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Title: British foreign policy towards the Soviet Union over Germany in the immediate post-World War Two period : a causal analysis
Author: Elsby, Andrew William.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3446 9083
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis adds to an existing historiography on the effect of British foreign policy on the emerging Cold War by focusing on the causal influences on British policy towards the Soviets over Germany between February and July 1946. It is based on Cabinet and FO papers, memoir and diary evidence of individual influences and the decision-making process, and a foreign policy literature which points to possibilities of influence in formal powers and informal processes. I conclude that the locus of foreign policy decision-making power was with Bevin, the FO and the CoS rather than Attlee as PM and the Cabinet. This resulted from Attlee's role conceptualisation, Bevin's personality, their relationship and a broad commonality of view between them. FO influence derived from its interpreting incoming information and Bevin's regard for its expertise. CoS influence reflected Bevin's concern regarding their security and strategic assessments. And Bevin's influence came from his role, formidable personality, stature in Cabinet and country, working relationships, creativity and understanding of foreign policy linkages. A common attitudinal orientation and a relationship of mutual trust and regard informed a decision-making process in which influence was reciprocal between Bevin, the FO and the CoS. Benin's trades union experience, and the FO's and CoS's class background and experience, influenced policy in being sources of their shared anti-communism and realpolitik orientations to foreign policy - they also shared an attitudinal ethos that insisted on defending Britain's pre-war imperial and European interests (despite post-war economic and military weakness). This attitudinal orientation translated into a British policy towards the Soviets over Germany aimed at keeping the Soviets as far east as possible. Adverse experience of an expansionist and opportunist post-war Soviet diplomacy in conflict with British imperial interests continued with conflict over German reparations and economic unity in the first half of 1946, and confirmed such attitudes and perceptions. British dependence on US economic and military assistance to defend British interests against the Soviets meant that US policy could have been a decisive influence, but US influence was minimal because British and US policymakers agreed by February 1946 that Soviet expansionism had to be resisted. This thesis takes a decision-making theory approach to foreign policy causation. In this approach the individual incumbents of vital positions for foreign policy formulation, their personalities, role conceptualisations and relationships, and their common attitudes, are central. For such individuals' attitudes set British foreign policy objectives, influenced perceptions of Soviet intentions and provided the context for (limited) differences of view over policy options in Germany
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available