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American Appeasement: Origins and Objectives

  • C. A. MacDonald
Part of the St Antony’s/Macmillan Series book series

Abstract

At the end of 1936 the United States began to use its influence to stimulate appeasement in Europe. The object of American intervention was to secure peace, stability and the expansion of international trade in the interests of world order and domestic recovery. It was hoped in Washington that a final settlement of European problems outstanding since the peace of Versailles would establish the rule of law in international affairs. A just settlement in Europe would be guaranteed by the liberalisation of world trade which would give every power an interest in the new system and eliminate the grievances of‘have-not’ nations such as Germany and Italy. Since mutual suspicion prevented the European powers from reaching a final settlement, it was believed that the United States must intervene and lend its moral leadership to the cause of peace. As a disinterested outsider, uninvolved in European power struggles, the United States might perhaps establish a basis for settlement upon which Britain, France, Germany and Italy could agree. These objectives were first collected into a definite peace plan by Sumner Welles in November 1937, but they had been under consideration in administration circles since the summer of 1936.

Keywords

Foreign Policy European Settlement American Intervention Final Settlement Nazi Regime 
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Notes

  1. 2.
    Ambassador Dodd’s Diary 1933–1938, W. E. Dodd Jr and M. Dodd (eds) (London, 1941) p. 370. (Hereafter Dodd’s Diary.),Google Scholar
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    R. E. Divine, The Illusion of Neutrality, (Chicago, 1962) pp. 155–6.Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    Department of Western European Affairs memorandum, 16 February 1937, Norman Davis Papers, Box 24, Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Washington, D.C.; F. B. Sayre, The American Trade Agreements Program, (New York, 1939).Google Scholar
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    R. Dallek, Democrat and Diplomat, (New York, 1968) pp. 293–7.Google Scholar
  5. 29.
    Bullitt to Roosevelt, 20 December 1936, PSF: France; Bullitt to Roosevelt, 16 December 1936, ibid.; The Diplomats 1919–1939, G. A. Craig and F. Gilbert (eds), 2 volumes (New York, 1962) vol. 2, pp. 656–7.Google Scholar
  6. 36.
    Hjalmar Schacht, ‘Germany’s Colonial Claims’, Foreign Affairs, vol. 15, no. 2, (January 1937) pp. 222–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    A. A. Offner, American Appeasement, (Cambridge, Mass., 1969) p. 231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    D. Borg, The United States and the Far Eastern Crisis, (Cambridge, Mass., 1964) pp. 373–4.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© C. A. Macdonald 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. MacDonald
    • 1
  1. 1.Joint School of Comparative American StudiesUniversity of WarwickUK

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