Franco-British relations are age-old, deep and complex, with alternating closeness and distance. Attempts at rapprochement are legion and have often failed, and political cultures remain very different with London turning to Washington and Paris to Berlin. For all that, there is an urgent need to find convergences, particularly on defence matters.
From Liberation to Lancaster House: 65 Years of Flirting and Fiasco
Despite liberation and victory, Franco-British relations in 1945 were not good. Setting aside the complex memories left by the war, the two countries were violently opposed in Syria and Lebanon and the British took exception to the Franco-Soviet pact of 10 December 1944. Yet though the British had an excessive, though understandable sense of superiority, they both got on with it.
In the longer term, the war confirmed and further underlined the diverging geopolitical and even cultural orientations of the two countries: for the United Kingdom it would clearly be towards the Atlantic, independently even of the Commonwealth. For France it would be the continent or, at most, European-influenced Africa—on that, both Vichy and free France had in fact been in agreement. And yet this divergence would return again and again: its latest, and current resurgence is with Brexit.
The 1947 Treaty of Dunkirk and the 1948 Brussels Pact:
a Historical Rapprochement for the Sake of European Security
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