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ARTS 1810 Lecture - ARTS 1810 International Relations in the Twentieth Century The path to WW II 1930-39 Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler in 1940

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Unformatted text preview: ARTS 1810 International Relations in the Twentieth Century The path to WW II, 1930-39 Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler in 1940 Dr Andrea Benvenuti Semester I, 2009 Lecture Plan Collapse of the ‘Versailles system’ Rise of an aggressive Germany Actions of revisionist powers (Italy and Japan) LN LN undermined The Berlin-Tokyo-Rome Axis (1940) Response by France and Britain Meaning of ‘appeasement’/’lessons of Munich’ Japan’s challenge (1931) Japan first major power to deal a blow to ‘Versailles’ In In 1931 it took over Manchuria LN failed to take effective action Appointed Appointed a commission of enquiry Approved Approved report condemning Japan Imposed Imposed no sanctions Japan invade Manchuria In 1933 Japan left the LN Western Western powers’ response was inadequate US US in midst of Great Depression UK UK did not want to antagonize Japan 1 Hitler becomes Chancellor (January 1933) Germany even more determined to destroy ‘Versailles’ Weimar Republic’s political climate fertile ground for Hitler’s NSWP Success of the Communist/Nazi parties in 1930s Political Political polarization deepened Germany’s crisis In Jan 1933 President Hindenburg appointed Hitler Hitler began Hitler and President Hindenburg Introducing Introducing a totalitarian state Pursuing Pursuing a revisionist foreign policy Hitler as a revisionist Stresemann too had wanted: Germany Germany restored to pre-1914 frontiers preReparations Reparations reduced/written off Foreign Foreign troops removed from German soil Stresemann planned to achieve this by patient diplomacy Hitler was not simply a revisionist ‘Living ‘Living space’ Gustav Stresemann (PM 1923; FM 1923-29) Destroy Destroy the whole ‘Versailles system’ But he needed time to rearm Germany Germany left disarmament talks & LN in 1933 But he was careful not to antagonize other powers PolishPolish-German non-aggression pact (1934) non- Hitler as a revisionist Stresemann too had wanted: Germany Germany restored to pre-1914 frontiers preReparations Reparations reduced/written off Foreign Foreign troops removed from German soil ‘… The broad mass of a nation…will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one …’ Hitler was not simply a revisionist Stresemann sought to achieve this by patient diplomacy ‘Living ‘Living space’ Gustav Stresemann (PM 1923; FM 1923-29) Adolf Hitler, Mein ‘Versailles 1925 Destroy Destroy the whole Kampf, system’ But he needed time to rearm Germany Germany left disarmament talks & LN in 1933 But he was careful not to antagonize other powers PolishPolish-German non-aggression pact (1934) non- 2 Hitler’s early steps in foreign policy For Euro elites Hitler was was likely to pursue a revisionist foreign policy But But didn’t want to overturn existing order In 1933 they doubted if Hitler would last long Towards a ‘revisionist’ foreign policy For some he was a better hope for peace than the weak governments before him Hitler was seen as a staunch anti-communist anti- Powers took no special measure against him Hitler denounces ‘Versailles’ (1935) In In March 1935 Hitler took first big gamble: denounced denounced ‘disarmament clauses’ of ‘Versailles’ announced announced intention to rearm reintroduced reintroduced compulsory conscription 36 36 Army division (600,000 troops) An increasingly daring Hitler WWI victors only issued formal protests UK & France feared war more than weakening of ‘Versailles system’ All they came up with was the ‘Stresa Front’ ‘Stresa The ‘Stresa Front’ (April 1935) UK, UK, French & Italian PMs met at Stresa France France & UK sought Italian support against Germany They issued a public declaration: UK, UK, FR and ITA ‘would act in close cooperation’ British PM Ramsay MacDonald (1929-35) at Stresa would would oppose ‘any unilateral repudiation of treaties which may endanger the peace in Europe’ ‘Stresa Front’ would be short-lived short- 3 The Franco-Russian alliance (May 1935) France very active in shoring up its diplomatic position It sought political alliance with USSR but but rejected military staff talks France feared these could produce a declaration of war by Germany Polish Polish opposition to transit rights for Red Army Pierre Laval (PM 1935-36) France also played midwife to ‘mutual assistance’ pact between USSR & Czechoslovakia (1935) France had also signed defence treaties with Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia Germany had been encircled and isolated Inconsistencies in French and British policy Contradictions in France’s strategy: Alliances Alliances with countries too weak to face Germany Alliance Alliance with USSR with which it dared not co-operate comilitarily France’s France’s military doctrine based on ‘Maginot Line’ Trouble was that France/UK not prepared to use force UK UK secretly signed naval accord (1935) with Germany UK PM Stanley Baldwin Germany Germany allowed to exceed naval limitation of Versailles German German navy should be 1/3 of UK fleet UK/France weren’t sure what to do with Mussolini Revisionist Italy Mussolini was also revisionist, but cautious Mussolini had been wary of Hitler He supported Franco-British ‘containment’ Franco- But But he expected something back Benito Mussolini He He believed France/UK gave him a free hand in Abyssinia 4 The Italian invasion of Abyssinia (1935-36) In 1935 Italy attacked Abyssinia Invasion Invasion sparked serious international crisis The The LN declared Italy to be the aggressor LN LN voted to impose sanctions against Italy Abyssinia Abyssinia marked Italy’s shift towards Germany European empires in Africa Mussolini Mussolini resented Franco-British behaviour Franco- Abyssinia drove a wedge between Italy and Western powers It provided Hitler with another opportunity (Rhineland) Remilitarization of Rhineland (1936) & ‘Anschluss’ (1938) He remilitarized Rhineland A violation of Versailles and Locarno France entitled to reoccupy the Rhineland But But it did not want to intervene unless UK intervened UK did not want to intervene Remilitarization Remilitarization not a ‘flagrant’ violation of ‘Versailles War War should be avoided over ‘legitimate’ German aspiration German troops return to the Rhineland Reassured that Italy would not intervene, he invaded Austria in March 1938 Munich (29 September 1938) In September 1938 Hitler demanded return of Sudetenland UK UK sought to mediate Plebiscite Plebiscite Those Those with a majority of German speakers transferred to Germany The Munich Summit In late September Hitler raised his stakes Immediate Immediate transfer of the Sudeten to Germany Chamberlain and Daladier accepted Italian ‘compromise’ Occupation Occupation to go ahead, but process to be drawn out for 10 days 5 Hitler’s next moves (1939) In March 1939 Hitler invaded Czech provinces of Bohemia and Moravia Neither France nor Britain confronted Hitler … … but they gave a guarantee to Poland Guarantee would have eventful consequences Sudeten Germans welcome German troops In mid-1939 Hitler decided to solve the Danzig midquestion He thought he could get Danzig by peaceful means The meaning of ‘Munich’ and ‘appeasement’ ‘Munich Agreement’ is a hotly debated topic in IR ‘Munich’ ‘Munich’ has been defended as an attempt to avoid war Others Others have condemned ‘Munich’ as a shortshortsided/shameless attempt to ‘appease’ Hitler Chamberlain has been regarded as the quintessential ‘appeaser’ Chamberlain facing the prospect of war He thought that Germany had ‘legitimate’ grievances If Britain met these ‘legitimate’ demands, Hitler could be ‘restrained’ But could he? Why did Britain appease Hitler? UK leaders knew public wasn’t prepared for war UK UK was still recovering from 1929 crisis They saw Hitler as bulwark against Bolshevism They feared war would expose Empire Canada, Canada, Oz, NZ & SA opposed to war in 1938 PM Neville Chamberlain (1937-40) with Hitler They tended to over-emphasize UK’s weaknesses over- Chamberlain Chamberlain believed he could negotiate lasting peace with Hitler The ‘rearmament question’ 6 Why did France appease Hitler? Daladier much more skeptical than Chamberlain But unwilling to take Hitler on without UK support Strong ‘pacifism’ among parties/public (at least till late 1930s) Governmental instability also a problem Weakness Weakness of French economy (in 1929-38 industrial 1929production declined by nearly 30%) Long border with Germany & big empire costly to defend Daladier (PM 1938-40) and Hitler at Munich By 1936 France spent 26.5% of state revenues on defence Germany would spent 62.5% of its larger income on defence Conclusions Hitler discarded the ‘Versailles system’ France France and UK unwilling to confront him until September 1939 Were France & UK right in trying to do their best to avoid war? Or Or were they foolish to try to contain Hitler? When should Hitler have been stopped? Should Should Hitler have been stopped in 1935? What would you have done? 7 ...
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This note was uploaded on 07/10/2011 for the course ARTS 1810 taught by Professor Andreabenvenuti during the Three '09 term at University of New South Wales.

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