Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Businessweek
Politics

Brexit Britain Can’t Escape Its History and Geography

Relations with its continental neighbors are destined to shape the U.K. for many years to come.

The White Cliffs of Dover on the coast of the U.K.

The White Cliffs of Dover on the coast of the U.K.

Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

The memorial to the Gatow air disaster of 1948 is easy to overlook in a city with more than its fair share of 20th century ghosts. A simple plaque in Berlin’s Westend district commemorates the mid-air crash that claimed the lives of 15 people during the early days of the Cold War.

The stone inscription may be inconspicuous, but its location in St. George’s Anglican Church reflects a long-standing British presence in the German capital, and the events it marks are a window onto the U.K.’s pivotal role in shaping the postwar European order.