Remilitarization of the rhineland essay writing
At the same time, in late 1935-early 1936 France was gripped by afinancial crisis, with the French Treasury informing the governmentthat sufficient cash reserves to maintain the value of the franc ascurrently pegged by the gold standard in regard to the U.S. dollar andthe British pound no longer existed, and only a huge foreign loan onthe money markets of London and New York could prevent the value ofthe franc from experiencing a disastrous downfall. Because France wason the verge of elections scheduled for the spring of 1936,devaluation of the franc, which was viewed as abhorrent by largesections of French public opinion, was rejected by the caretakergovernment of Premier as politically unacceptable. Investor fears of a war with were not conducive to raising thenecessary loans to stabilize the franc: the German remilitarization ofthe Rhineland, by sparking fears of war, worsened the French economiccrisis by causing a massive cash flow out of France as worriedinvestors shifted their savings towards what were felt to be saferforeign markets. The fact that France had defaulted on its World WarI debts in 1932 understandably led most investors to conclude ifFrance should be involved in another war with Germany, the Frenchwould default again on their debts. On March 18, 1936 WilfridBaumgartner, the director of the Mouvement général des fonds (theFrench equivalent of a permanent under-secretary) reported to thegovernment that France for all intents and purposes was bankrupt. Only by desperate arm-twisting from the major French financialinstitutions did Baumgartner manage to obtain enough in the way ofshort-term loans to prevent France from defaulting on her debts andkeeping the value of the franc from sliding too far, in March 1936. Given the financial crisis, the French government feared that therewere insufficient funds to cover the costs of mobilization, and that afull-blown war scare caused by mobilization would only exacerbate thefinancial crisis. The American historian Zach Shore wrote that: "Itwas not lack of French will to fight in 1936 which permitted Hitler'scoup, but rather France's lack of funds, military might, and thereforeoperational plans to counter German remilitarization."
Hitler S Remilitarization Of The Rhineland Essay …
During his visit to London to consult with the British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary , Flandin carriedout what the Canadian historian called "theperformance of a lifetime", in which he expressed a great deal ofoutrage at the German move, stated quite openly that France wasprepared to go to war over the issue, and strongly criticized hisBritish hosts for the demands for French "restraint" while notoffering to do anything for French sécurité (security). As expectedby Flandin, Eden was opposed to the French taking military action, andappealed for French "restraint". Not aware of what Flandin wasattempting to do, French military officials urged the government totell Flandin to tone down his language. In the face of Flandin'stactics, on March 19, 1936 the British government made a vaguestatement linking British security to French security, and for thefirst time since agreed to Anglo-French staff talks,albeit of very limited scope. Though disappointed with the Britishoffers, which the French felt were too little, the French nonethelessconsidered the pledges of British support gained in 1936 to be aworthwhile achievement, especially given that for economic reasonsmobilization was not considered a realistic option in 1936. ThoseFrench officials such as Quai d'Orsay's directeur politique (PoliticalDirector) who believed in the idea of an Anglo-Frenchalliance as the best way of stopping German expansionism expressed agreat deal of disappointment that Britain was not prepared to do morefor French sécurité. In a report to Flandin, Massigli warned thatif French accepted remilitarization, then the Poles, the Yugoslavs andthe Romanians would drift into the German orbit while Czechoslovakiawould do its best to stay loyal to its 1924 alliance with France, andit would only be a matter of time before annexed Austria. Inparticular, Massigli warned if the Germans were able to fortify theRhineland, that would essentially mean giving the Reich a free hand toexpand into Eastern Europe. As part of an effort to secure more inthe way of the long-desired "continental commitment" that had been amajor goal of French foreign policy since 1919, Gamelin told theBritish military attaché that:
The British historian wrote for Laval: "...all thatreally mattered was Nazi Germany. His eyes were on the demilitarisedzone of the Rhineland; his thoughts on the Locarno guarantees. Toestrange Italy, one of the Locarno powers, over such a question asAbyssinia did not appeal to Laval's Auvergnat peasant mind". WithParis and London openly at loggerheads over the correct response toItalian invasion of Ethiopia, to say nothing of the very public riftbetween Rome and London, an opening was seen in forremilitarization of the Rhineland. The Anglo-Italian dispute placedthe French in an uncomfortable position. On one hand, Britain'srepeated refusal to make the "continental commitment" increased thevalue to the French of as the only other nation in WesternEurope capable of fielding a large army against Germany. But on theother hand, the British economy was far larger than the Italianeconomy, which thus meant from the long-term French perspective,Britain was a much better ally as Britain had vastly more economicstaying power than for what was assumed would be another guerrede la longue durée ("war of the long duration", i.e. a long waragainst Germany). The American historian Zach Shore wrote that:"...French leaders found themselves in the awkward position of seekingthe military co-operation of two incompatible allies. Since andBritain had clashing interests in the Mediterranean, France could notally with one without alienating the other". To avoid a total rupturewith Britain, France did not use its veto power as a member of theLeague Council, and instead voted for the sanctions. But Laval did usethe threat of a French veto to water down the sanctions, and to havesuch items such as oil and coal, which might have crippled Italy,removed from the sanctions list. Nonetheless, Mussolini felt betrayedby his French friends, and next to Britain, France was the nation thathe was most angry with for the sanctions. Despite all of Mussolini'soutrage about the sanctions, they were largely ineffective. The UnitedStates and Germany-both of which were not members of the League-chosenot to abide by the sanctions, and as result, American and Germanbusinesses supplied with all of the goods that League had placedon the sanctions list, making the sanctions more of an annoyance thana problem for the Italians.