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"A study of British foreign policy in the 1920's suggests that British governments increasingly accepted the need for the treaty of Versailles to be amended in Germany's favour"How far do you agree?

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Introduction

"A study of British foreign policy in the 1920's suggests that British governments increasingly accepted the need for the treaty of Versailles to be amended in Germany's favour" How far do you agree? To answer this question I need to review the terms of the treaty of Versailles and Britain's view on it. I will need to look at issues such as reparations, and how elements such as the Dawes plan of 1924, the Young plan of 1929 and Germany's ability to pay the given amounts of reparations, addresses in many summit conferences, affected Britain's outlook on the treaty. The First World War had a great effect on Britain and Germany, how the treaty was enforced in Germany and public opinion in both countries in the 1920's. I think the main reason Britain wanted to amend the terms of the treaty of Versailles was because they wanted to see an economically strong Germany again, as they were once strong trading partners, and so this would have been to the advantage of British economy also As a whole Britain seemed to have gained what she wanted from the treaty. German naval power had been destroyed and this had been one of Britain's main concerns. The British believed that the treaty was firm but just at first, though this was not the prevailing view in Germany. ...read more.

Middle

Like Wilson, Lloyd George thought that Germany should pay what she could afford, Germany was always a strong trading partner with Britain and so he didn't want to see the country completely economically disabled. Overall the reparations issue was a major cause of division between the Big 3 (USA, Britain and France). In the end astronomical reparation figures were being suggested and so Lloyd Gorge suggested that a reparation commission should be set up, to determine the amount that should e paid. In 1921 this commission finally recommended a sum of �6.6 million. Altogether from the treaty, Britain wanted, to regain its naval supremacy in Europe, expand its empire, block the spread of communism from Russia to Germany etc, decide on a reparations amount and hoped for peace and reconciliation between the powers. Also under the treaty of Versailles, a League of Nations was set up, to include all the major powers, although Germany and Russia were not allowed to enter. In the 1920's foreign relations were dominated by reparation and security. Britain was particularly worried about the fact that Germany was denied self-determination and the amount f reparations they had to pay. 23 conferences were held during 1920-1922, where British representatives argued with the French to relax some provisions of the treaty. This shows a main area where Britain did actually try to amend the treaty in German favour. ...read more.

Conclusion

The pact improved the international atmosphere of the late 1920's.Britain and Italy acted as guarantors, ensuring that all parties kept to the agreements. Although Stresemann was a hard-headed German nationalist and determined to dismantle the Versailles settlement, he saw the advantage of collaboration with the western powers and was prepared to work with Chamberlain and Braid through the League of Nations. Also in 1928 all the major powers signed the Kellog-Braid pact, outlawing war. In 1929 the Young Plan extended the period of reparations payments by 60 years, thus further easing the burden on Germany. Britain and France agreed to end their occupation of the Rhineland five years early, in 1930. In conclusion I find that I do agree with the previous statement as there is a lot of evidence that points to Britain developing their policy of appeasement through the 1920's and trying to mend the treaty in Germany's favour, including the Dawes plan, which made the first links between the amount of reparations Germany had to pay and their actual ability to pay, the Locarno treaty, which improved Franco-German relations by agreeing that the Rhineand should be demilitarised and guaranteed German frontiers in the West, and the Young plan, that helped Germany by reducing their reparation payments and also evacuated allied troops from the Rhineland, etc. most importantly it would be Britain's best interests to re-evaluate the treaty as they needed Germany to become economically strong again so that they could go back to being strong trading partners. ?? ?? ?? ?? Laura Rea 1 ...read more.

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