In took until MacMillan before disconsolation sped up, this meant a period of far too long when Britain attempted to cling on to the Empire, a very costly mistake. Britain's global status was further diminished when Churchill key foreign policy of a '3-power Summit' was dashed, again this highlighted that Britain was no longer a world-power but was yet realize the fact. As Dean Achaeans - a US diplomat - said, "Britain has lost an Empire and has not yet found a role," sentiment applicable no more so than to Winston Churchill.
In 1 956, Britain's illusions were shattered. The attempt to hang on to the role of a superpower finally came to a crashing halt as the Suez Crisis provided a brutal revelation of Britain's financial and political weaknesses. The conspiracy between France, Israel and Britain was so dangerous it was almost lunatic. Britain's first blunder in his crisis was initially failing to properly consult the Americans, Eden blindly assumed that the Americans would back an attempt to free the Suez Canal, however the truth was an entirely different Tory.
The American's reaction was instead one of disbelief followed by anger, Eisenhower rang up Eden on the telephone hotlist swearing expletives and publicly they didn't hold back either. Britain initially stood firm, debuting their veto power in the I-JNI Security Council against a call for an immediate ceasefire, however the subsequent backlash was catastrophic. Eventually Britain gave up the ghost and withdrew. The consequences of the Crisis for Britain were severe, it was politically disastrous, the press were damning over
Suez and eventually it cost Eden his job, Britain's prestige had suffered and her world role was called into question. The withdrawal, whilst a failure not of military resolve, but rather political will, was an admission that a post-war Britain could not act alone. In fact argued that Suez began the end Of the Empire, however it also lead to a foreign policy change into more realistic territory. The Suez Crisis proved to be a turning point in Britain's military policy. It was the last time that Britain would attempt independent action abroad of this type.
Britain made the mistake of over-stretching themselves in their aims abroad, they wanted it all. In 1951 , Britain committed to a British nuclear deterrent, the Korean War and later they repressed uprisings in the Empire. It couldn't last and Britain saw the repercussions, from 1957 the standing army fell from around 700,000 to 375,000 and in 1 960 Britain's Blue Streak missile programmer failed so once again we relied on America this time for nuclear technology in the form of Polaris their submarine missile technology.
That Britain, in the words of Andrew Marry, Were ordered home room Suez at a snap of American fingers' highlighted how in this new global order, Britain needed allies. Belief in British Imperialism had been shattered by the Suez Crisis and disconsolation. This led to a policy change and Britain were keen to foster European alliances. Since the inception of the SEC, Britain had been offered an 'open door' to a key position in the organization, however, Britain chose to ignore this.
They made the error of being myopic towards Europe and believed the future was in the Commonwealth, this cost them dear and by 1 958, and Britain had 'missed the bus' on Europe. However, the failure to join the SEC in this period can't all be blamed on foreign policy mistakes. In fact Britain's 1 961 application to join Europe was running fairly smoothly, indeed under Edward Heath the negotiations seemed to have been eventually successful by 1 963 and as Britain prepared to add a success to her foreign policy record, things were scupper, not by British foolishness, but by French intervention.
There are many theories as to why De Gaulle vetoed Britain's application, political power-playing or worries over British ointment among them, however it can be argued that this was not a British failure. Overall at least MacMillan recognized the importance in joining Europe and made the first steps towards membership. Britain also avoided other mistakes in foreign policy, most importantly with disconsolation. After Suez, uprisings in Kenya & other colonies and the ending of illusions of grandeur, it was becoming clear to the world the Empire was at an end, and by the time of MacMillan, Britain too was realizing this.