Foreign Affairs - Impact on Domestic Government (British Domestic Politics 1929-1939)(British Period Study 1918-1951)(Britain 1900-1951)


  •  Problems in International Affairs
  • Problems of Fascist Italy
  • British Reaction to Foreign Affairs
  • Political Influence on Foerign Policy
  • How did FOreign Policy Affect Domestic politics?

Part of Domestic politics 1929-39

For OCR Unit 1

Britain 1900-1951

Period Study 1918-51

  • Created by: oanderton
  • Created on: 25-08-20 16:50

Problems in International Affairs

  • No control on major conflicts
  • No progress in disarmament
  • No effective military force
  • France and Britain had to bear the brunt of the conflict
1 of 5

Threat of Imperialism

Facist Italy, Nazi Germany & Japan became imperial threats & threats to peace in Europe.

  • Britain allied with fascist Italy
    • To try and prevent an alliance between Nazi Germany and Italy.
  • Italy began an invasion of Ethiopia in 1935
  • Italy would later formed a pact with Hitler.
  • Growth of fascism and Hitler
  • Hitler' expansionist tactics  would become the major problem
    • Broke the Treaty of Versailles.
      • Rearmed in 1935.
      • Remilitarized the Rhineland in 1936
  • Japan
    • Depression hit them hard.
    • Silk industry dries up
    • Japan stops making money.
    • The army then takes over.
  • Invaded Manchuria in September 1931 
2 of 5

British Reaction to Foreign Affairs

  • Slow to rearm in face of Germany's actions.
    • Anglo German naval agreement allowed the Germans to build their navy up to 35% of the British.
  • Not trying to reach any agreement with the dictators
    • Only condemning their actions and doing nothing
  • Entry of Chamberlain 
    • Very different policy which effected all of the government
    • Shuttle diplomacy
  • Tried to negotiate with Germany while increasing arms and preparing for war.
  • Appeasment
    • Flying to see Hitler three times in 1938
    • Agreed to most of his demands in return for a vague agreement of peace.
  • Hitler's actions showed it was more likely for another war then further appeasement
  • Britain went to war with Germany after it invaded Poland in September 1939.
    • To maintain the balance of power in Europe
3 of 5

Political Influence on Foreign Policy

  • Public opinion didn't automatically support war.
    • Would not approve large scale rearmament
    • Would be expensive
  • Critics of the government
  • Dangers of war and the public attitude prevented a traditional Tory foreign policy
  • By 1937 it was no longer possible to work through the League of Nations 
4 of 5

How did Foreign Policy Affect Domestic Politics?

  • Not a major issue of disagreement between the parties due to strong public opinion
  • Prior to 1935, political priorities were domestic and mainly economic
  • Japanese expansion didn't become a party issue till 1931
  • Labour foreign policy after Hitler was focused on the need for collective security
  • Conservative policy was skeptical and a big divide in the 1930s came from an agreement between Britain, France and Italy to carve up Abyssinia for themselves causing wide spread moral outrage and Hoare resigned in December 1935
  • In 1935, the appeal of supporting the league of nations was too powerful for politicians to seem to be contradicting
  • Labour clung to the idea of collective security not urging any policy of substantial rearming or taking against aggressive action against expansionist powers
  • Conservative position till 1937 was to make limited moves towards rearmament while accepting Germany's violation of the treaty of Versailles in practice but opposing it in principle
  • A small group including Churchill and Anthony Eden urged for vigorous rearming especially in air defences and greater diplomatic action to secure agreements
  • Chamberlain argued that policy should not be allowed to shift and argued that key defences should be built up -"Hope for the best but prepare for the worse"
  • Decision to avoid war in the Munich conference was overwhelming popular and strengthened Chamberlains political authority producing some dissent in the ranks of the Tories. Churchill opposed the agreement but had little support, there were few resignations and no great split
  • After 1939 there was more public concern over foreign policy
  • Only dissenting voices against the war came from the extreme left
  • Because the non aggression between the USSR  and Germany in August 1939 and the extreme right, the fascists thought Britain would instead ally with Hitler against the communists and the Jews
  • There was a great desire for peace and to avoid a war that was likely to be even more destructive then the First World War
  • Government policy was more or less in line with popular public opinion but appeared to change after the invasion of the Czechs
  • In 1940 the parties formed a united front 
5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Modern Britain - 19th century onwards resources »