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1945 - Foreign Policy of Clement Attlee

British socialism represented a movement that was fundamentally different from both capitalism and communism. But its sharpest clash was with communism. Unlike communism, it sought to achieve a wider distribution of the world's material goods and privileges by peaceful, democratic processes while preserving and extending the civil rights and liberties of the individual.

There seemed nothing that the Communist leaders hated and feared as much as socialism. Apparently they feared that moderate socialism of the British type may be the one thing that may save capitalism from complete collapse and violent overthrow, which was the consummation for which the Communists had always worked and waited. As Prime Minister, Bevin from the first got along with Stalin even more poorly than had Churchill before him. Shortly after the Labor government came to power, the Soviet Union increased its pressure on , British-dominated Greece, Turkey, and Iran, with the result that relations between the two former allies became increasingly strained. In postwar Germany, the policies of Socialist Britain and Communist Russia clashed from the beginning.

On the other hand, Socialist Britain appeared reluctant to be drawn entirely into the camp of the United States, as the tempo of the Cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union increased.

Some of the Labor government leaders believe that Britain's greatest contribution to world peace would be to assume the leadership in building up a third force to serve as a moderating influence and a buffer between the United States and the Soviet Union. Such a British-led third force would be made up of the British Commonwealth, the democracies of Western Europe, and possibly others. One of the chief stumbling blocks in the way of the formation of such a combination was the difficulty of co-ordinating the socialist economy of Great Britain with the American-financed capitalistic economies of such countries as France, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

The building of such a third force, of course, was stoutly opposed by the United States, was used her own vast economic and military power to draw the British Commonwealth and all of Western Europe into an Atlantic Union which would be centered around and led by herself. An Atlantic Union dominated by American capital would undoubtedly weaken the influence of British socialism both at home and abroad.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 03:08:04 ZULU