Inter-war Foreign Policy (1921 - 1933)

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  • Inter-war Foreign Policy (1921 - 1933)
    • 'Normalcy'
      • A return to what things were like before WWI
      • Warren G Harding advocated 'normalcy'
      • US should focus on its own domestic issues, especially the economy
      • Rejected membership of the League of Nations
        • Still sent observers to LON meetings and conferences
        • US joined the International Labour Organisation (ILO)
          • Part of the League designed to protect workers
      • Isolationism meant not being tied with treaties or being directly involved in the policies of Europe
        • Didn't mean ignoring Europe completely
    • War Debt
      • Britain and France still needed to repay US loans but their economies were in no state to do so
      • As part of the Treaty of Versailles, reparations of $33 bn imposed on Germany
        • Germany would pay in instalments to Britain and France and they would use them to repay the US
      • By 1923, Germany unable to repay instalments so combined French and Belgian force invaded the Ruhr and took reparations by force
        • The Ruhr rich in steel, iron, and coal
        • Government responded with 'passive resistance' - i.e. going on strike so steel and coal production came to a halt
      • German government continued to print money - caused hyperinflation
      • The Dawes Plan (1924)
        • US would loan money to Germany to help rebuild economy
          • Germany then able to pay reparations then Britain and France able to pay off US loans
      • The Young Plan (1929)
        • Cut reparations by a third and extended repayment period to 59 years
      • Wall St. Crash (1929) meant US withdrew loans from Germany
        • With Germany losing money, unable to pay loans
          • 1931 - President Hoover issued a public statement that proposed a one-year moratorium (delay)
    • Disarmement
      • Support for disarmament in US for peace and to cut federal spending
      • Less money spent on arms meant more countries would have to spend on trade
      • The Washington Naval Treaty (1922)
        • Tried to prevent another arms race at sea
        • Set ratio of battleships the US, Britain, France, Japan, and Italy at 5:5:3:1 and 3/4:1 and 3/4
          • Another agreement in London in 1930 set ratio of cruisers
      • Geneva Conference on disarmament (1927)
        • Now that there was protection from the League, countries didn't need so many weapons
          • US didn't attend but sent observers
          • US refused French security
      • Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928)
        • Renounced the use of war as a policy
        • 62 nations and 2 million signed the pact
        • Frank Kellogg won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929
        • US Senate voted 85-1 in favour
    • Latin America
      • Coolidge withdrew US soldiers from Cuba and the Dom Rep
        • Also paid $25 million compensation to Colombia for the Panamanian revolution
      • Dangerous conflict with Mexico smoothed over by US ambassador and by visit from air hero Charles Lindbergh
        • 1932 - President Hoover went on a good will tour of the area
      • US troops withdrew from Nicaragua in 1925
        • Civil war broke out so Coolidge sent the marines back in
        • Americans imposed free elections in 1928 and gradually withdrew troops
          • Last marines left in 1933 but Nicaragua ended up with a brutal dictatorship until the 1970s
      • 1923 - 100 year anniversary of Monroe Doctrine
        • Coolidge's Under-secretary of State J. Reuben Clark produced a Memorandum (1930)
          • Suggested much less interference by the US in Latin America
          • US only concerned if America's security was threatened
      • US business and investments worth $3.52 bn in 1929
      • United Fruit Company operated in Latin America and had a bigger budget than Costa Rican government
      • Private investments from US companies in foreign companies rose from $700 mil (1919) to $17,200 mil (1930)
    • The Far East
      • US signed the Washington Naval Treaty in 1922 partly due to a desire to limit Japanese expansion
      • US, Britain, France, and Japan signed a 'Four Power' Agreement (1921)
      • Signed a 'Nine Power' Agreement to respect the territorial integrity of China (i.e. wouldn't try to take over China)
        • Broken in 1932 when Japan invaded the Chinese province of Manchuria
  • Isolationist
  • Interventionist
  • Both

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