The ‘Quarantine’ Speech and the Welles Plan

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


On 17 July 1937 Japanese troops in the vicinity of Peking were involved in an incident with Chinese forces which, in the following weeks, escalated into a full-scale war. The ‘China Incident’ broadened the European crisis of 1933–6 into a world crisis in 1937, creating additional problems for both Britain and the United States. The fighting in China brought Japan into conflict with the Western powers and created an apparent identity of interest between Tokyo, Berlin and Rome. A world axis conspiracy appeared to be emerging.1 Links between the ‘dissatisfied’ powers became closer with Mussolini’s visit to Berlin in September and the tripartite Anti-Comintern Pact in November 1937. This development created strategic problems for Britain and America. It became vital to dispel the threat to the ‘satisfied’ powers of a world triangle of‘dissatisfied’ powers. The British chiefs of staff warned that it was impossible to fight three antagonists simultaneously and asked the government to reduce by diplomacy the number of possible enemies.2 The Americans were also affected by the new tripartite grouping, since their basic war plan ‘Orange’ took no account of possible outside assistance for Japan in the event of a war in the Pacific.3


Prime Minister Foreign Policy Economic Sanction World Affair American Policy 
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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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