British Foreign Policy Aims 1929-1939

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Preserving Peace

  • Greatest of national interests - British public were in support of preserving peace.
  • Britain had everything to lose and nothing to gain - cost lots of money, wouldnt gain anything from it.
  • helped to promote commerce - would lose trading partners if a war broke out
  • Economic situation was very bad, not god for a war, preserving peace would allow them to economically recover
  • there was awareness that Britain was increasingly vulnerable - cutting spending on defence and arms, wouldnt be able to survive a war.
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Defence of Britain

  • A vital concern was to ensure that Britain was adequately defended.
  • Protection of essential trade routes
  • Defence of the empire
  • Savage defence cuts had unfortunate consequences for Britains domestic arms industry, which virtually disappeared. (10 year rule - didnt think they would be involved in a war for another 10 years)
  • They needed to be ready to cooperate in the defence of Britain's allies.
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Importance of the USA

  • They were a great economic power and potentially a great military power.
  • Britain couldnt even afford a minor quarrel with America
  • A permanent quarrel with them was unthinkable
  • Britain might need its assistance in the future.
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Preserving the Balance of Power

  • the best insurance against the renewal of war
  • it was believed that World War One had been caused by a rigid alliance system
    • most British governments had no intention of binding the country to preserve the status quo
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World Power

  • Few politicians considered Britain a fully fledged European state.
  • British interests were global rather than just continental
  • Preservation of the Empire was essential if Britain was to remain a great world power.
  • Politicians claimed that self-government was the destiny of every part of the British Empire. Most were determined to preserve that imperial union in some form.
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