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Title: Attlee, Bevin and the role of the United Nations 1945-1949
Author: Rahman, Zulkanian Abdul.
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2006
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This study examines the dilemma of the 1945-1951 Labour Government in placing the United Nations within British foreign policy, and the United Nations' role in international politics at the onset of the Cold War. In particular, it explores the contrasting views over the issues raised by the creation of the United Nations from 1945 to 1949 of Labour's two most prominent political figures - Attlee and Bevin. These issues include the international trusteeship scheme, the international control of atomic energy, and the idea of a United Nations international force. Attlee's foremost consideration in advocating internationalist ideas in the first two years in office were Britain's economic constraints resulting from the Second World War, and the new advancement in technological warfare, such as the invention of atomic bomb and bomber aircraft. Attlee foresaw the presence of the United Nations as the best way to manage the new world order, and eventuany, to end the balance of power politics in the post-war world. Bevin's traditionalist and imperialist political outlook was the antithesis to Attlee's desire for internationalism. He was in favour of balance of power politics with the United Nations second only to the British Empire in international politics. His ultimate aim from the very beginning of his career as Britain's first post-war Foreign Secretary was to re-establish Britain's power and prestige in international politics. Bevin had no intention that Britain, as one of the world powers in the post-war world, should subordinate itself, nor surrender its sovereignty to the United Nations. In fact, the fate of the United Nations was in the hands of the United Kingdom, rather than the reverse. To Bevin, Britain despite its financial difficulties, needed to reassert its power and prestige if it was to playa significant role in world politics and ensure the survival ofthe British Empire in the coming years. Internationalist ideas, such as those that Attlee strongly advocated, were not practical politically. The United Nations suffered from the unwillingness and hesitation of the world powers to make it the centre of world affairs. Instead, the world powers, committed to balance of power politics, were the key actors in international politics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available