Rhiannon Vickers
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The Attlee governments

This chapter examines the foreign policy of the Labour Party during the term of Prime Minster Clement Richard Attlee. It explains that when the party turned to the U.S. to address its financial problems after gaining power in 1945, the Labour government decided to link Britain's national interest to that of the U.S. instead of subordinating national sovereignty to international institutions in any substantial way. This chapter suggests that the Labour government's foreign policy of 1945–51 was Ernest Bevin's foreign policy because Attlee allowed him a remarkable degree of freedom. It also discusses how the division between left and right in the party on foreign policy solidified into a division between Atlanticists and those suspicious of the USA, which continues to this day.

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The Labour Party and the world, volume 1

The evolution of Labour’s foreign policy, 1900–51


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