Summer 1935: The Ethiopian Factor

  • Nicholas Rostow


In the spring and early summer of 1935, the British were still complacent about the state of world politics in general and the balance of power in particular. In their defence review for 1935, the Chiefs of Staff noted that British security rested on the assumption that diplomacy would prevent Britain from having to enter a war alone. Without allies, Britain could not fight Japan and Germany at sea; with France as an ally, the Chiefs of Staff thought, the British could handle any naval threats from Berlin and Tokyo for the next three to four years.1 It was the universal though rarely stated premise of policy that France and Britain would fight together in any general war. Despite the strains in Anglo-French relations resulting from the day-to-day process of diplomacy, this comforting assumption permitted confidence about the longer run to survive, even though the military experts were worried about Britain’s strategic position and defence posture.2


French Government Collective Security French Position British Policy Italian Expansion 
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Notes and References

  1. 16.
    Goldman, ‘Sir Robert Vansittart’s Search for Italian Cooperation against Hitler, 1933–36’, J. of Contemporary History, 9, 3 (July 1974), 93–130; Gehl, 119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Nicholas Rostow 1984

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  • Nicholas Rostow

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