Presentation on theme: "Issue 4 How Successful was British foreign policy in containing fascist aggression between 1935-1938?"— Presentation transcript:
1 Issue 4How Successful was British foreign policy in containing fascist aggression between ?
2 The Big PictureBritain did avoid becoming involved in a major European war at this time. On the other hand, critics of British policy have argued that all Britain did was encourage Hitler to demand more and more. Britain participated in the breaking of the Versailles Treaty and the Naval Treaty. Self-interest dominated British policy over Abyssinia and, in Spain, Britain was prepared to see a democratically elected government be overthrown by a fascist dictator. Finally, Britain did nothing to protect Austria from Nazi takeover but realists argued what could Britain have done?
3 Aims of British Policy when dealing with Fascist aggression To avoid warTo seek ways of removing grievancesTo use negotiation to reduce international tensionTo protect the EmpireTo try as far as possible to work within the League of NationsTo seek ways to promote disarmament
4 Abysinnia (K) Self Interest or Collective Security - should it stand by rules of League and protect Abyssinia or was it more important to keep Italy ‘on side’ as ally against HitlerHoare-Laval Plan- intention was to ‘buy off’ Italy with offer of territory in northeast Africa on condition Italy stopped its war.- was Italy being rewarded for its aggression?
5 Can Britain claim any success in its handling of the crisis? (A) Put simply – No!League shown to be weakAbyssinia was not savedItaly continued its attack until Abyssinia was defeatedBritain and France shown to unreliable and deceitful when the Hoare-Laval plan was leakedBalance of power shifted against BritainHitler was encouragedMussolini and Hitler drifted closer together and finally Britain now had an enemy in the Mediterranean . Future dealings with Hitler would need to consider the possibility of conflict with Italy at the same time.
6 German Rearmament and the Anglo-German Naval Treaty (K) Opinion divided:- ‘Germany moving down path of war again’ v what could we do about it? Hitler made a case to justify rearmament whilst terms of Treaty seen as too harsh/open to changeThe Agreement, June 1935- ToV severely cut size of German navy. New treaty accepted Germany should have up to 1/3 size of British navy and be allowed to build submarines.
7 Could Britain claim the Naval Treaty was a success for its policy? (A) Arguably Britain encouraged further German rearmamentBelief that Germany would rebuild anyway so agreement would help improve relationsToV too harsh anyway, right time to revise some of the harsher termsThrough negotiation and revision of ToV, Britain hoped Nazi Germany would have no reason to be angered/feel corneredNew agreement allowed Britain to ‘keep an eye’ on German rearmament and could plan how best to deal with itHowever, agreement confused British public – Stresa Front had condemned German military build up 2 months priorShowed Hitler could push Britain to revise Versailles and get away with it. Open to other challenges?By summer 1935, Hitler much stronger than was at beginning of yearFrance got scared and made treaty with Russia, Britain furious. France angered by naval deal – allies within Stresa Front now divided with Italy now an enemy
8 Britain and the Rhineland Crisis (K) Broke Locarno Treaty – imp as Germany signed voluntarilyBritain did nothing- Hitler claimed he was justified- Anger over French-Russian alliance- Public opinion – Versailles too harsh- remilitarisation was not serious threatNot a problem!Eden weakened Britain’s positionBritish action would lose more than it gainedOther concerns
9 Could Britain claim the Rhineland crisis was handled successfully? (A) In the short term - Britain made the best of a difficult situationClaimed war had been avoided and a grievance from the Peace settlement had been sortedBritish government caught ‘off guard’ by much smarter Hitler – appeared as if Hitler had taken gamble and weak democracies had let him away with it!Once again Hitler had learned a lesson about political manipulation and the willingness of Britain to appease.Longer term – Rhineland crisis sparked off a chain of events that linked Britain to France and Eastern Europe, and eventually the Czech crisis of 1938
10 Britain and the Spanish Civil War (K) Non-interventionAnother step in the development of appeasementNot popular with communists/socialists/members of Labour party.International brigades
11 Could Non-Intervention be called a success? (A) Success in one way – major European war not sparked off by Spanish Civil WarOn other hand, Britain faced difficulties as a result of non-interventionBritain discredited as defender of democracy: rebels being treated same as legally elected governmentBritain made sure LoN did not take steps to help the RepublicFaced very loud criticism at home from Labour Party who disagreed strongly with policyBritain & France paralysed internationally. Both appeared to lack the resolve or resources to offer support to legitimate Spanish governmentConfidence of Italy and Germany boostedUSSR felt unsupported, started to think about their own future – Mazi-Soviet Agreement, August 1939British public still felt effects of war even though had no part in itYet, selfishly, most quite happy as long as not on their doorstep
12 Britain and the Anschluss, March 1938 (K) Britain not surprised by AnschlussDid nothing despite the terms of the ToVOpinion divided- Austria not a British problem, too far away etc vs Hitler was a bully who wouldn’t stop, appeasement just encouraged Hitler’s aggression
13 Was British policy over Anschluss a success? (A) In terms of resisting Fascist aggression and preparing for future, appeasement over Anschluss weakened Britain’s positionBritain had for a long time been aware of Hitler’s ambitions in Eastern Europe – LebensraumAppeasement was making it very easy for Hitler to move eastwards and seize more land in his move towards LebensraumAs a result of British inaction, no small European country had any belief that Britain or France could or would really help themAppeasement was seen as a policy to benefit Britain only and help no-one else