By Richard Davis (auth.)
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Additional info for Anglo-French Relations Before the Second World War: Appeasement and Crisis
Defence of the League It was unthinkable that for Italy's sake [France] should destroy at one stroke the whole structure upon which the peace of Europe was based. LeÂger, 23 May 1935 (DBFP, 2, x i v , no. 290) If the Government edged out of collective action . . a great wave of public opinion would sweep the Government out of power. Hoare Papers, 21 August 1935 The background influences on British and French policies did not, however, work exclusively in favour of appeasing Italy and, if not betraying, at least side-lining the League.
Indeed, in many ways it was these that gave the Ethiopian crisis its enormous importance in the minds of British and French leaders. Both faced pressures that bound them to a line that would, at least superficially, support the League. For either to appear openly in the guise of League destroyer would have been immensely damaging. If there was little support for the League in official circles in London, broad sections of the British people (including many MPs), were largely sympathetic, something that the Peace Ballot, for all its flaws, clearly revealed.
All available sources, therefore, indicated that the Italians were moving inexorably towards war. As the British Ambassador in Addis Ababa reported, `Quite definitely you can expect war in October. . 2 The clearly visible Italian military and diplomatic preparations for war, and the early recognition of Italian intent, produced a long-drawn-out crisis in which Britain and France had many months to consider their responses. What emerged was not, therefore, the forced and rushed reply to some fait accompli but the considered and deliberate product of a long and extensive debate.
Anglo-French Relations Before the Second World War: Appeasement and Crisis by Richard Davis (auth.)