Harold Macmillan and the Berlin Wall Crisis, 1958-62: The by J. Gearson

By J. Gearson

Drawing on newly published executive papers, John Gearson assesses the improvement of Harold Macmillan's international coverage throughout the Berlin Wall main issue. Tracing the sour alliance disputes of the hindrance, Dr Gearson exhibits how Macmillan's makes an attempt to chart an self sustaining path, crucially undermined his status along with his eu companions and published his burdened method of eu safety. Berlin is put on the centre of attention of British international coverage, making this publication an enormous contribution to the historiography of the interval.

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The analysis was predicated on the assumption that Khrushchev had limited objectives, would be satisfied with bolstering the East Grerman regime and that recognising it would not reaUy be a setback for the West. The telegram was sensational and caused a major upset, suggesting that Britain intended to depart from the official aUied policy of seeking German reunification through free elections. Why was an unsigned chanceUory paper aUowed to promote such a spectacular change in Western policy? Despite British claims to the contrary, the answer is that it was much more than a mere think-piece: 'We put it in a very off-hand way...

The appeal of the EFTA to the Germans was misjudged, with London convinced that it would be picked by West Grermany in preference to the EEC. Following Khrushchev's initial threats over Berlin in November 1958, Macmillan even attempted to link EFTA and Berlin, proposing to warn Adenauer that the FRG's behaviour over EFTA had been unsatisfactory. 32 Harold Macmillan and the Berlin Wall Crisis Grerman support for the EFTA had been hesitant and Macmillan saw the problem of Sixes (the EEC) and Sevens (the EFTA countries) in Europe as the central question of the time.

37 The British drew a firm distinction between the objectives of staying in Berlin and reaching an accommodation on recognising the DDR. On civilian access rights, accommodations had already been reached where the FRG dealt with the DDR de facto - it was a small step for the alUes to begin dealing with the DDR on a practical basis and would make matters easier, London argued. R. 38 The British favoured (c), believing apparently that the Soviets would realise that the West was firm on certain questions.

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