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Salisbury Diplomatic Society

Salisbury Diplomatic Society:
The Provost on ‘Britain and
The Fall of the Berlin Wall’

The Salisbury Diplomatic Society was rescued at the last minute by none other than the Provost, Lord Waldegrave, who stood in for a speaker who was unable to attend due to ill health. Lord Waldegrave spoke on ‘The fall of the Berlin Wall: A failure of British Diplomacy’. He first gave a brief overview of Berlin’s history ‘behind enemy lines’, explaining the settlement between the Allies in 1945, the Berlin Airlift, the building of the Berlin Wall and finally the rise of Gorbachev and the cataclysmic events of 1989. With this firm basis which established Berlin as the ‘tripwire’ of the Iron Curtain, Lord Waldegrave explained Britain’s role in 1989, and in particular Margaret Thatcher’s actions. Moving from well-known textbook history, he was now talking about events which he personally had been involved in behind the scenes as a new Minister of State for the Foreign Office. So he was well placed to explain how Mrs Thatcher, seemingly irrationally driven to protect what she perceived to be Britain’s interests, fought to stop the reunification of the two halves of Germany and managed to alienate America, Germany and her own subordinates. Lord Waldegrave is to be thanked for his clear explanation of an aspect of British foreign policy that is often overlooked.
Ollie Randall (RJM)
DATE POSTED: 09 March 2010

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