Journal Article

Harold Macmillan and the Deadline Crisis Over Berlin 1958–9

VICTOR MAUER

in Twentieth Century British History

Volume 9, issue 1, pages 54-85
Published in print January 1998 | ISSN: 0955-2359
Published online January 1998 | e-ISSN: 1477-4674 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/tcbh/9.1.54
Harold Macmillan and the Deadline Crisis Over Berlin 1958–9

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This article examines postwar British foreign policy by analysing the decision-making process in Whitehall during the ‘deadline crisis’, the months between Khrushchev's ultimatum in November 1958 and Macmillan's famous voyage of discovery in February 1959. The role played by the then British government during this critical period of the Cold War was widely ignored until the opening of the British archives for the late 1950s and early 1960s, under the thirty-year rule. Since then, scholars have paid more attention to it. Diplomatic history is affected greatly by lack of access to public records; by utilizing previously withheld government documents, this paper results in a considerable reassessment of Britain's policy during the early cirisis months. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it argues that Macmillan's continuous attempts to shape alliance policy from behind the curtain put alliance consensus at risk, provoked a deep breach of confidence and so diminshed his scope for effective action severely. His visit to Moscow did, in fact, achieve very little, if anything at all.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Contemporary History (Post 1945) ; British History

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