Over the last two hundred years British relations with continental Europe have see-sawed wildly.
Shortly after Waterloo we withdrew from European involvement to concentrate on the growing Empire. In the mid 19th century we fought our only major European war of the century, in The Crimea. We then entered a short period of panic, concerned with a potential threat from France, our erstwhile ally in The Crimea.
The end of the century saw us adopt a policy of ‘splendid isolation’. Shocked out of this by two world wars, and in economic decline post 1945, we finally joined The Common Market in the ‘70s, where we remained a truculent member until the referendum of 2016. Now 106 years on from Waterloo we are setting out on a new journey – destination unknown.
William Tyler MBE is freelance educator, lecturing, public speaking, writing and consultancy with a main focus on History. He was the Principal of The City Lit, Britain’s largest college of adult education. He was his awarded his MBE for services to education.
14th Jan: Week 1: An Island Mentality
21st Jan: Week 2: A recalibration of our relationship after Waterloo
28th Jan: Week 3: The continent open to British tourists once again
4th Feb: Week 4: France: A new ally, an old enemy
11th Feb: Week 5: Italy: A love-in with Garibaldi
18th Feb: half term. No classes
25th Feb: Week 6: Germany: An old friend, a new enemy
4th March: Week 7: Mass Tourism and its effects
11th March: Week 8: Re-engaging with Europe in 1973
18th March: Week 9: Where will our new semi-detached status take us?