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Lecture 3

388 - Week 3 – Lecture 1 - Pre-War Diplomacy.docx

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HIST 388
Peter Hoffmann

Week 3 – Lecture 1 History 388 – World War Two Pre-War Diplomacy Chiang Kai-Shek, Gerald Nye, Bennett Clark, Khalkin Gal, Stresa, Flandin, Ernest Lundeen Pre-war situation  seemed that a war was coming: in terms of timing, events beforehand did lead to WW2 but this does not mean that it was determining the coming or the outbreak of the second world war - however, Hitler was necessary to this mix – right up until war came, it seems that there was limited inevitability in the chain of events that led to conflict = there was NOT a deterministic, preordained inevitability  in January 1933 there were several moments at which parliamentary procedure could have directed the development of German politics in a different way than leading to Hitler as Chancellor - Schleicher  Hitler’s predecessor as Chancellor – could have stayed in office and succeeded with work making programmes and economic recovery programmes = just needed more time which he was not given 1931 – Japanese aggression against China 1935 – Italians begin war against Abyssinia (Ethiopia) using poison gas 1936-9 – the Spanish Civil War w. outside intervention – with retrospect, it was a trial run for the Second World War?! - Nazis intervened on the side of Franco’s Falangists whilst the International Brigades fought on the Republic side League of Nations – impotent in the face of these events Hitler became increasingly bold as the League of Nations and other nations proved weak  British practiced appeasement, justified by the hopeful prospect of a successful appeasement = enforced by a state of armament and readiness of Britain and what it was facing as the Chiefs of the Imperial Staff told the PM several times during the 1930s (1933, 1934 and 1938) that a conflict with Germany would be a long one  reasons for which why one would enter the conflict e.g. protect Czechoslovakia or confront the ‘bully’Hitler over a threat to Poland, were legitimate and good enough but the aims would not be achieved until after a long struggle - it would not be possible to immediately protect Poland, but instead rescue it at the end of a long war o demonstrates the state of British armaments  much of the world was in a similar situation following the end of WW1 and the Depression responsibility for WW2 = Japan and Germany are responsible BUT there were questionable accommodations that encouraged the two governments of these nations even when there may have been time, many governments advised their leaders to put their foot down and not make concessions to the Hitler government and instead frustrate his policies - BUT – what backed this up? What was the political foundation for such a position? o This attitude was a weakness in the front of the Western powers against Hitler  The front was there but not strong enough and it could not be deployed at will When the Japanese occupied Manchuria, theAmerican, French and British governments did not believe their trade interests to be compromised and so did not react; Stalin recognised the threat of a potential two front war in West and East against revisionist powers and so concluded a non-aggression treaty with Poland in July 1932 and non-aggression Treaty with France in November 1932 - why France? Former ally of Russia in WW1 and before, no common border and so no direct contact attempt at negotiations between China and Japan – League of Nations were declined though and accused of it as aggression meaning Japan resigned her place in the League  similar characteristics to Hitler’s ventures into foreign policy: his government was immediately recognised by other powers and no one hesitated to make agreements with him although it was seen as a dictatorship and a threat to peace  the willingness to concede a measure of rearmament for Germany was withdrawn upon Hitler’s ascendance whereupon he withdrew his delegation from the Geneva armament conference and withdrew from the League of Nations in early 1933 - early 1934 – concluded a non-aggression treaty of Poland which kind of put him on the side of Russia and removed leverage from France and France’s foreign policy o if this treaty was honoured between Poland and Germany, then France was alone against Germany and could not force them into a two front war 9 March 1935 – Luftwaffe were unveiled (in breach of the VT) th 16 March 1935 – announced the reintroduction of the universal draft in Germany - some reactions: French Prime Minister, Mussolini and MacDonald met in Stresa,April 1935, where they talked April 1935 – League of Nations condemned Germany October 1935 – Italians attacked Ethiopia  sanctions were imposed a few days later but it did little to stem Italy’s campaign March 1936- reoccupied the Rhineland by exploiting the international situation and claiming need for defence July 1936 – LoN lifted sanctions against Italy October 1936 – Germany and Italy signed protocols that aligned the two powers against Britain = quite a feat, to bring Italy into a group that was confronting Britain  the terms of the protocol suggested this, but the Italian maxim of not confronting Britain was given up - Italy could not defend herself against a naval superpower – longest coastline in Europe and no navy to match the British - But, Mussolini was hereby launched on a campaign of becoming allied with Hitler o November 1936 – declared G-I agreement was a Rome-Berlin axis - November 1936 – Anti-Comintern Pact between Germany and Japan, against Russia  Italy joined a year later = here it is possible to see the formation of a global triangle but it worked in unforeseen ways, especially for the two major powers within it because of German and Japanese secrecy e.g. 1941 July 1937 – Japan attacked China for the purpose of economic domination and resources: Japan’s New Order was to be imposed upon China  inaugurated by the Rape of Nanking when 200,000 Chinese were massacred in December 1939 – Japanese controlled 1 square million metres of territory in Asia  the Nationalists and Communists combined forces against the Japanese for the time being whilst resistance amongst the population was also growing Where was therica during this?  the trend towards more-war and in fact, general war or world war, seemed palpable in the 1930s = 5 October 1937 – FDR made a speech in Chicago known as the Quarantine Speech  addressed Japanese aggression especially saying, amongst other things, ‘without a declaration of war… civilians including vast numbers of women and children are being ruthlessly murdered’ - also remarked against German and Italian intervention in Spain - conclusion – ‘when an epidemic of physical disease starts to spread, the community approves and joins in a quarantine of the patients in order to protect the community against the spread of disease’ November 1937 = Hitler, understanding this speech, held a secret meeting with his foreign minister, war minister, CiC of the Army, Navy and Air Force and announced his plans - he knew that he did not have much time before other powers were ready to confront him ▯ at the same time, the coincidence of all these things in October and November is striking ▯sounds impressive when someone says that this was no accident! o The British Foreign Minister Halifax, afterAnthony Eden, visited Hitler at Berchtesgaden in November 1937 and told him that the British government would not block a revision of the VT concerning Danzig, Czechoslovakia, rearmament and colonies, as long as such revisions were agreed to in a friendly manner  Sets of notes of this conference  British notation  Halifax also mentions the persecution of the Jews in Germany as something that was deprecated in Britain; the German protocol does not have that reference  Disbelief that Hitler would not agree to this  ‘Hitler wants the same thing for Deutschlanders as we did for ___ in the Transvaal’ compares British colonial venture to the British one National self-determination was a strong argument although the parallel between the Transvaal and the Germans in Czechoslovakia is a little forced given the disparity of numbers Chamberlain did know who he was dealing with though – called Hitler a ‘lunatic’when speaking about the Sudeten crisis bluff - appeasement meant trying to keep the peace in Europe and enable Britain to answer the Japanese threat and answer a future Hitler threat with better armaments although in retrospect it would have been better to call Hitler’s bluff as, during the crisis, it became clear that calling Hitler’s bluff DID work o Hitler wanted to make war on Czechoslovakia –August-September: Britain mobilised her fleet and France called up reservists and Hitler thereupon professed that he was willing to settle for just the Sudetenland without firing a shot, and through negotiation instead  Calling Hitler’s bluff DID work but should have been perhaps used more frequently – perhaps had the potential to bring him down? America  Roosevelt’s control of the Congress after 1938 Congressional Elections was weak = possible to see another situation in which a government leader understands what is likely to happen, what may happen, the threats against peace, but faces difficulties both internal and external also - re. Spain = FDR saw no way to change the neutrality laws to allowAmerican support for Republican Spain – prevented armed shipments to belligerents o January 1939 – considered breaking the neutrality laws but decided it was too late since the fascist were winning o February 1939 – UK and France recognised Franco’s government and by the capture of Madrid in April, the USArecognised the Franco government also = whilst FDR knew that a general change of the neutrality laws could not at present be achieved  BUT in spite of this opposition to holl
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