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Britain's Actions Between World War I And World War Ii

1590 words - 7 pages

Britain's Actions Between World War I and World War II

After the First World War Britain was left considerably weaker than it
was before; its economy was weakened, it had to pay back war debts and
a large number of its working male population had either been killed
or seriously injured. The same applied to France however; it was even
worse for them because most of the fighting had taken place in France
which meant that there was a vast amount of damage to buildings, and
industry. Germany’s situation was that many men had died; reducing the
workforce, and because of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles they
were economically and financially weak as well. ...view middle of the document...

I feel that the economy not being strong enough
for Britain to uphold a continental commitment is one reason that
makes it impossible for Britain to make a continental commitment. This
is because before the First World War Germany was one of Britain’s
main trading partners, so after the war obviously Britain was no
longer trading with Germany. This affected negatively affected Britain’s
economy, and meant that Britain was not making as much money through
trade as it was before, and needed to get new trading partners instead
of undertaking expensive continental commitments. This reason is
therefore linked to several of the others because Britain did not have
the money to go to another war or commit one hundred per cent to the
League of Nations, and what money it did have was being spent on many
things such as the empire, trying to attract the votes of women and on
war pensions.

Fear of being dragged into another irrelevant war was strong because
the British felt that they had been dragged into the First World War
over an obscure quarrel in the Balkans because of the alliance system.
This cost them a lot of lives, money and economic strength, so they
did not want to see this happen again. Particularly seeing as what was
left of the British army was spread thinly all over the world, which
was mainly sue to the empire, but also because of the terms of the
Treaty of Versailles.

Another domestic reason why Britain would not make a continental
commitment is that social commitments were more important. The failure
of national will meant that the public were unwilling to make specific
commitments to ensure the peace of Europe after the sacrifices that
they made after the First World War. Also, after the war Britain was
left with national debts which she had to pay, she had to spend money
on the empire and pensions for example. This meant that she did not
have the money to spend on an army that would be required if she made
a commitment with, for example, France. Overall social spending
required forty per cent of government spending by 1930, of which
thirty per cent was servicing the national debt. It is clear therefore
that what money Britain did have was needed to be spent in Britain on
in her empire. However this does not mean that it was impossible for
Britain to make a continental commitment because of social reasons,
she could have entered a commitment without any intentions of
upholding the commitment if war was inevitable.

People believe that it would have been political suicide for any
government to have made a continental commitment for Britain at that
time. Partially because of the fear factor; as I described above
people were scared of being dragged into another irrelevant war after
the suffering caused by the last war. The dislikes of the Treaty of
Versailles because...

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