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The Last Days of Peace

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

Abstract

The Nazi-Soviet Pact improved the strategic position of Britain and France by destroying the Anti-Comintern grouping. It discredited the Japanese military ‘extremists’ who had been pressing for closer ties with Germany. The Hiranuma government which had been discussing Ribbentrop’s tripartite alliance resigned and was replaced by a cabinet determined to pursue a policy of noninvolvement in European affairs.1 The Western powers were thus freed of the axis threat in the Far East. It was already clear that Mussolini was reluctant to support German designs on Poland2 and the new pact did nothing to stimulate Italian enthusiasm for war. On the other hand it doomed Poland if Hitler chose to launch an attack. The main question faced in Washington was whether Chamberlain would defend Poland or whether he would respond to peace feelers from Berlin. If the Prime Minister stood firm Hitler might hesitate to risk war with only the unreliable Stalin as an ally. The main aim of Roosevelt’s policy during the Polish crisis, therefore, was to keep Italy at a distance from its erstwhile axis partner while doing nothing to encourage a second Munich at the expense of Poland.

Keywords

Prime Minister Polish Question German People Peaceful Settlement European Affair 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 3.
    Halifax to Henderson, 22 August 1939, DBFP, series 3, vol. 7, pp. 127–8.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Loraine to Halifax, 23 August 1939, DBFP, series 3, vol. 7, pp. 157–8.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Welles to Phillips, 23 August 1939, FRUS, 1939, vol. 1, pp. 351–2.Google Scholar
  4. 17.
    Lindsay to Halifax, 26 August 1939, DBFP, series 3, vol. 7, p. 262.Google Scholar
  5. 19.
    Esmonde M. Robertson, Hitler’s Pre-War Policy and Military Plans, (London, 1963) pp. 181–2.Google Scholar
  6. 20.
    Henderson to Halifax, 25 August 1939, DBFP, series 3, vol. 7, pp. 227–9.Google Scholar
  7. 24.
    Memorandum by Dahlerus, 27 August 1939, DBFP, series 3, vol. 7, pp. 283–6.Google Scholar
  8. 28.
    Halifax to Forbes, 28 August 1939, DBFP, series 3, vol. 7, pp. 330–2.Google Scholar
  9. 31.
    Minute by Vansittart, 29 August 1939, DBFP, series 3, vol. 7, p. 355.Google Scholar
  10. 35.
    Halifax to Henderson, 30 August 1939, DBFP, series 3, vol. 7, pp. 413–14.Google Scholar
  11. 39.
    Kennedy to Hull, 25 August 1939, FRUS, 1939, vol. 1, pp. 369–70.Google Scholar
  12. 41.
    Bullitt to Hull, 26 August 1939, FRUS, 1939, vol. 1, p. 373.Google Scholar
  13. 45.
    Lothian to Halifax, 31 August 1939, DBFP, series 3, vol. 7, pp. 428–9.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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