During the appeasement policy, France’s concernsreached the top point. In 1935, The Anglo-German Naval Agreement was signedbetween Britain and Nazi Germany. France thought about this agreement that thisagreement ruins Anti-Hitler front for Britain and France.
It would be concludedwith terrible results. When the Hitler’s plans became clear, Britain believedthat the diplomacy could solve the disputes. Anglo- German Relations The relations with Germanytook an important part for British foreign policy. Adolf Hitler came to powerin 1933 and he rejected the Versailles Treaty in which Germany lost 13% ofpre-war territory and 10% of population and withdrew from the disarmament conferencesand left from League of Nations. In 1932, Germany had 5 millions unemployed andneed to pay 2,6 millions marks to European Reconstruction Fund. The increasingproblems impelled Hitler made to take these decisions. Britain abstained fromthe sudden movement. Hitler entered the armed race and according to Churchill(1934) ” Germany is arming fast and no one is going to stop her.
” Atthe beginning of 1930’s the German threat was increasing rapidly and forcingother states to take precautions against Germany. Theappeasement policy was used to reduce Germany threat in Europe. This policyaimed to make political or material concessions to an aggressive power in orderto avoid conflict. Britain and France coordinated their foreign policies towardthe aggressive dictatorships. End of the30’s, Hitler’s aims became very clear. He wanted to spread his territories byusing force.
Especially, the Anschluss and Sudetenland Crisis was a goodexample of Hitler’s aim. Germany invaded the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia ,Britain and France wanted to stop to use military force in the future byHitler. In 1938, Munich Agreement was signed by Britain, France, Nazi Germanyand Italy. Today, some historians agreed that the Munich Agreement was a failedact of appeasement toward Hitler’s Nazis because Hitler captured allCzechoslovakia one year after.
Britain did not prevent German’s rearmament andexpansionism. It caused the beginning ofthe Second World War. Chamberlain could not get Hitler to its control.1 Anglo- Soviet Relations Soviet relations were mostconfusing relations for Britain duringinterwar period. New system, communism, brought some new characteristicproperties for Soviet diplomacy.
However, during the interwar period, Britainleft its sympathy to communism. Especially, the public opinion against thecommunism was negative and hostile. Lenin’s peace agreement with Germans in March 1918 and Soviets’ unwillingness torepay its debts were the examples of Britain’s negative opinion towardsSoviets. Also, Britain sent troops to Archangel to secure war supplies not tofall into Bolsheviks. The left wing in Britain condemned British interventionto the area.
The left wing wanted to gain support in Britain and tried toincreased the power of leftist parties. In 1920, the British Communist Partyhad 4000 members and the comintern claimed that Britain was the leader ofcapitalist and imperialist aggression over the world. Against the internalsituations in Britain about the communism, Soviets wanted to continue normalrelations with Britain. Anglo-Soviettrade agreement would help to refrain from the propagandas about Soviets inMarch 1921.
Moreover, when the Labour Party came to power in 1924 made a dealwith Soviets to guarantee a loan of £30,000,000 in August. These conciliatorymoves helped a potential alliance between Britain and Soviets in World War II.However, the conciliatory moves did not continue for a long time. First,Baldwin did not ratify Anglo – Soviet agreement. Second, Soviets donated toMiners’ Federation during 1926 General Strike and that move angered government.In 1929, Labour government restored the diplomatic relations and signed newcommercial treaty. Britainsaw USSR more hostile and dangerous to its traditional values and interestsafter 1931.
However, The kingdom faced with growing Nazi threat in Europe andobligated to abandon hostility of Soviets and supported collective security andstability. USSR signed a defence pacts with France and Czechoslovakia against apotential attack from Nazi Germany. Chamberlain voiced in his speech theprofound distrust of Russia. He believed that the encirclement policy mightlead to rather than prevent the war. In April 1939, Chamberlain agreed tonegotiations with Russia. Beforethe Second World War, British citizens’ opinions about the Soviets and Naziswere very clear. 85% of the participants thought that the Soviets would win ina possible war against Nazis.
Also 74% of people supported communism againstfascism in that period. People’s approach was more positive towards communism.Moreover, 84% of people thought that United Kingdom, France and USSR could makea friendly and military alliance against Nazi Germany. These number proved that British citizens hadpositive attitude against Soviets before the World War II and agreements andloans proved that in politic level. Anglo- Italian Relations Italianswere disappointment to Alliances in Paris Peace Treaty and the public angertowards Orlando government increased. Failing economy and lack of jobs causedto collapse of Orlando government and Bennito Mussolini, the Fascist Party cameto power in 1921. Mussolini wanted to show to the world how powerful Italy wasunder his leadership.
He made a clear foreign policy which he told that: ” “Myobjective is simple. I want to make Italy great, respected and feared and theTwentieth Century will be a century of Italian power.” His one of the mostimportant aim was to re-establish the greatness of the Roman Empire. Accordingto Mussolini, conquered foreignterritories was the proof of a great power and nation. He defined theMediterranean See as “Mare Nostrum” which translated as “OurSea”. However, Great Britain had abig power in Mediterranean Sea. Moreover, Britain had strong naval bases inMalta, Gibraltar and Cyprus and also controlled the Suez Canal, along withFrance.
Abyssinia Crisis increased tension between the twocountries. The Fascist Party had good relations withHitler and this was a threat for Britain. Mussolini saw Hitler as a juniorpartner in the relationship between the two countries. He also saw Hitler as apotential rival because Hitler wanted a union with Austria and Italy had acommon border with Austria. This move have alarmed Mussolini. Unlike, the firstyears of Mussolini, he tried to keep good relations with France and Britainafter Hitler came to power.
He invited four big powers’ representatives to ameeting in Rome. They signed the Four power Pact. According to Mussolini, thesecountries came to Rome and Italians did not have to go outside, so he claimedthat Italy proved its leadership in Europe. This agreement was also a goodagreement for Britain to reduce tension in Europe.
Conclusion During interwar period,British foreign policy faced various problems. The government in late of 1930’swere demanding to play world policeman role with USA. Also, Britain struggledeconomic and politic issues like lack of jobs, Great Depression, rising communismmovements and the Communist Party.
Focusing on its own problems, Britain hadattempted to stay relatively removed from European power politics during theinterwar years. According to me, some political failures happened in thatperiod such as Chamberlain overestimatethe Britain’s power against Nazis. Theappeasement policy was effective in short period but in the long period, thispolicy did not prevent the war. Moreover, some movements have caused Germany to gain strength like Munich Pact in1938, granting Hitler the Sudetenland. This shows British foreign policy’sweaknesses.
On the other hand, British foreign policy tried to keep stabilityin Europe. As a policeman, Britain wanted to keep balance of power in Europeagainst the dictators in Germany and Italy. European countries faced with serialproblems after the First World War because of the economic depression, lack ofthe jobs and high unemployment. However, Britain was not more powerful neithereconomically nor politically than beforethe World War II and understood that made alliances to provide permanent peaceand balance of power in Europe. Actually, Britain had not much options to keep stability and peacebecause of the economic and politic situations. Nevertheless, Britain may haddone its best and this shows the strength of British foreign policy duringinterwar period.
1 World War One Germany had to face serious problems.. (2003, August26). In WriteWork.com. Retrieved 09:39, January 14, 2018, fromhttp://www.writework.com/essay/world-war-one-germany-had-face-serious-problems