Great Britain

Cabinet Decisions on Foreign Policy: The British Experience, by Christopher Hill

By Christopher Hill

During this publication, Dr. Christopher Hill breaks new flooring through featuring a close case examine of the British executive and international coverage. he is taking the dramatic interval from the Munich convention of 1938 to the German invasion of the Soviet Union 3 years later and analyzes the styles of argument and impression in the British cupboard. by utilizing wide archival fabric, he examines how some distance the powerful personalities of Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill have been capable of dominate their cupboards in a space the place leading ministers have generally been presupposed to workout huge freedom.

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Extra resources for Cabinet Decisions on Foreign Policy: The British Experience, October 1938-June 1941

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Where on 18 March the discussion had centred on ensuring future co-operation between France, Britain and the majority of eastern European states - which several ministers hoped would develop into a net of firm alliances or guarantees - on 20 March Halifax presented a draft declaration which was to apply to only two countries east of Berlin (and to none 28 Cabinet decisions on foreign policy in the Balkan peninsula), and which deliberately eschewed formal engagements. It is perhaps a measure of both the built-in expectations of ministers about the role of the Prime Minister in such situations and their objective difficulties in forming clear collective opinions during this crisis, that the Cabinet hardly demurred at the switch in policy for which its executive now asked approval.

The aim is to relate the decisions under scrutiny to the outside forces of press, public opinion and Parliament at home, and allies, neutrals and antagonists abroad, but without losing sight of the central thrust of the investigation. The principle of parsimony does not mean that primary sources are neglected. The study makes full use of the Cabinet records, and 16 Cabinet decisions on foreign policy indeed would be infeasible without them. As indicated above, other classes of official documents, such as Foreign Office minutes and correspondence, material from the wartime Ministry of Information and the minutes and papers of the Chiefs of Staff meetings, have been used selectively but still extensively.

Were as usual pretty barren of suggestions', he proposed a declaration of interest in opposing aggression by Britain, France, Poland and Russia alone. 34 This was quickly agreed and drafted. 38 The formula 'left it open what would constitute a "threat" and what steps we should take in the events of a "threat"', since the main purpose of the new four-power declaration was simply to act as an earnest of Britain's determination to stop Germany if the latter continued to show signs 'that she intended to proceed with her march for world domination'.

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