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Title: Containing the German threat : the British debate over West German rearmament 1949-1955
Author: Mawby, Spencer William
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 1997
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The thesis provides a new interpretation of Britain's policy towards German rearmament through an analysis of the views of government ministers, Foreign Office officials and military planners. It analyses the role of five key influences. British antipathy to the Germans was of seminal importance. Suspicion of the Germans among Labour ministers produced a backlash against a policy of German rearmament from September 1950. The Foreign Office feared a new German-Soviet, Rapallo-style pact and sought to prevent this by integrating the Federal Republic into the West. Once political and military integration were conjoined in the EDC-contract negotiations they became supportive of the EDC as a means of containing the German threat. The American role was crucial in persuading the British to accept German rearmament within the EDC. However, Washington consistently came into conflict with London over Germany's financial contribution to defence, the extent of German rearmament and British attempts to moderate German policy in order to conciliate the Soviets. The Anglo-Soviet relationship constitutes a third crucial factor. Initially, fear of Soviet reactions inhibited the British from supporting extensive German rearmament. The apparently less provocative nature of EDC was one reason for British acceptance of it. In 1951, 1953 and 1955 elements within the British government sought to promote detente through concessions to the Soviets on German rearmament. Though the British military put the German rearmament issue on to the government's agenda in spring 1950, subsequently the strategic rationale became less important than the diplomatic. From 1952 a German defence contribution was seen as a means of compensating for NATO deficiencies rather than as part of a wider force expansion. German rearmament involved substantial financial costs for Britain but a series of favourable financial agreements with the Federal Republic enabled policy-makers to discount this factor.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available