate necessity of military aid in Algeria: ‘It would seem then that de Gaulle needed a tripartite directorate to control any military assistance that might be forthcoming in Algeria’. This is because he wanted to ‘avoid being out-voted and out-manoeuvered’ in case he obtained that Anglo-American military intervention in Algeria. What makes the thesis even more interesting—and we must hope it will start a scholarly debate—is that Staerck adds that ‘There is no indication that either Britain or the US saw in the memorandum the shadow of a solution to the General’s Algerian problem’. Needless to say his claim was politely but firmly rejected by Macmillan and Eisenhower on 20 October 1958.

In her chapter, Staerck made repeated allusions to the importance of placating Arab and Middle East opinion in the context of the Cold War, and the theme is taken up and developed in the next one, this time not in connection with the Algerian war, but in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis. Conventional wisdom has it that the Anglo-American ‘Special Relationship’ was repaired at the Bermuda Conference of March 1957, but Blackwell argues that the Washington Conference in October 1957 (just after the Sputnik launch) was more important, notably because of the Declaration of Common Purpose which ‘committed both countries to jointly explore ways to counter Soviet “aggression or infiltration in the Middle East” ’. Still, Blackwell shows, these ‘ways’ led to an alliance which served ‘American national interests’ rather than British ones, since ‘The Kennedy Administration, both aware of the value of the oil reserves and anxious to avoid inflaming Arab nationalist opinion, remained ambivalent about London’s Gulf policy’. And the British had no choice, as Suez had demonstrated. This ‘created a “dependency culture” in Whitehall with officials being inclined to cling to the Anglo-American gains made after Suez’. Appearences were saved, since Britain still believed it was able to influence American policy in the region, but Blackwell sees in the period under scrutiny, i.e. 1957-1962, and also in fact until Britain’s final withdrawal from the Gulf in 1971, ‘Washington’s skilful handling of the “special relationship” ’.

The same notion that a British presence would be ‘placing the British Government in a position to influence American policy in the area’ is also discussed by Peter Busch, this time in the case of Malaysia, the federation formed in 1963 to bring together Malaya and all former British dependencies in South-East Asia except Brunei. The containment of Communism was the primary motive in a region which had seen many conflicts with Communist guerrillas. But neighbouring Indonesia, under President Sukarno, saw the creation of the new state as a form of British neo-colonialism which countered his own dreams of a Greater Indonesia, and he publicly adopted a policy of military confrontation against Malaysia which led to a war with British forces from 1963 to 1966. The Kennedy Administration backed Sukarno in an attempt to maintain some influence on Sukarno, who was courted by the Soviets. The Australians were impressed by the accusation of British neo-colonialism, and Busch agrees that ‘with regard to the British motivation of maintaining her “imperialist” base in Singapore [part of the proposed federation], Indonesia’s charge that Malaysia was “neo-colonialist” was not completely unfounded’. In the event, Britain was left alone to defend ‘the free world’ in Malaysia and American appeasement of Sukarno did not prevent him from turning to Communist China for support. It is only this final element which persuaded the United States to back its British ally against him.

Altogether, then, we have here a superb collection of debate-provoking essays—ostensibly on Cold War Britain but in reality on the ‘Special Relationship’: it is striking in retrospect, when one closes the book, how rarely the contributors mention the USSR in comparison with the United States. It is as if the central protagonist of the Cold War, from the British point of view at least, had been the United States. Stalin gets fewer entries (one line) in the Index (9) than either Truman (two lines) or Eisenhower (three lines), even though many chapters refer to the period before 1945.

The overall impression is that in the areas and in the period covered by the book Britain received little from its ‘Special Relationship’ with the United States. Gillian Staerck excellently sums up British expectations:

The Anglo-American relationship was of overriding importance and Britain’s Cold War strategy was built on recognition of American hegemony in international relations. Britain thus sought influence on the formulation of American foreign and defence policies so that, in effect, America might assist achievement of British foreign and defence policy aims.

Now, the Editors (of whom she is) conclude their Introduction by arguing that ‘the United Kingdom was the coldest—and the most international—of the Cold Warriors in Western Europe’, and few commentators would dispute that—but, some have asked, what special advantage did it derive from that zeal, in comparison with, say, France or Germany, which equally (or even better) benefited from the ‘American Umbrella’? The answers implicit in most of the contributions suggest that Britain got very little gratitude for being the United States’ most eager lieutenant in the Cold War. As these essays show, its indefectible support was always taken for granted, and this on both sides of the Atlantic—why then bother about British feelings and interests if you were an American decision-maker?

A final note of congratulations to the authors, for the clarity of their style, totally free from jargon, and to the editors, for their exemplary proof-reading: not a single misprint was detected (10).

(1). Notably Larres, Klaus. Churchill’s Cold War: The Politics of Personal Diplomacy. Yale University Press, 2002, recently reviewed in Cercles.

(2). Fontaine, André. Histoire de la guerre froide. (1) De Révolution d'octobre à la Guerre de Corée, 1917-1950. (2) De la Guerre de Corée à la crise des alliances, 1950-1963. Collection Les grandes études contemporaines. 2 vol. Paris: Fayard, 1965-67. English Translation. History of the Cold War. (1) From the October Revolution to the Korean War, 1917-1950, translated by D. D. Paige. (2) From the Korean War to the present, translated by R. Bruce. 2 vol. London: Secker & Warburg, 1968-70.

(3). That is, the British and Russian Empires.

(4). Like Churchill, of course, he only spoke of ‘the Soviet Union’ on formal occasions.

(5). A remarkable understatement in the field of Foreign Policy.

(6). He could have added that the common pre-war spelling, Komintern, looked even more sinister.

(7). It would be interesting to know whether Kandiah deliberately used Churchillian language here to describe the mixture of latter-day Communist ‘proselytism’ and age-old Russian ‘imperialist expansionism’ [cf. Goldstein’s chapter] which was seen by its critics as characterizing Soviet policy.

(8). Not least from Kandiah and his colleagues, notably Harriet Jones, at the Institute of Contemporary British History, University of London. See for instance their edited volume: Jones, Harriet & Kandiah, Michael [Editors]. The Myth of Consensus: New Views on British History, 1945-1964. London: Macmillan, 1996. The opposite view is most forcefully defended by Dennis Kavanagh in ‘The postwar consensus’. Twentieth Century British History 3-2 (1992): 175-189 and in Kavanagh, Dennis & Morris, Peter. Consensus Politics from Attlee to Thatcher. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989 (Second Edition: Consensus Politics from Attlee to Major, 1994). A good starting-point on the debate is the theme issue of Contemporary Record, 2-6 (1989).

(9). The Index could have been more extensive: for instance, the Prague coup—an important stage in the Cold War, discussed by Longden—is not included. Likewise, some useful references given in the Notes (e.g. Ball, S.J. ‘Military nuclear relations between the United States and Great Britain under the terms of the McMahon Act, 1946-1958’. Historical Journal 38-3 (1995): 439-454 [in note 63, page 217]) have not been repeated in the Select Bibliography.

(10). Though it seems that the book given in note 6, page 213 and in the Bibliography p.231 should be The Diplomacy of Pragmatism: Britain and the Formation of NATO, 1942-1949, not The Diplomacy of Pragmatism: Britain and the Foundation of NATO, 1942-1949 as indicated. A minor slip, of course.


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