By R. A. C. Parker (auth.)
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Extra resources for Chamberlain and Appeasement: British Policy and the Coming of The Second World War
What ministers supposed Hitler to want did not in itself threaten Britain's safety and independence. What might be dangerous, it seemed, was not Hitler's wishes but the way in which he might try to win them. In the process Germany might either become overwhelmingly strong or set off a European war which would involve Britain. Hitler's Germany must be induced to seek its objectives in a reasonable, peaceful way. The Foreign Office stressed that the other important European powers, France, Italy, Poland and the Soviet Union, should join in the process.
The idea of a Japanese-controlled economic sphere, to assure essential imports and provide land for settlement, became the new orthodoxy. Younger officers called for military action to seize Japanese living space and to curb a growing Chinese nationalism directed against economically and legally privileged foreigners. Chinese nationalism opposed European power in China, especially that of the British, who controlled public utilities, transport, and the customs system, whose citizens enjoyed exemption from Chinese laws and jurisdiction, whose soldiers guarded their settlements and whose warships and gunboats patrolled Chinese rivers.
They did not share the worries in the Admiralty about anti-aircraft defences of ships at sea and in harbour at Malta or Alexandria. Then, on 11 September 1935, Hoare spoke to the assembly of the League. ' Hoare and Vansittart thought this meant: the United Kingdom will act against Italy only as much as France does, and will do nothing at all about further German breaches of the treaties which do not involve crossing a frontier, such as sending troops into the Demilitarised Zone of the German Rhineland.
Chamberlain and Appeasement: British Policy and the Coming of The Second World War by R. A. C. Parker (auth.)