What was Britain's position in 1918?

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STRENGHTS

VICTORY IN WW1/MILITARY STRENGHT/EMPIRE

  • armistice -  rejoicing- 'golden era'
  • 5% male population(france 10% Germany 10%)
  • 5.5 million in the army
  • royal navy has 58 battleships, 100 cruisers (biggest  in the world)
  • RAF  20,000  planes (36 at the start of  the war)
  • Empire assistance - 2.5 million troops - proof of unity and utility
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STRENGHTS

WEAKNESSES OF TRADITIONAL RIVALS/ GOOD RELATIONS WITH OTHER COUNTRIES         

  • Germany defeated - Treaty of Versailles
  • Russia in chaos - civil war
  • France had suffered hugely in WW1
  • USA: special relationships
  • Japan: allies since 1902
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STRENGHTS

ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL STRENGTH

  • reserves of wealth
  • no balance  of payments defecit
  • elimination of German competition
  • industrial output remained high, despite war
  • had paid for much of the war out of own resources and had loaned to others (who now had to pay them back, with interest)
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WEAKNESSES

ECONOMIC WEAKNESS AND FINANCIAL WEAKNESS

  • Britain incurred debts equivalent to 136% if  it's GNP
  • Unemployment in 1921 reaches its highest point (11.3%) since records had  begun
  • More British than German workers were involved in strikes in 1919
  • Public spending cuts introduced in 1922 in order to ward off inflation - lots of resentment towards this
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WEAKNESSES

DEFENCE OVER COMMITMENT

  • Last year of war - 83% income spent on artillery
  • Cuts to save money to spend on a land fit for heroes and widower's pensions etc
  • Gain a lot of Empire - has to pay for it; look after and defend
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WEAKNESSES

LACK OF ALLIES

  • suspicion of France and US isolationism - America doesn't want to get involved in world affairs
  • strongest allies - France - disagreements, America - doesn't want to get involved
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WEAKNESSES

IMPERIAL WEAKNESSES

  • Nationalist movements in colonies (e.g. India)
  • Dominions wanted to achiece greater  autonomy
  • Gains made at the end of WW1 made  it  unwieldy

INDIA:

  • WW1 - (1.5 million Indian troops) - calls for Indian independence increase
  • Monatgu - chelmsford report agreed to do this BUT there was very little change - India Office still controlled India
  • Anto-British political meetings began e.g. Amritsar - British troops massacred - 379
  • Massacre led to campaigns of civil disobedience by Ganahi
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WEAKNESSES

POTENTIAL ENEMIES

  • Germany- because of the Treaty of Versailles
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Britain's position

STRONG IN THE SHORT TERM, WEAK IN THE LONG TERM

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Key aims of Foreign Policy 1919-37

1.) Preserve peace - 10 year rule

2.) Defend British (despite 'ten year rule') including trade routes

3.) Preserve the balance of power

4.) Preserve the Empire

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cvb

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