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Title: British perceptions of West Germany during Ostpolitik and British EC accession, 1969-1975
Author: Heinz, Alexander Richard Werner
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 0722
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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The thesis analyses perceptions of West Germany in Britain at the time of West German Ostpolitik and British EC accession, 1969-1975, by focusing on two socio-professional networks in British 'high' politics, and on British public opinion. For both countries the analysed period, ending with the British referendum on Europe in 1975, is remembered as a time of change and . uncertainty during which new dynamics in the European political system became recognisable. In a departure from previous research, the trans-disciplinary methodology utilised in this qualitative study builds on a new, partly constructivist understanding of a constant process of negotiation of perceptions and attitudes. Looking frequently beyond the political, the research is based on a wide range of sources - newly opened documents of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, personal papers, newspaper articles and caricatures, TV and radio programmes, opinion polls and interviews. A detailed introductory chapter on perceptual and political developments in the binational relations and a methodological foundation is followed by chapters two and three which dissect perceptions in 'high' politics, amongst diplomats and politicians. The fourth chapter attempts to reconstruct perceptions in the 'publics'. The thesis asks to what extent different spheres of perceiving people developed different perceptions and criticises hypotheses about the content, uniformity and creation of post-war perceptions. It challenges the idea of public and elite perceptions being generically apart and questions a periodisation into streamlined perceptual periods. The findings acknowledge the central importance of 'the war' but re-assess its complex contents. The thesis also unearths other important elements of perception, being impacted upon by gender, regional origin, and, crucially, the economy. Moreover, perceptions of Germany were closely linked to perceptions of Frenchness. Thus, the thesis makes an innovative contribution to a more complex understanding of how different Britons oriented themselves in the post-war relationship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available