The British Foreign Office's perceptions of Nazi-Germany 1935-1937


Hamm, Cynthia J., (Cynthia Jane)




Between 1935 and 1937, the British Foreign Office offered substantial resistance to the governmental policy of appeasing Nazi-Germany. Official correspondence reveals that several staff members viewed German leaders, social attitudes, armaments and political goals with apprehension. Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Robert Vansittart, Assistant Under-Secretary Orme Sargent, Central Department Head Ralph Wigram, and News Department Head Reginald Leeper spearheaded the Office's campaign against appeasement. In numerous letters, telegrams and memorandums, they advocated the introduction of full-scale rearmament, and the formation of closer ties with France, Italy and the Soviet Union, to combat the German menace.

Although frequently repeated and widely circulated, the anti-appeasers' advice was seldom followed. The British Government steadily courted German favour with friendly overtures and concessions, while neglecting national defences and potential allies. A combination of departmental shortcomings and external obstacles thwarted the Office's struggle against appeasement. During the inter-war years, the British Foreign Office suffered a major erosion of influence. Defects in leadership also hampered the anti-appeasers' activities. The Office proved incapable of overcoming the powerful forces of pacifism, national guilt, international rivalry, and financial constraint, which propelled Britain towards a policy of appeasement.


Great Britain -- Foreign relations -- 1936-1945
Great Britain -- Foreign relations -- Germany
Germany -- Foreign relations -- Great Britain




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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