British Policy Overseas: The ‘Third Force’ and the Origins of NATO — in Search of a New Perspective

  • John Kent
  • John W. Young
Part of the St Antony’s/Macmillan Series book series

Abstract

Like a Shakespearean phantom the idea of the Third Force has haunted the historiography of British foreign policy-making and the origins of NATO in the post-war years. Clearly regarded as a significant symbol, its exact nature and form have remained somewhat obscure, while its importance for the key British performers on the Cold War stage has increasingly been disputed by historians. Some have denied that the Third Force idea ever influenced the thinking of Labour leaders like the Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin.1 Others have declined to mention it by name referring merely to one of the many statements made by Bevin in which he talked of developing Britain’s power and influence to equal that of the United States and the Soviet Union.2 The aims here are to examine the different approaches to the ‘Third Force’, to assess what key policy-makers understood by it and to relate these issues to the overriding aims of British policy and the creation of the Atlantic Alliance.

Keywords

Europe Defend Stake Alan 

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Notes

  1. 1.
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    Documents on this can now be found in A.N. Porter and A.J. Stockwell, British Imperial Policy and Decolonisation Vol. I, 1938–1951, London, Macmillan, 1987.Google Scholar
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    Further attention will be given to these issues in John Kent, British Imperial Strategy and the Origins of the Cold War, London, Frances Pinter, 1992.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Academic and Professional Ltd 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Kent
  • John W. Young

There are no affiliations available

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