Harold Macmillan (1894-1986) repaired the rift between the USA and Britain created by the Suez Crisis and secured international co-operation on issues of nuclear defence. Paradoxically, it was this success with the USA which led de Gaulle to veto Britain’s attempt to join the European Economic Community in 1963. After early success at home as well as abroad – for which he acquired the nickname ‘Supermac’ – Macmillan saw his party returned to government with an increased majority in 1959. The later years of his administration were clouded by economic troubles, the European Community veto and the Profumo scandal. He resigned in 1963 for reasons of ill health.
FRANCIS BECKETT is a freelance writer and journalist. His seven books include biographies of Clement Attlee, Aneurin Bevan, Laurence Olivier, and his own father, the Labour MP turned fascist leader, John Beckett.