The Colonial Question and the Reaction to Hitler 1933–35

  • Andrew J. Crozier
Part of the Studies in Military and Strategic History book series (SMSH)


On Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor the major preoccupation of the British Cabinet in the field of foreign policy was the future of the disarmament conference, then at a critical stage. Indeed, the desire of the British government to bring the disarmament conference to a successful conclusion was the major element of its policy towards Germany. Hitler’s accession to power did not alter this strategy; it merely made it more difficult to pursue. There is, therefore, some substance in the argument that British policy in respect of the disarmament conference during 1933 was as much motivated by the desire that Britain should not be blamed for its breakdown, should that occur, as by the desire for its success per se.1 But the wish that it should end positively was real enough as it was realised that failure ‘would have incalculable consequences for Europe and the League’.2


British Government German Government Daily Mail Draft Convention German Policy 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    E. W. Bennett, German Rearmament and the West (Princeton, 1979), p. 91.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Ibid., CAB/24/239, Memorandum by Sir John Simon, The Crisis in Europe, 28.2.1933.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    A. J. Toynbee, Survey of International Affairs 1933 (London, 1934), pp. 251–7.Google Scholar
  4. 13.
    S. Heald and J. Wheeler-Bennett (eds), Documents on International Affairs 1933 (London, 1934), pp. 196–208.Google Scholar
  5. 23.
    PRO — CAB 24/243, Memorandum by Sir John Simon, Material for deciding British Policy in view of Germany’s withdrawal from the Disarmament Conference, 2.10.1933, and CAB 23/77, Cabinet Minutes, 23.10.1933.Google Scholar
  6. 32.
    N. H. Gibbs, Rearmament Policy (London, 1976), pp. 87–99; Middle-mas, op. cit., pp. 32–4;Google Scholar
  7. N. Rose, Vansittart: Study of a Diplomat (London, 1978), pp. 124–7;Google Scholar
  8. and J. F. Naylor, A Man and an Institution: Sir Maurice Hankey, the Cabinet Secretariat and the Custody of Cabinet Secrecy (Cambridge, 1984), pp. 238–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 38.
    British preparations for the Anglo-French talks can be followed in PRO — CAB 24/251, Report of Cabinet Committee on German Re-armament, 18.12.1934; ibid., Resumé of Talks at the Quai d’Orsay, 22.12.1934; ibid., 253, Memorandum by Sir John Simon, 9.1.1935; ibid., Instructions for Representatives at the Anglo-French Conversations, 24.1.1935; ibid., CAB 23/80, Cabinet Minutes, 19.12.1934; and ibid., 81, Cabinet Minutes, 9, and 14.1.1935. For the French lack of preparation see L. Noël, Les illusions de Stresa (Paris, 1975), p. 47 andGoogle Scholar
  10. J. B. Duroselle, La Décadence 1932–1937 (Paris, 1979), p. 144.Google Scholar
  11. 43.
    A. J. Toynbee, Survey of International Affairs 1935 (London, 1936) vol. I, pp. 122–3.Google Scholar
  12. 47.
    PRO — CAB 23/81, Cabinet Minutes, 25/2/1935; K. Middlemas and J. Barnes, Baldwin: A Biography (London, 1969), pp. 795–6; and Statement Relating to Defence, loc. cit.Google Scholar
  13. 103.
    PRO — CAB 24/248 Memorandum by Sir R. Vansittart, The Future of Germany, 7.4.1934. See also DBFP, second series, vol. VI, appendix III.Google Scholar
  14. 113.
    Ibid., 18819/C1822/21/18, Memorandum by S. C. Wyatt, The Former German Colonies, 3.3.1935.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Andrew J. Crozier 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew J. Crozier
    • 1
  1. 1.University College of North WalesBangorUK

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