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Human Rights and the End of EmpireBritain and the Genesis of the European Convention$
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A. W Brian Simpson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199267897

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267897.001.0001

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Britain and the Western Option

Britain and the Western Option

(p.543) 11 Britain and the Western Option
Human Rights and the End of Empire


Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses British post 1945 foreign policy, as adopted by Foreign Secretary Bevin, and of the origin of the idea of forming a Western European bloc, which Bevin was unwilling to pursue until relations with the Soviet Union had become impossible. It provides a history of the European federalist movement, and of the British government's skeptical attitude to it, and explains the change of policy in favour of forming a Western Union, announced by Bevin in early 1948 as a spiritual union. It gives an account of the Brussels Treaty of 1948, which embodied in its text the notion that the protection and furtherance of human rights should be central to the ideology of the western European democratic states, offering an alternative to Soviet communism.

Keywords:   Bevin, European Bloc, federalist movement, spiritual union, Brussels Treaty, ideology

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