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By C. Kitching

During this attention-grabbing examine, Carolyn Kitching examines the function which Britain performed on the Geneva Disarmament convention, an occasion which marked a watershed in inter-war diplomacy. Failure to arrive contract in Geneva hastened the cave in of the Treaty of Versailles, and gave the fairway gentle for German re-armament. Britain used to be arguably the one energy able to mediating among conflicting French and German calls for over the Treaty's disarmament clauses, and this research unearths that the conventional interpretation of British coverage on the convention should be tremendously revised.

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Extra info for Britain and the Geneva Disarmament Conference: A Study in International History

Sample text

31 MacDonald's reluctance to head the British delegation to the Conference is perhaps equally understandable; he did not support the idea of an international conference as a means of addressing the disarmament problem, and he was increasingly impatient with French diplomacy. 32 MacDonald is a clear example of the effect of individuals upon government policy: his position as British Prime Minister ought to have meant taking a leading role in putting forward his Government's position, but his personal preference was not to associate himself too closely with that position.

T]his is the basis of the policy of the . . 40 Chamberlain hoped that from the strong base of security which Locarno provided, disarmament would automatically follow. This was not to be the case. France was well aware of the shortcomings of Locarno, but recognized that it was as close as Britain would ever get to offering her a guarantee of security. She did not feel that it was sufficient to enable her to make the significant reduction in the level of her armaments which would satisfy Germany.

68 These qualities of a readiness to expand his horizons and speed of grasping a point were clearly demonstrated at the Disarmament Conference when the French Prime Minister, Andre Tardieu, explained to him the French position on security versus disarmament. 69 However, whilst Thomas was able to throw himself wholeheartedly into his ministerial duties, there is no evidence to suggest that he had any real interest in the issue of disarmament. Perhaps the only senior member of the National Government with any real enthusiasm for the Disarmament Conference was the Home Secretary, the Liberal leader, Sir Herbert Samuel.

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