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Durham e-Theses
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British policy in Europe from the Munich agreement to the Polish guarantee, September 29, 1938 to March 31, 1939

Richards, R. J. (1967) British policy in Europe from the Munich agreement to the Polish guarantee, September 29, 1938 to March 31, 1939. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The aim of this thesis is to examine the motives and execution of British policy in Europe between the stated dates. One theme is held to run continually through this period - the intention to restrain the dictators from precipitating European war. Emphasis is laid upon Chamberlain's stubborn belief in his own ability to pacify Hitler, though this personal policy of appeasement is shown to be strongly supported by other significant administrators of foreign affairs. A survey is made of Britain's relationships with the other Munich signatories primarily, though dealings with other powers are examined when relevant. t is shown that as the promise of success for appeasement waned so Chamberlain's attitude to France became increasingly more open-handed, and that for the same reason greater emphasis was put on rearmament. Both of these movements are construed as supports to a sagging appeasement, not a denial of it. A significant shift in British policy is seen in Britain's declaration of solidarity with France early in February but again this swing is interpreted as being still very appeasement-minded. It is this new avenue of appeasement that Chamberlain was to explore more thoroughly when forced to re-appraise his policy after 'Prague'. That he refused even then to abandon his hopes of pacifying Hitler is seen in the fact that he devised a plan unlikely to be fully acceptable to the powers it concerned, and that by finally anchoring British policy to Poland rather than the Soviet Union Chamberlain was avoiding the anti-German role he had appeared to propose and which was so inconsistent with the principles on which appeasement was founded. Appeasement was thus a consistent policy and though its direction and application were often remoulded to suit the situation in Europe at the time, it was never in this six months abandoned.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1967
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:22

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