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Overview The UK and the US showed no enthusiasm for the Treaty of Versailles (T of V) after it was signed. They had no desire to enforce its provisions. This was influenced by their traditional policies of isolationism and the views of the treaties’ harshness. Overview contd. The French lost the Anglo-American Guarantee (Pg 43) and had to try and enforce the treaty alone. The failure of enforcement allowed Germany to evade the Treaty and plan its demise at any moment. The disarmament conferences that were organized after the war in the spirit of the 14 points were not successful – due to a lack of co-operation and a failure to resolve issues supporting expanded arms programs. US isolationism US isolationism goes back to the time of George Washington -“avoid foreign entanglements” Over the years people had come to the US to escape Europe and its conflicts. The physical separation of the US and Europe also created a psychological barrier as well – the US saw itself as a better society than Europe. US isolationism contd. The US had a hemispheric mentality as demonstrated by the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny. The purpose was to give control of the western hemisphere to the US and to exclude all foreign influences. The US did not keep large armies in peacetime and did not want to intervene outside its own areas of interest. US isolationism contd. At the end of WW1 the US was the wealthiest and most powerful economic entity in the world. All the Allied nations were in debt to her financially and she had saved the Allies from defeat. Wilson saw this as a chance for American intervention to prevent any future wars and change the ways international relations were carried out. US isolationism contd. Wilson thought his Fourteen Points and formation of the League of Nations would create a new international order. American involvement would be vital and would allow the US to be a leader in creating a new peaceful and progressive system of international relationships. This is in line with the American view that they were a utopian society and an inspiration for the rest of the world. US isolationism contd. Wilson was unable to get the T of V ratified in the US senate . The US did not join the League of Nations. (See Margaret Macmillan’s comments on pg 43) There was no consensus on America’s role in the world, some wanted a return to isolationism others wanted the US to participate in world affairs. US isolationism contd. In addition the US did not ratify the Anglo-American Guarantee, made to ensure French security in case of a German attack. These decisions along with the election of Warren Harding (“return to normalcy”) meant that the US was returning to its traditional policy of isolationism. The Anglo-American Guarantee The French were worried about their future security against another German attack. The French proposed to take the Rhineland from Germany which the US and the UK could not agree to. The US and the UK realized that France would not be satisfied unless it had a guarantee of military support. Guarantee contd. The US and UK pledged to come to the aid of France if Germany attacked. This agreement was against Wilson’s principles that a League of Nations would prevent the need for such guarantees to be signed. The Anglo-American Guarantee was never ratified by the US senate and never came into force, as a result of this Britain withdrew from military commitment to France. British isolationism The British throughout their history were isolationists, who avoided commitments to other nations. (Splendid isolationism) The British were ready to intervene in European affairs and their policy was to intervene against any power seeking dominance of Europe. They refused to tie themselves to one country or group of countries. British isolationism contd. There was a fear in the UK that France would try and dominate Europe. There was a reluctance to support France as it looked like it would be dragged into another conflict with Germany.(France was supporting Poland and the Little Entente) The British were not prepared to go to war to defend an unfair treaty. They were also reluctant to be dragged into another horrific war. Consider the following questions. What encourages countries to intervene in international crises? What are the motives that encourage either individuals or nations to make sacrifices in defense of a principle or to correct a wrong? Why was it possible for American idealists to reject the Versailles settlements? What human motives might be involved in the decisions to support or reject the Versailles settlements? Do nations always base their actions on self-interest? Do individuals? Disarmament – The Washington Naval Conference and the Far East The arms race was one of the major causes of the outbreak of WW1 and was targeted by Wilson in his Fourteen Points. It was a goal of the Paris settlements and the L of N to reduce armaments and limit the threat of war. Ironically the US did not join the L of N who organized the most successful disarmament conference of the post-war period. Disarmament contd. After WW1 the arms race continued with the US, UK and Japan spending large amounts of money to expand their navies. The naval race was caused by the American desire to have a “fleet second to none” and… The British had always traditionally had the world’s largest fleet as a matter of security and Japan wanted to defend herself and her new empire and to increase her international stature. Reasons for Conference The decision to call a conference on the naval arms race was based on two major issues: The cost of the arms race, neither the UK or Japan could afford it and America wanted to reduce its spending. The other reason was the need to diffuse the tension between Japan and the USA in Asia and the fact that this may turn into a major conflict. Japan/US – conflict? Japan and the US were suspicious of each other’s intentions in China and the Far East. The situation worsened after the war because Japan had expanded their territory and sought further dominance of China. The loss of trade and the threat to US possessions in the Philippines were increasing tensions and the talk of war between the two was becoming more common. UK - Conflict? Japan was threatened by the US naval build-up and the reluctance of the US to recognize her position in Asia. The UK was worried as it had a defensive alliance with Japan since 1902 and did not want to be dragged into a war on the side of Japan against the US. This encouraged the UK to support the naval disarmament conference and a resolution of tensions in the far East. The UK was also under pressure from Canada and Australia to end the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and avoid conflict with America. Washington Conference The Washington Conference (1921-2) was the most successful of the post-war disarmament conferences. (although they were limited and not permanent) This was the norm for post-war disarmament conferences which produced limited and short-term results. The most vital point to make about these conferences were that they cannot succeed in a vacuum. Reasons? The reasons for arms races must be addressed before disarmament can occur. In a world where nations distrusted each other, had grievances or territorial ambitions, disarmament stood little chance. Germany, Russia, Italy and Japan saw rearmament as a way to address their grievances. Believing that disarmament could take place under such circumstances was foolish and may have encouraged aggression rather than prevented it. The Washington Agreements Terms The most important agreement was the decision to limit the size of battleships, cruisers and aircraft carriers. The USA, UK and Japan agreed to a ratio of 5:5:3, all nations were to destroy battleships until the fleet size was reached. No new battleships were to be built for 10 years. Terms contd. The construction of naval bases in the Pacific was limited. This gave Japan dominance in the Eastern Pacific. This reduced the possibility of conflict as neither the USA or UK could establish new bases there. Success at the conference It resulted in the destruction of weapons and placed limits on future armament. It was the beginning of further disarmament negotiations which would cover other types of weapons. The weapons reduction took place because the underlying political issues that had caused the arms race were resolved. Two agreements Two agreements were signed; The Four Power Agreement and the Nine Power agreement. The purpose was to reduce tension in the Far East and limit the possibility of conflict. The Four Power Agreement USA, UK , France and Japan. This replaced the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and ensured the rights of all signatories to their colonies in Asia. They all agreed to defend each other in the event of an external attack. The Nine Power Agreement UK, Japan, US, France, China, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and Netherlands. It confirmed the Open Door policy for trade in China and guaranteed its territorial integrity. This agreement collapsed with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. United Kingdom - benefits The Conference was viewed positively by the public as progress towards peace seemed to be made. All the countries also gained some benefits either strategic and/or financial. The UK had avoided an expensive naval race that it had felt obliged to enter at the expense to her domestic economy. UK benefits contd. The UK also got out of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance which removed a source of conflict with the US. This was achieved without offending Japan. This was a good thing because they were very attached to the alliance and would likely have reacted badly to any British moves to end it. Japan - benefits Japan was unhappy that it had a smaller fleet than both the UK and the US, however Japan benefitted the most from the conference. It gained tremendous security because no new GB or US bases could be built within 3000 miles of its borders. This gave Japan control of the eastern Pacific and China in the event of any disputes. Success! The US was able to reduce its spending on armaments. The US also decided to retreat into isolation. These two factors reduced the possibility of friction and conflict in the Pacific. Success contd. The success of the agreements depended upon the co- operation of the countries involved as they had no enforcement provisions. They were successful because the nations involved all felt that they had some success. The small number of participants also made it easier to reach agreement. The timing was important because there was great public support for disarmament after ww1. Pitfalls The agreements were vaguely worded. This might mean it could be easily ignored if one or more nations found themselves in changed circumstances where the agreements no longer served their best interests. This situation occurred in the case of Japan’s invasion of Manchuria in 1931. Missing countries It is extremely important to note that the agreements did not include two major powers: Germany and USSR. Both these nations wanted to increase their armaments and military strength in the future. This would prove a challenge to the whole concept of disarmament. The London Naval Conference This was the third in a series of meetings to reduce the naval armaments of the major powers. In 1930 the five major naval powers – the UK, USA, Japan, Italy and France- met in London to revise and extend the agreement reached in 1922 in Washington. The first meeting was the Washington Conference in 1921, another conference in Geneva in 1927 had failed to reach an agreement. The Treaty The treaty changed the ratio of ships established in Washington to 10:10:7 for the UK, USA and Japan. France and Italy refused to take part in this agreement but agreed not to build any new ships for five years. Agreements were made regarding the size and number of cruisers, destroyers and submarines that each country could possess. Submarines were not allowed to sink ships unless the crew and passengers had been removed to safety. The treaty remained in effect until 1936. Reasons for success The world was in the midst of the Great Depression and countries were looking for ways to reduce their spending on weapons. In the democratic countries spending on defense was not popular compared to relief programs. In light of the economic crisis it was easy to reduce spending despite the protests of the naval officers. The London Naval Treaty, 1936 The major powers met to renegotiate the London treaty of 1930 which expired in 1936. The conference was a failure – Japan and Italy walked out. Japan demanded an equal ratio with the USA and the UK. The London Naval Treaty, 1936 contd. The UK, France and the USA signed a treaty to limit the size of warships. This collapsed after 1936 in view of the Japanese and German rearmament programs. Another reason for its collapse was the increasing number of conflicts and crises in the world. The Geneva Disarmament Conference, 1932-4 The Paris Peace Settlement limited armaments for Germany and its allies. Wilson’s Fourteen Points also advocated disarmament. Public support for disarmament was encouraged by a number of factors. Public support: reasons The League of Nations and the idea of collective security would lead to a more peaceful world. The belief that arms races had been a major cause of the war and reducing arms would reduce the chance of war. The cost of arms at a time when nations were struggling to recover financially after the war. Public support contd. The peaceful 1920’s had given the illusion that the risk of war had been greatly reduced – nations no longer needed large armies. The optimism of the Locarno Pact. The success of the Kellogg-Briand Agreement. Public support contd. The League of Nations promoted world disarmament as its mandate to support world peace. The League held a world disarmament conference in Geneva in 1932. Thirty-one nations attended including the USA and the USSR who were not member s of the League. Problems for the Geneva conference The Great Depression had reduced the optimism of the 1920’s. There was an increasing demand to revise the Paris Peace Settlements. Nations were fearful of their own security and did not want to commit to disarmament. Further problems.. The problem between the definition of an offensive weapon and a defensive weapon! The US said if all offensive weapons were destroyed nations would feel more secure. This argument led to many frustrating debates which undermined the conference. Problems with enforcement The conference had no enforcement methods in place. There was no official organization to oversee nations compliance to the terms of disarmament. This is clearly illustrated with the Rapallo Treaty in 1922 which enabled Germany to evade the disarmament clauses of the T of V. Further problems Disarmament would never work unless all the nations felt secure to do it. France refused to disarm without a guarantee of support of protection from Germany. The UK and other refused to give such support and France refused to consider reducing its arms, especially as Germany was resurgent. Germany’s role Germany used the conference to expose the hypocrisy of the other countries. It said all countries should disarm to the German level or allow Germany to match their military forces. No country supported these proposals so Germany withdrew from the Geneva conference in July 1932. Hitler’s role Germany rejoined the conference in 1933 but Hitler was now the chancellor of Germany. He demanded equal treatment and when this did not happen, Germany withdrew from the conference and shortly after the League. Hitler had no interest in disarmament. Hitler contd. The unwillingness of the powers to give him equal treatment gave him a valid excuse to rearm. It made the French look uncooperative, as they had refused to consider arms reduction. Although the French had no choice as they did not receive any support from UK or USA. Italy’s ambition Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator, was not interested in reducing its armed forces as it had imperialistic ambitions. He wanted to sign a Four Power Agreement involving the UK, Italy, France and Germany. He wanted this group to make “peacful” revisions to the treaties. Italy contd. The formation of this group would mean that Germany would become an equal partner. The conference would then resemble Locarno as means of negotiating between France and Germany. This pact was never signed because France objected but it showed a move away from the League to a Concert of Europe model. Rising Tensions The disarmament conference broke up without any agreements being reached. Europe was entering a period of increased tension . Nations were going to have to decide how to protect themselves. Two fundamental approaches: Increase spending on arms to defend oneself. Examples: The Maginot Line in France. Force concessions from other nations, following Hitler’s model. Second approach: Attempt to negotiate a settlement with other nations as a way to avoid escalation of tensions and the need to rearm. Examples: The Anglo-German Naval Agreement. Mussolini’s failed Four power pact which sought to produce negotiated settlements and to recapture the spirit of Locarno. Failure!! Disarmament could not be discussed unless the fundamental sources of conflict were resolved. Germany, Russia, Italy and Japan were determined to revise the Versailles settlements and reclaim lost territories. As long as this was the case there was very little hope of long term arms reduction. Why did disarmament fail? Key revision questions. What possible strategies could have been suggested to revive the disarmament process? Which nations had little real interest in disarmament and why? What are the conditions necessary for a successful disarmament agreement? What does Rapallo show about possibilities of disarmament and its enforcement? “Better Make it wide enough to hold yourself too, Big Boy” Questions This cartoon was published in the London Evening Standard in 1932. What specifically is the cartoon referring to? Can you name five important things in the cartoon that help us to understand what the cartoonist is trying to say? “ The Conference Excuses Itself” Questions This cartoon was published in the London Evening Standard in May 1934. What specific event is the cartoon referring to? Can you identify three important things in the cartoon that allow the cartoonist to get his point across? “A Lucid Interval” Questions This was also published in the London Evening Standard in 1930. What event does the cartoon refer to? Which five countries are represented in the cartoon? What is the significance of the “venue” in the cartoon? Name at least two other important things in the cartoon which help the author get his point across.