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Alternative to Appeasement: Sir Robert Vansittart and by Michael Roi

By Michael Roi

The years from 1934 to 1937 have been a time within which the British Empire was once faced with the emergence of the triple hazard of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy. The target of British coverage used to be simply outlined: the security and promoting of Britain's big pursuits. whereas Neville Chamberlain and Sir Robert Vansittart agreed at the target, they disagreed at the skill to accomplish it. Their confrontation stemmed partially from their varied understandings of the character of the 3rd Reich; Vansittart understood higher than Chamberlain the consequences of Hitler's Weltanschauung. yet their assorted ideas additionally mirrored the truth that Chamberlain didn't percentage Vansittart's trust within the necessity of pursuing alliance international relations to guard the world-wide safety and pursuits of the British Empire. whereas the leading minister discovered that Britain's difficulties have been international in scope, he proposal Britain may resolve every one challenge on a bilateral foundation. In different phrases, Britain may still method Germany, Japan, and Italy on to settle notable disputes. Vansittart didn't think, even if, that Britain's difficulties should be solved on a bilateral foundation, for the interdependence of occasions in each quarter of the globe militated opposed to bilateral solutions.

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Extra resources for Alternative to Appeasement: Sir Robert Vansittart and Alliance Diplomacy, 1934-1937

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54 Although Vansittart became increasingly absorbed in his crusade to procure greater British air rearmament he had not neglected the other two services. He emerged, in fact, as one of the most stalwart supporters of a continental commitment to Europe in the form of a British Expeditionary Force (BEF). His promotion of the idea of outfitting the British army in order that it might fight alongside French forces in a European war led to clashes with several politicians, including Chamberlain, and probably played a part in his eventual removal from the post of permanent undersecretary in 1937 (see chapter 6).

5. 18. Lord Vansittart, "The Decline of Diplomacy," Foreign Affairs 28 (1950): 187. 19. , 187. Rethinking Vansittart 21 20. Vansittart, Lessons of My Life, 31. 21. This is the overall theme of the memorandum, often cited by historians, that he circulated to the Cabinet in April 1934. Vansittart memorandum "The Future of Germany," 9 April 1934, C(abinet) P(aper) 104(34), CAB(inet Archives, Public Record Office, Kew) 16/111. In later years, this memorandum became somewhat famous within the Foreign Office.

On the "Vansittartism" controversy, see Aaron L. Goldman, "Germans and Nazis. The Controversy over 'Vansittartism' in Britain during the Second World War," Journal of Contemporary History 14 (1979): 155-91; and Gregory Walter Kamieniecki "Vansittart and the German Menace 1939-1945" (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, 1987), chaps. 3 and 4. 9. For Vansittart's detailed views on postwar Germany, see discussion held at Chatham House on 20 March 1945 reprinted as Lord Vansittart, "The Problem of Germany," International Affairs 21 (1945): 313-24.

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