UK-EU NARRATIVE: The Role of the Late Accession of the United Kingdom into the European Communities and the Challenges of the 1975 Referendum
Kuile, A.O.P. ter
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This thesis reviews the late accession of the United Kingdom into the European Communities and the subsequent role it played in the 1975 referendum on continued British membership of the European Communities. Since the end of the Second World War, Europe has played a significant role in reshaping the global political position of the United Kingdom amidst a period of decolonisation, economic decline and waning political power. The thesis starts with an overview of the 1945 situation, describing the British position in Europe. Followed by an explanation of why the United Kingdom acceded so late into the EC that highlights the troubled relationship between the parties. Chronologically, this is then followed by the period between accession and referendum. Drawing back to both short and long term explanations for the referendum an argument will be formed to support the hypothesis. The thesis tries to establish that the reasons for the referendum and the short time period between accession and referendum can be found in the period up to 1973. This much needed new analysis of the troubled relationship between the UK and the EU can shed new light on the current political situation of Brexit by placing it into historical context. A collection of relevant contemporary sources complemented with secondary literature forms the core of the sources used for this thesis.