Britain 4/4, Foreign affairs - Coggle Diagram
Did Thatcher effectively manage Britain’s relations with Europe?
Yes-closer ties with Europe
Close relationship with some European leaders, ie. President Mitterrand of France.
Agreement to build the Channel Tunnel in 1986.
Signing of the Single European Act which set up the European single market, changed the Assembly into a European Parliament
No-tensions with Europe
Demands to get a British rebate which were met in 1984.
Thatcher’s natural suspicion of Germany and cool relationship with Chancellor Kohl of Germany.
The falklands war 1982-
Effect of the Falklands war on Thatcher-
In domestic politics, Thatcher’s previously unpopular government soared in the opinion polls - it was the spring to her 1983 election victory.
Grass root Conservative activists were galvanised.
Thatcher gained self confidence and began to dominate the party in a way she had never done before.
Rolling television coverage showed huge and enthusiastic crowds giving the fleets emotional send offs.
Patriotic national mood took most people, including the press, completely by surprise - ‘The Empire Strikes Back
The ‘special relationship’ was strengthened - Britain could fight a conflict 8000 miles away without the use of American bases. The Americans gave the green light and personal ties between Thatcher and Reagan became even stronger.
Suggested the Falklands diminished relationships with Europe.
Thatcher attracted criticism for trying to make out that the Falklands was a WWII style victory.
Critics argued that Britain would have to sign a deal with Argentina sooner or later so why fight a war now?
Objection to the gloating in the tabloids.
Special relationship with Reagan
Both disliked trade unions
Thatcher allowed the US to station Cruise missiles in the UK
Thatcher instinctively preferred to US to Europe
Both favoured taking a tougher line over the USSR
Reagan supported Thatcher over the Falklands Conflict
Thatcher allowed the US to use British air bases to bomb Libya, against British public opinion
Thatcher believed that the US had rescued Europe twice when entering WWI and WWII
Both supported supply side economics
Thatcher and the cold war
The government published ‘Protect and Survive’ booklets which told people how to survive a nuclear attack.
Popular culture reflected these fears: ‘Threads’ was a 1984 BBC documentary style account of an attack; ‘When the Wind Blows’ was a 1986 cartoon of an eldery couple preparing; pop songs/videos by Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Kate Bush.
CND marches across London eg 200,000 marched through London in 1983.
However, the USSR was not as strong as believed and its weaknesses were exposed with the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979
Emerging divisions in conservative parties
Westland affair-Defence Secretary, Michael Heseltine, who was a Europhile, wanted the British helicopter company Westland to be taken over by a European consortium. Thatcher had no preference and did not believe the government should interfere. When Heseltine believed that Thatcher was blocking cabinet discussions about the issue he resigned.
How effectively did Thatcher further Britain’s interests internationally?
Supporters argued that her action in the Falklands Conflict increased Britain’s reputation
Admired for her role in bringing Reagan and Gorbachev to the negotiating table.
Combative style made European allies wary
Her robust negotiations earned Britain a rebate from the EEC.
Critics argued that her failure to find a diplomatic solution to the Falklands Conflict led to unnecessary bloodshed.
Strengthened the ‘special relationship’ with the US.
Some, including Denis Healey and Enoch Powell, were concerned that Britain was not independent enough from the US.
Earned the reputation as the ‘Iron Lady’ for her tough stance with the USSR.