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Part 2 - Anglo-American Relations and the Diplomacy of German Unification (1989–1990)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 February 2018

Luca Ratti
Affiliation:
Roma Tre University and the University of Rome
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Summary

The second part of this book debates how the US and West Germany managed to build on the events of 1989 to harness the momentum of the East European revolutions, overcome widespread resistance to unification and enforce a major transformation in Europe and NATO. Nonetheless, as this process unfolded, division in the Anglo-American camp deepened and the special relationship was superseded by a growing convergence of US and West German strategies. As a result of diverging Anglo-American priorities, Britain's role became secondary, if not marginal, in hammering out the details of unification. London continued to affirm in public that stability in Europe would be difficult to achieve as long as Germany remained divided. However, Britain's prime minister maintained an openly critical attitude towards Bonn. Thatcher's difficult relationship with Kohl further augmented her determination to block or at least to slow down unification. At the beginning of 1990 Whitehall even contemplated the prospect of a continental bloc against German unity. Nonetheless, the British were unable to rally enough support from other European nations. London was also unwilling to support French efforts to deepen European integration. Ultimately, Thatcher attempted to work out a compromise with the Kremlin, supporting the preservation of a Russian presence in East Germany and backing Gorbachev's preferences for an expanded CSCE structure. Only when faced by US firmness and having failed to convince the French and the Russians to block unification did London reluctantly align with Washington, endorsing German unity within NATO and US plans for the alliance's reform.

Type
Chapter
Information
A Not-So-Special Relationship
The US, The UK and German Unification, 1945-1990
, pp. 255 - 256
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2017

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