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Download Britain and the Ruhr Crisis by Elspeth Y. O’Riordan (auth.) PDF

By Elspeth Y. O’Riordan (auth.)

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Its benevolence has consisted in the fact that while unable to associate themselves with the measures which have been taken by France and Belgium, His Majesty’s Government have endeavoured at every stage to make matters as little difficult as possible for their Allies, and to interpose no obstacle to the successful prosecution of their undertaking. 2 While the British were attempting to maintain this distance from the European situation, the French and Germans were finding themselves drawn into a dangerous confrontation.

For the most part, the only approach which politicians and officials advocated was one of procrastination – first to delay the Brussels Conference indefinitely, and then to try to forestall it by holding the preliminary London meeting. When this simply confirmed the deadlock, the British tried halfheartedly to involve the United States, and then at the last minute hastily adopted a Treasury plan for reparation settlement, tabling it at Paris with disastrous consequences. However, before criticising Britain, the difficulties facing her policymakers must be remembered.

Niemeyer asked for the view of the Foreign Office on this suggestion when he outlined the plan to them on 20 December. 51 This, then, was the real crux of the problem – that the government did not sanction any real change of direction of policy which could have made a true accommodation with France possible. At no point did the Cabinet consider the basic issue of French security or seriously The Bonar Law Cabinet and the Origins of the Ruhr Crisis 27 contemplate the effects of a policy of either breaking from France or joining with her.

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