Leeds History First

‘The tale of woes into which we wobbled’: the British Foreign Office and threat of Nazi Germany, 1934-39

The appeasement years are known for the attempts of successive British governments in the 1930s to satisfy the insatiable appetite of Nazi Germany through concessions. However, far less documented but equally important were the alternative strategies proffered by the British Foreign Office for dealing with the revisionism and expansionism of Adolf Hitler. The positions taken by permanent civil servants cut multiple cleavages across Whitehall which divided the British establishment and tainted Britain’s resolve. The so-called ‘Vansittartites’ occupy a niche crevice in the broad historiography of the origins of the Second World War. In later years Sir Robert Vansittart projected the image of Cassandra – the prophet of Troy who was constantly ignored – onto his role in the 1930s whilst other historians see Foreign Office individuals as merely the men who cried wolf. This dissertation strives to document the alternative strategies for maintaining the European status quo as well as how and why Foreign Office individuals were shunned by their political masters.

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This entry was posted in 1920-1949, 20th Century, England, Germany, HIST3800, Political History, Undergraduate dissertation and tagged , , , , .

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