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What were the main factors affecting British foreign policy in the 1920s?

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Introduction

What were the main factors affecting British foreign policy in the 1920s? There are many factors affecting British foreign policy in the 1920s. But there are clearly some that contributed more than others; the majority of the British people were very against war and thought 'Germany should pay' but in the early 1920s opinions changed. Britain's empire faced many problems that it had to deal with, its economy suffered greatly from the first world war and the severe lack of support from allied countries all were significant factors that affected British foreign policy. British public opinion changed from 1918 o early 1920s. After the war the election was won by Lloyd George by campaigning 'make Germany pay.' This was understandable as many people were distraught by the numbers of deaths and wounded in the war (722,000 people died and 1, 676, 00 were wounded.) But by 1920 the British became sympathetic towards Germany. ...read more.

Middle

Britain furthermore had huge debts to pay to USA in which the interest rates were accounting for about 40% of the government expenditure. On top of this Britain was owed huge amounts of repayments from France. Its industrial capacity suffered majorly due to the damage of the war this meant that they couldn't afford new equipment or technology. So they fell behind when rearmament begun in the 1930's. Britain lost trade with Japan and India because during the war they were unable to supply there export markets. This meant they lacked imports such a materials etc. Just as Britain's economy was recovering, the Wall Street crash in 1929 managed to put them back to square one. All this contributed to the fact that the government wanted to concentrate spending it money on the more domestic and social side of the economy instead of rearming. This affected the foreign policy because Britain was strong enough in itself to be able to sort out European affairs by its self. ...read more.

Conclusion

They both contradicted each other but Britain needed them equally on its side. All these aspects contributed in affecting British foreign policy in the 1920's and the consequence of it all was appeasement. Appeasement seemed a good idea at the time as it prevented war until 1939. It also meant that Britain was able to avoid involvement in conflicts that the government saw that they couldn't win. The British public influence foreign policy as the government couldn't afford to upset them and be voted out. The economic situation meant that even if Britain did want to do something about all the disagreements and rearm it was virtually impossible without destroying Britain itself. The weakness of the league made it hard to come to agreements and enforce decisions. The lack of allies made it hard for Britain to act on its desires in fear of upsetting the USA or France. The British Empire added to Britain's problems and meant that it had to spread out the army and navy that it had. ...read more.

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