VI. Origins of the WW II (1935-1939)

VI. Origins of the WW II (1935-1939) - The Origins of the...

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The Origins of the WW II (1935-1939) By the second half of the 1930s, the states favouring the maintenance of the status quo wanted to set up a barrier against Germany’s revisionism. France wanted closer ties with the Little Entente states (Yugoslavia, Czhecoslovakia, Romania) and direct English participation in a rearmament effort, also to attract Italy and the USSR into a European concert.
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There was an agreement with Italy in Stresa in spring 1935 and a pact with the USSR in May 1935. However, six months later accord with Italy collapsed, the pact with the Soviet Russia was shaky, and the way was again free for German revisionism and expansionism.
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At Stresa, Italy agreed with Britain and France to oppose any unilateral rejection of treaties endandering the peace in Europe. Preceded by French-Italian diplomatic talks about Tunisia, France appeared to give free hand to Italy in Ethiopia, as the Stresa accord applied only to Europe. British foreign policy was vague about commitments concerning Austria, sanctions were to be only economic, not military. Thus, there was an incomplete solidarity between the three powers. Mussolini did not give up the Italian expansionism in Africa, while Britain was opposed, so Italy sought French support in exchange for a joint military convention on Central Europe.
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In their 1935 pact, France and Russia promised to assist each other if any of them was victim of an unprovoked aggression, without signing any military convention. However, the main purpose was only to worry Hitler and there was no real cooperation. In fall 1935, Italy faced British and French resistance to its expansion in Ethiopia. Britain concentrated a naval force in Egypt to scare Italy. Yet on October 2, 1935 Mussolini declared war on Ethiopia.
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Britain did not close the Suez canal, only prohibited arms shipments, then oil exports to Italy and imports from it. France reluctantly followed Britain with similar sanctions, which did not stop Italian military operations. A mediation plan could give parts of Ethiopia to Italy but the Ethiopian Negus refused. Italy denounced the Stresa accord in December 1935. Some French politicians were critical of the sanctions, saying that they could push Italy to the arms of Hitler. Others invoked the principle of collective security and stressed the importance of the accords with Britain and the USSR.
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In Britain, the emphasis was on the principle of collective security and sanctions. But, the Stresa Accord collapsed and the principle of collective security was defeated in front of expansionisms. Attention France was unable to both satisfy Italy and remain faithful to its League commitments and Britain never dared to go as far as using force to stop Mussolini.
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Reoccupation of the Rhineland The prospect of a British-Italian conflict helped Germany to obtain in 1935 a first advantage: the British acceptance of German naval rearmament up to 35% of the strength of the British navy. Britain wanted to
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This note was uploaded on 08/06/2009 for the course INTERNATIO INT taught by Professor Isikgurleyen during the Spring '09 term at Izmir University of Economics.

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VI. Origins of the WW II (1935-1939) - The Origins of the...

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