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Palgrave Macmillan

Britain, the Division of Western Europe and the Creation of EFTA, 1955–1963

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  • © 2022


  • Explores the role of the European Free Trade Association in shaping institutional architecture in post-war Europe
  • Draws on evidence from a broad range of European archives including those in Austria, Denmark and France
  • Provides key insights into negotiations and institutions at the heart of European integration

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Table of contents (9 chapters)


About this book

This book traces the emergence of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) from 1955 to 1963 amid the broader reshaping of the institutional architecture of post-war Europe. It considers the ill-fated Free Trade Area (FTA) proposal, the subsequent creation of EFTA, and the resulting division of Western Europe into two distinct trading blocs. At its core, the book provides an international history of a formative moment of post-war and European integration history, and explores the intense technical discussions among European states as they grappled with the prospect of deeper economic and political unity. It thus provides the first detailed analysis combining the FTA and EFTA negotiations, considering both state and non-state actors. Drawing on archives from Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US, as well as the records of the OEEC and EFTA, it examines the decision-making processes of those intimately involved as well as the institutional settings within which they were forced to reconcile their positions. At a key moment of contemporary European friction, the book offers a dialogue between the past and those trying to make sense of events that continue to shape Europe today.   


“A highly welcome recast of a formative and decisive period in Europe’s postwar integration history from 1955 to 1963. Based on a vast base of literature and an impressive range of archives this book offers new and comprehensive insights into how Western Europe developed into two economic blocs in a process of both conflict and cooperation.” 

Thorsten Borring Olesen, Jean Monnet Professor, Aarhus University, Denmark

Authors and Affiliations

  • Institute for History, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

    Matthew Broad

  • International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

    Richard T. Griffiths

About the authors

Matthew Broad is Lecturer in International Relations at Leiden University, the Netherlands. Prior to this, he was an EU Marie Curie Individual Fellow at the University of Turku, Finland. Matthew is the author of the book Harold Wilson, Denmark and the Making of Labour European Policy, 1958–72 (2017) and co-editor of European Integration Beyond Brussels (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). 

Richard T. Griffiths is Professor Emeritus of International Studies at Leiden University, the Netherlands. An author/editor of over ten academic books, his expertise lies in European integration, economic history, post-war international relations and, increasingly, Chinese foreign/EU policy. Between 1987–95 he was Chair of Contemporary History at the EUI, Florence. He has also held positions at the University of Manchester and the Free University Amsterdam, and visiting professorships in Belgium, Turkey, Portugal and Thailand.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Britain, the Division of Western Europe and the Creation of EFTA, 1955–1963

  • Authors: Matthew Broad, Richard T. Griffiths

  • Series Title: Security, Conflict and Cooperation in the Contemporary World

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: History, History (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-97736-8Published: 29 September 2022

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-97739-9Published: 02 October 2023

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-97737-5Published: 28 September 2022

  • Series ISSN: 2731-6807

  • Series E-ISSN: 2731-6815

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: X, 344

  • Topics: History of Modern Europe, Political History, History of Britain and Ireland, Economic History

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