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Helmut Schmidt and British-German Relations
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Book description

The former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt grew up as a devout Anglophile, yet he clashed heavily and repeatedly with his British counterparts Wilson, Callaghan, and Thatcher during his time in office. Helmut Schmidt and British-German Relations looks at Schmidt's personal experience to explore how and why Britain and Germany rarely saw eye to eye over European integration, uncovering the two countries' deeply competing visions and incompatible strategies for post-war Europe. But it also zooms out to reveal the remarkable extent of simultaneous British-German cooperation in fostering joint European interests on the wider international stage, not least within the transatlantic alliance against the background of a worsening superpower relationship. By connecting these two key areas of bilateral cooperation, Mathias Haeussler offers a major reinterpretation of the bilateral relationship under Schmidt, relevant to anybody interested in British-German relations, European integration, and the Cold War.


'In a lucid analytical feat, Haeussler uses a close focus on Helmut Schmidt to explore two competing worldviews and divergent national strategies, which in turn illuminate two very different approaches to European integration. A most insightful re-examination of Britain’s and Germany’s roles in a defining moment of European politics.'

Federico Romero - European University Institute, Florence

'With great empathy not only with Helmut Schmidt, but also with Harold Wilson, James Callaghan, and Margaret Thatcher, Mathias Haeussler highlights the high degree of British-German cooperation behind the notorious quarrels on EC matters. A major contribution to understand European politics in the 1970s.'

Wilfried Loth - Universität Duisburg–Essen

'A powerful analysis of Anglo-German relations. A challenging, yet fascinating book that tells us much about Anglo-German relations over 50 years. It explains the personalities involved and the deep impact of different national histories upon the relationship today. Essential reading for our troubled times.'

Anne Deighton - Emerit Professor of European International Politics, University of Oxford

‘This book qualifies the standard notion of the UK as an awkward partner in European politics during the 1970s and early 1980s (by broadening the scope beyond EC matters to security and defense). An important read for anyone interested in the history of British-German relations and European cooperation during the last two decades of the Cold War.’

Kiran Klaus Patel - Universiteit Maastricht, Netherlands

’This is a very well-researched and thoughtful study of a crucial bilateral relationship, which highlights how much Britain and the Federal Republic have had in common, before explaining why they have nevertheless managed to misunderstand each other much more frequently than they ought to have done’.

Piers Ludlow - London School of Economics and Political Science

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