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The Age of Appeasement: The Evolution of British Foreign Policy in the 1930'S (Modern British history) Hardcover – 20 Oct 1999


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Simply fascinating 14 Oct 2000
By Eric Vertommen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
1931: Wall Street collapsed 2 years ago and the World is experiencing the Great Depression. United States, World's largest economy is in limbo. Italy is fascist since the 20s. France, soon to experience serious social instability, remains suspicious about Germany. Most Eastern European countries born in the aftermath of Versailles to contain Germany have become or are becoming dictatorships, except Czechoslovakia. In an attempt to secure Empire's loyalty and preserve British trade, the Ottawa Imperial conference transforms the British Empire into a Commonwealth of Nations and abandons the century old policy of free-trade to replace it by Imperial Tariffs preference. India, the backbone of the Empire is agitated by Hindu and Muslim protest. In the Middle East, Jewish terrorists destabilise British mandate on Palestine. Muslims in Iraq and Egypt would like to end British presence in the region. Komintern, the Communist International, for which the Great Depression is the confirmation that a capitalist economy cannot work, exploits Western weaknesses to promote a global proletarian revolution. Against all rules approved in 1919, Japan invades Manchuria, a wealthy Chinese province. British Treasury is still affected by WW I staggering costs and British Navy cannot afford to wage war nor allow Japan to take advantage in China. British-Chinese trade is vital and Shanghai alone is the single largest piece of foreign investment in the World.
In this context described by authors like Paul Kennedy, reading The Age of Appeasement is simply fascinating. British foreign policies of the 1930s unfolds through the messages, opinions and decisions of the British lawmakers, their relations with the Foreign Office officials and their non-British counterparts. The author masterfully brushes the qualities, ignorance, weakness and prejudice showing how it affected the outcome of each decision during the crisis in the Far East, Eastern Africa and Europe and how this all lead to WW II. A book especially relevant for Americans who experience the same kind of global situation today.
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