The Versailles Peace Settlement and its Failure to Secure British Foreign Policy Interests
1) British Foreign Policy interests at the time
Peace - Britain had everything to lose and nothing to gain from a war.
Balance of Power – Best insurance against renewal of war.
Global interests rather than just continental. Preservation of empire
Preservation of navy – had best navy fleet.
Remain on good terms with USA – expenses.
Britain needed to be defended – Security of UK
- Protection of trade routes
- Defence of the empire
- Co-operate in defence of British allies.
2) The main aims of the Versailles settlement
Make it so that Germany could not gain power (military or other) and
Reparations to be paid
Army and navy cut (100,000 men)
Acceptance of war guilt
Union of Austria and Germany banned
Demilitarisation of Rhineland and occupation of Ruhr
3) What British Government thought about the Treaty.
Unfair to Germany – Peace should be restored
4) How it did secure British foreign policy.
Meant that Germany could not expand – No threat to Britain
With reparations to pay Britain could get some money to rebuild bigger
German Navy belittled, meant Britain had no threat of being challenged
If Britain agreed with USA this wouldn’t lead to conflict.
5) How it didn’t (failed to) secure British Foreign policy
Did not enforce restrictions on armaments
Very little was paid in terms of reparations
There are reasons for why the Versailles Peace Settlement both did and
did not in some respects secure British Foreign Policy at the time it
was announced and the years following. Main foreign policy for the
British government revolved around European Peace, global as well as
continental (like most of its policies) so that Britain could protect
the empire that she had previously built up. After its loss of life in
world war one, although a victor, Britain did not have the resources
or expenses to enter into another war, therefore it had everything it
had left to lose and very little, possible nothing to gain. Staying
out of any major conflict was also a good idea for Britain, especially
with the USA because Britain did not have the finances to support a
conflict. The best way to stop the renewal of war was to keep a
balance of power; this is a realist theory in international relations.
In parliamentary politics, a balance of power refers to the position
held by one party, or a coalition, whose support of a minority
parliament, can give a major party enough votes to be able to form a
stable government. This can be achieved either by the formation of a
coalition government, or by voting with the party in power to prevent
its defeat. Britain also needed to be defended both internally and