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Lecture 2

388 - Week 1 – Lecture 2 - Peace Treaties and the Interwar Era .docx

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HIST 388
Peter Hoffmann

Week 1 – Lecture 2 History 388 – the Second World War 1919 Peace Treaties and the Inter-War Era Hard to define the interwar era – when was the war over?  most of the peace treaties had been signed by 1920, theArmistice was concluded on 11 November 1918 = possible to say that 1918 or 1919 was when peace came BUT it is open to definition - even more open to definition considering the intervention in Russia in 1920 (Japan was there until 1935) o when was there no war going on that we are aware of? – 1925-1931 when Japan attacked Manchuria, but on the whole it was generally the period from 1919 to 1939 BUT there are variations here and there with more precise determinations of when war was on or off - Belibius (historian) and Herodotus = wars were the order of the day: there was almost no period that could be said to have absolute peace… = condition that the world was in in the past re. wars, is similar to now even though the geographical location of the wars has changed  important to take a myopic view of Europe and one must consider the relative importance of Europe as a factor in the world when considering these regions devastated by war at any given time a major factor in addition to the European situation was Japan= population explosion in e20thC drove it to expansion - populations didn’t really want any more wars, neither did 1920s government o the League of Nations covenant banned war for purposes other than defence, as well as banning alliances that were not collective agreements of the nations  bi-lateral alliances were banned by the League of Nations statute  August 1928 – the Briand-Kellogg Pact banned war altogether French security demanded a large standing army, as did Poland (against revision – the Poles feared revision from Russia and Germany, whilst practising a bit of revision against Russia and Germany also w. Silesia) - the French government tried to safeguard itself in the absence of Russia as a potential ally – had been France’s ally from 1891-1917 ▯ in the absence of this, France concluded 1921 alliance with Poland, Czechoslovakia in 1924 in violation of the League of Nations Statute - the new Balkan states among themselves, concluded alliances = February 1933 France was able to enlarge it’s alliances in Eastern Europe with Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Romania = Pact de la Petite Entente All nations – and the Germans would have done if they could have and not been under tutelage and observation – followed the roman maxim ‘si vis pacem para bellum’– if you want peace, then prepare for war - experienced nations prepared for the period by rearming themselves for the potential for war▯ did not sit back and expect the weakened states ofAustria, Russia and Germany to force peace o knew what they had done at Versailles – expected revisionism and a rematch France sought security through superiority  followed the traditional policy of the school of Westphalia: Treaty of Westphalia said that French king had the rights to send troops into the German empire whenever he wished, which the German empire signed - a Treaty may be honoured or not honoured depending on the situation, government, interests and power relations o the right of the King of France to enter the Holy Roman empire had to be accepted because it was on paper, but it was not easily implemented - the School of Westphalia est. by French first ministers Richelieu was done by the annexation of the Rhineland, the invasion of the Ruhr region on a flimsy pretext that Germany was behind on reparation payments  lumber and telephone poles had not been delivered = pretext for occupying the German industrial heartland (shouldn’t they have looked at the Black Forest?!) = wanted the Ruhr district and the industrial areas that would benefit themselves  the German industrial heartland was extremely important for the German war effort as recognised by Stalin in 1945 the Ruhr Occupation and German response: in the course of the Occupation, 121 Germans were killed, 10 sentenced to death, 5 given life sentences for ‘non-compliance’; prison sentences of a total of 1500 years were imposed, 145,000 Germans were driven from their homes of whom 131,000 were expelled entirely from the region - France evacuated the Ruhr on the 31 July 1925 afterAmerican pressure and the Dawes Plan of 1924 = threatened and provoked Germany, boosted the fortunes of extremist political parties in Germany considering national interests also = the war had been fought on French soil in 1870-1 and 1914-8; France wanted insurance against a repetition as they insisted upon and received a promise of a British, French andAmerican Treaty of Guarantee signed on 28 June 1919 (same day as Versailles Treaty) that these 3 powers would not allow Germany to invade France again though it was not ratified by theAmerican Senate, meaning it never went into effect France also put it’s confidence in impregnable fortifications upon the initiative of Petain and War Minister Maginot (1922-4, 1929-30, 1931-2) who built eastern fortifications beginning 1927 which was the Maginot Line = very strong south of the Belgian border, but very weak along the Belgian border (why were they not as strong along the Belgian border, when this had been the point of entry for German troops in WW1) - French military leaders were hesitant about mobile tactics i.e. tanks in spite of their importance in the past war and so preferred to rely on border fortifications = they had little confidence in mobile operations against an enemy The Germans were the opposite = well-prepared for falling back against the French attack British state interests  had used the Royal Navy to try and starve Germany into submission, but by 1940 a new arm had emerged – the RAF - the German air force had bombed English Southern towns, demonstrating the potential of air warfare - British strategists feared a knockout blow against the British Isles and were convinced they needed to build air defence in the form of fighters, anti-attack artillery whilst others also pushed for a bomber fleet to attack industrial targets in other areas o Overriding attitude was one of defence, but the operational attack possibility was considered in the form of a bomber fleet with a purpose of bombing an enemy into submission  it wasn’t much of a question re. who that enemy might be The British always considered a civil population as part of an enemies war-making capacity and thus a legitimate target  both an air force and fleet was prepared against potential principle opponents of Russia and Germany - no international convention governing air war – there were conventions governing maritime and land operations, but none for aerial warfare - when Hitler became Chancellor in 1933 – British security perceptions changed/became abundantly apparent and clear = a Cabinet Sub-Committee known as the Defence Requirements Sub-Committee was a Sub-Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence and produced a report 28 February 1934 stating that Germany, ‘surrounded by armed and suspicious neighbours, is not at present a serious menace to this country but within a few years will certainly come so. We take Germany as the ultimate potential enemy against whom our long-range defence policy must be directed’ = at a time when Germany started to rearm (Hitler was cautious until the end of 1933 about rearmament) as there was talk in diplomatic corridors in Paris, London and Warsaw of a preventive war against Germany in the spring of 1933 as Poland tried to get France to join her in a preventive war against Germany - wanted to occupy East Prussia and force Hitler to make certain compromises – perhaps evacuation – and the German government was aware of this and was cautious o Defence Requirement Sub-Committee recognised this shift towards rearmament o 1931 – Japanese had begun invasion of Manchuria = clear this was not the British focus  if British security lacked control of the British Isles then imperial security was meaningless July 1934 – House of Commons debated air policy and rearmament  voices said that Britain should continue to take her position since the 1920s saying that armaments should be limited, not increased re. the Geneva Convention - others, inc. the PM Stanley Baldwin, pointed out that all the other powers were building air forces inc. Germany, Italy and France o the Times = reported in detail about these debates  re. Baldwin’s statement that ‘since the day of the air, the old frontiers are gone; when you think of the defence of England, you no longer think of the chalk cliffs of Dover, you think of the Rhine… so much is happening on all sides, that a statement which in a quieter period would overshadow all else, occupies a comparatively small place’ also said 31 July 1933 – the reasons which have moved the government to restrengthen the RAF – ‘the programme of 1923 has been postponed again and again to set an example of disarmament but the disarmament has had no effect’  almost exactly 4 years before Roosevelt said something similar to a few Senators whom had been sworn to secrecy – he also mentioned the Rhine as a frontier that America must be interested in  the whole text of the debate to the average Germany demonstrated that England regarded Germany as the potential enemy = not just a confidential cabinet sub-committee but a debate in the House of Commons that made this point  Battle of Britain in 1940 demonstrated how serious the matter was and just how well and also inadequately the British were prepared 30 June 1933 = Hitler had the leadership of the Storm-troopers executed out of hand since they were rivals to power whilst an attempt was made on theAustrian chancellor = this was the ‘so much is happening on all sides’of Baldwin 3 complex of state interests = Russia was weakened; revolution was struggling; power struggles; collectivisation was part of a continuing revolutionary activity leading to starvation (14 million dead in the Harvest of Sorrow); forced industrialisation focusing on heavy industry - 20,000 Army officers from Colonel upward were executed from 1937-8 at the same time as which Russia was building it’s armed forces and continuing its traditional policies of expansion o the trauma of WW1 and the Revolution produced a new doctrine in the Russian government  old doctrine had been drawn from the Russo-Turkish war of 1875-8 and the settlement of the Congress of Berlin that showed to Russia that no great power must be allowed to stay out of a war b
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