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Harold Wilson, Denmark and the Making of Labour European Policy, 1958-72$
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Matthew Broad

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940483

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781786940483.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Harold Wilson, Denmark and the Making of Labour European Policy, 1958-72

Matthew Broad

Liverpool University Press

This chapter argues that central to how the British Labour Party and Danish SD developed strategies towards European integration between 1958 and 1972 was a close relationship between them. To set the scene, it: recounts the historically strong economic, political and cultural ties between Britain and Denmark and the close Labour-SD links that emerged amid this environment; details the initially similar, rather sceptical Labour and SD views of the early European integration process; and explains why by 1956–58 both groups supported the FTA proposal as a favoured method of European cooperation. Methodologically, it critiques the current literature and subsequently: outlines the value of a comparative study of political parties from two countries unique in confronting the same demands of European unity in cognisance of each other; justifies a longue durée approach as revealing new aspects of the parties’ European strategies; and, crucially, rationalises why historians ought to think less in purely national or transnational terms when explaining European policy decisions and instead trace how these two levels interacted, complemented and competed with each other. Finally, it accounts for the book’s multiarchival and multinational source base before offering synopses of the chapters that follow.

Keywords:   Britain, comparison, Denmark, Free Trade Area, longue durée, transnationalism

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