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By P. Bell

This publication examines the function of Chamberlain and the nationwide govt in responding to the strategic difficulties created through the emergence of a two-front chance from Germany and Japan. It makes a speciality of the 1st defence standards enquiry of 1933-4, while rearmament foundations have been laid and international coverage redefined. It explores the inter-relationship among the several departments of kingdom, and among members, within the formula of coverage at a time of hindrance, and sheds gentle at the debate approximately appeasement.

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Additional info for Chamberlain, Germany and Japan 1933-4: Redefining British Strategy in an Era of Imperial Decline

Sample text

This was, admittedly, not easily attainable; a fine line existed between securing Japan's goodwill and purchasing her friendship by concessions at China's expense, and there were other obstacles. It is not clear from Chamberlain's comments at this stage how far he thought it feasible to meet Japan's claims in China, and whether he had any doubts about the ultimate compatibility of British and Japanese aims. He seemed to imply at one point that, if Japan could be restricted to China, then the problem might not be serious.

The changing balance was reflected in some of the arguments now voiced, though not all the Committee agreed the changes warranted alteration in the Service Chiefs' priorities. Hankey began by stating that, because of the 'rapid changes in the international situation' since the Review, it would be useful to reassess the order of priorities. 23 Already he had expressed scepticism of the Review's priorities in a minute on that document. Unlike most other colleagues, except Sir Victor Wellesley, he disputed the sense of placing the Far East first: 'It seems to be generally agreed that Japan is unlikely to attack us, unless we are engaged elsewhere.

Initially, Chatfield assured colleagues the order of priorities was tentative; it was 'difficult in a long term programme to place Germany or Japan in any particular order of priority'. It became clear, however, that he was determined to uphold the the Far Eastern emphasis. Germany, in his view, represented a remote threat, whilst the Japanese danger was more immediate. Whilst everything should be done to keep friendly with Japan, a greater show of strength would considerably facilitate this, for it was known Japan ridiculed Britain's weakness.

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