First modern account of Britain's most awkward alliance Anglo-German relationship touches a nerve that other relationships don't reach Roy Denman's last book The Mandarin's Tale acclaimed for its wit and sardonic humour Widespread media interest guaranteed From the horrors of the Somme through 30 July 1966 to 'For you, Fritz, the World Cup is over' in 1990, the relationship between Britain and Germany has long been hostile. Yet with Germany one of the joint leaders of Europe, harmony with the Germans, despite differences over Iraq, is now more in Britain's interest than ever before. Roy Denman, a pro-European former Whitehall mandarin with extensive knowledge of Germany from his years working in the British embassy in Bonn, is ideally placed to chronicle the most difficult relationship in modern British history. He writes: 'Germany for the British seems a strange and suspicious country, full of heel-clicking, barbarous Huns, yearning to stretch out their arms in Nazi salutes and embark on another war. Yet the story of Britain and Germany over the last 130 years is a strange and romantic one.
Both sides made some terrible mistakes and as a consequence more than ten million Germans and British died. The nearer both parties come to a united Europe the more important it seems that the illusions of the past are dissected and destroyed.'
Sir Roy Denman, now retired after a distinguished career as a senior civil servant in Whitehall, Bonn and Washington, is the author of Missed Chances: Britain and Europe in the twentieth century and The Mandarin's Tale (Politico's, 2002).