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Great Britain and the Ruhr occupation Arendt, Clayton Hondo 1992

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GREAT BRITAIN AND THE RUHR OCCUPATIONbyCLAYTON HONDO ARENDTB. A. , The University of British Columbia, 1989A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(History)We accept this thesis as conformingTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAApril 1992© C. Hondo ArendtIn presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department of HistoryThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate  April 27/92 DE-6 (2/88)AbstractFrance and Belgium occupied the Ruhr Valley in Germany inJanuary 1923. Germany responded with passive resistance. For thefollowing nine months these three countries remained locked in apowerful struggle of wills.Britain was not directly involved in the conflict but she wascertainly affected by it. Britain believed that the occupation woulddestroy Germany's ability to pay reparations. However, Britaindecided to pursue a policy of neutrality; she did not oppose theoccupation, nor did she support it.Historians have tried to determine why Britain chose the policy ofneutrality. If Britain believed that the occupation was unwise, whydidn't she try to end the Ruhr struggle? Most historians concludedthat Britain did not actively oppose France for one of three reasons.Some believe Britain could not act because of the clear strategicadvantages which France held. Others believe that Britain did try tooppose France but that her efforts ultimately failed. These first twogroups of historians have accepted the central idea that Britainwanted to oppose France. However, a third group of historiansrejects this thesis, claiming instead that Britain did not oppose Francebecause she had no desire to do so.This paper attempts to discover general British attitudes towardthe Ruhr occupation. It tries to determine whether the Britishwanted to oppose France in 1923. A variety of materials were usediito try to discover what attitudes and beliefs determined Britishforeign policy during the Ruhr occupation. The main source used wasthe British press. This paper makes use of a number of Britishnewspapers from that period. A variety of first hand accounts,general histories, and government documents were also used.Together these sources provided a clear picture of general Britishopinions of the occupation.This paper demonstrates that Britain could not contemplateopposing France in 1923. The popular attitudes and beliefs of thetime precluded any such action. Britain remained neutral not onlybecause France was in a better strategic position than she, but alsobecause she did not want to oppose the occupation. The evidencewhich has previously been used by historians to demonstrate pro-German sympathies has been entirely misinterpreted. There isnothing in British statements, actions, or beliefs which would suggestthat Britain had any desire to oppose France actively in 1923.iiiTable of ContentsAbstract^ ii1. Introduction 1a. Background^ 1b. Thesis Statement and Contrasting Viewpoints^5c. Sources and Justification^ 92. Interpretations of Britain's Response to the Occupation^ 14a. Reflections of Britain's Opinion 15b. Opposition to the Government^ 17c. Britain: Interactions in Western Europe^213. Attitudes and Opinions^ 28a. British Loyalties 28b. Desire for Reparations 36c. Fear of Isolation 37d. Support for Neutrality^ 38e. Persistence of British Attitudes^ 414. The Situation in Britain and Abroad 44a. The British Government^ 44b. The Strategic Situation 50c. The British Economy 535. The Closing Stages^ 56a. Summer 56b. Conclusions 60Footnotes^ 63Bibliography 72a. Documents^ 72b. Newspapers 72c. Autobiographies and Personal Papers^73d. Other Works^ 73ivChapter 1: IntroductionA. BackgroundDuring the first nine months of 1923 the French, Belgians, andGermans were locked in a profound struggle of wills. At the start ofthe year, the Ruhr Valley was occupied by French and Belgian troops.The reason given for this invasion was that Germany was resistingpaying reparations established by the London Agreement of May1921. The original plan was to send a contingent of engineers and asmall force of troops for protection to help reorganize theadministration in this important industrial district and to ensureprompt delivery of reparations. The response in Germany, aspredicted by both the British Government and the British press, waspassive resistance. The Germans refused to cooperate, which broughtthe industry in the Ruhr Valley and in much of the Rhineland to astandstill. The Belgians and French responded by steadily increasingthe pressures. Troops poured into the region as curfews, arrests, andexpulsions became the order of the day. Furthermore, anyunusually significant act of resistance was generally followed by anincrease in the amount of territory occupied. By late Spring, thewhole Ruhr was cut off from the rest of Germany by a customsbarrier.1During this struggle, much attention was focused on Great Britainas the world wondered what her response would be. Britain hadmade it quite clear during the London Conference of December 1922,and again at the Paris Conference of 2-4 January 1923, that shewould not support the proposed Franco-Belgian operation. TheBritish Government had also made it quite clear that it would notoppose the occupation, were it to occur, but would instead choose apolicy of "benevolent neutrality."As the year progressed and as the situation in the Ruhr steadilyworsened, people in all the nations concerned continued to monitorBritish feelings. The United Kingdom appeared to be in a paradoxicalsituation. She disagreed with the avowed French policy, yet at thesame time, Britain was determined not to oppose the occupation.Germany expected that the British would intervene and would usetheir influence to support the German cause. In France some of thepopulation feared this possibility, while others waited with barelycontrolled patience for the British to see the wisdom of the Frenchpolicy.As it turned out Britain managed to remain mostly aloof from theimbroglio in the Ruhr. For the first two months of the struggle theBritish Government maintained its silence on the issue and wassatisfied simply to observe how events would unfold. By March,certain pressures increased on Britain to change its position. Thedebates in parliament began to focus more and more on the Ruhrstruggle. The Labour Party in particular wanted the Government totake some action. At the same time, the German Government wasagitating for British support. Two different delegations were sent to2lobby for possible aid, and the German ambassador Sthamer becamevery active. 1 On 20 April Lord Curzon gave a speech in the House ofLords inviting Germany to make a reparations proposition whichwould include a statement of her "willingness and intention to pay,and to have the amount fixed by authorities properly charged withthe duty." 2 On 2 May the Germans sent a note to the Allies making atentative reparations offer. This note proved greatly disappointing.The French and Belgians responded immediately, attacking the noteas wholly unproductive. The British and Italians responded shortlythereafter, also expressing their unhappiness with the German offer.On 7 June the Germans sent a second, much more satisfying note tothe Allies. This initiated two months of Allied efforts to agree on aresponse to this offer. Britain and Belgium especially wanted to senda joint Allied reply to Germany. On 13 June Britain asked France toclarify its position by defining a "cessation of passive resistance," andto explain the change contemplated in the administration of theoccupied areas should resistance end. It wasn't until 6 July thatFrance responded, dating the reply 14 June. The delay wasexplained by the forced resignation of the Belgian cabinet in lateJune, due entirely to an internal issue regarding "the Flamandisationof the French University of Ghent," and the difficulties of itssubsequent reformation. 3On 12 July Stanley Baldwin (who had taken over as PrimeMinister from Bonar Law in May) and Lord Curzon gave speechesaffirming British sympathy with France but attacking the ill effectsof the Ruhr occupation. Eight days later the British Governmentissued a note which contained a proposed joint reply to Germany.3This was cooly received in both France and Belgium. Several moreweeks of secret diplomacy resulted in no further progress. On 11August, Lord Curzon denounced the occupation as illegal, politelyattacking the French and Belgian positions. Meanwhile, in Germanythe Cuno government had lost the confidence of the Reichstag andwas replaced by Stresemann's "Great Coalition."The last few weeks of August featured high level bickeringbetween France and Britain without concrete results. This air ofseeming animosity dissipated in September as the world's attentionwas drawn to other events, such as the dispute between Italy andGreece and the earthquake in Japan. On 19 September Baldwin andPoincare met for the first time. They conferred for several hours andreleased a press statement which included the famous remark thatBaldwin and Poincare "were happy to discover that on no question isthere any difference of purpose or divergence of principle whichmight impair the co-operation of the two countries."4 A week laterpassive resistance was abandoned and the struggle took on a wholenew direction.This mixture of expectations, results, and the seeming paradox ofthe British situation has led to a wide variety of interpretations ofBritish actions during 1923, both by contemporaries and byhistorians.4B. Thesis Statement and Contrasting ViewpointsIn the first nine months of 1923 there was no hope of the UnitedKingdom intervening in the Ruhr dispute on behalf of Germany inany significant way. Germany's hope of intervention was based onentirely false assumptions. Not only was Great Britain unable to helpGermany, but she was also unwilling. While there were obviously avariety of different viewpoints exhibited in Britain, the mass ofopinion combined with the situation at hand would not have allowedany dramatic intervention in Germany's favour by Britain. In thelast three months of 1923 conditions within both Britain andGermany as well as on the international stage changed enough tocreate an entirely new situation. However, it is impossible to believethat Britain could have made any noticeable contribution to theGerman cause before those changes.Historians hold a variety of views regarding Britain and the Ruhroccupation. Many historians believe that the Britain wanted to helpGermany during the Ruhr occupation. The problem that thesehistorians face is explaining why Britain chose a policy of"benevolent neutrality" during 1923. Some historians argue thatBritain did not oppose France because she could not. They believethat France held the upper hand in the struggle and that there wasnothing Britain could do.^Others give no answer to this question yetremain firm in their belief that Britain's sympathies lay withGermany. Still other historians believe that Britain really did try to5take the side of Germany in this dispute but that her effortsultimately failed.Gordon Craig and Erich Eyck claim that Britain desired to helpGermany but simply couldn't due to the larger strategic situation.Eyck believes that, "England had maneuvered herself into a positionwhere she could do much to sharpen the quarrel but nothing to settleor shorten it."5 Likewise, Craig argues that Britain was helpless "torestrain Poincare, because they were dependent upon French co-operation to protect their middle Eastern interests in the difficultnegotiations that were currently taking place at Lausanne."6 Manyhistorians conclude that Britain wanted to help Germany or opposeFrance but was in some way unable to do so.Not all historians make clear why they believe Britain failed toact in the first nine months of 1923. However, they still subscribe tothe view that Britain had a significant degree of hostility for France.Anne Orde believes that, despite the fact that Britain remained calmin the Spring of 1923, by August she was "deploring" French actions.7Martin Gilbert, while trying to find the long term causes of Britain'slater appeasement policy, states that during the Ruhr occupation"British public opinion began to move firmly against France."8 This"irritation with France" led to increasing "sympathy with Germany."9Paul Hayes claims that Britain grew distinctly anti-French at thistime. He states that "hostility to France was scarcely less vehementin Britain" than in Germany.1 0 Although these historians do notalways explain why Britain declined to act on this supposed angerwith the Ruhr occupation, they agree that Britain was fundamentally6opposed to it, and that she truly desired to side with Germany at thistime.Other historians also believe that Britain not only wanted to helpGermany but that despite Britain's difficult situation she madesignificant attempts to do so. John Hiden states that Britain did makethe effort but that it "was not enough to stop Poincare from testinghis thesis that Germany could pay but would not." 1 HermannRupieper recognizes that "the French knew perfectly well that therewas no British force which could prevent their doing what theypleased in Germany," but devotes much of his book, The CunoGovernment and Reparations 1922-1923, to describing the effortsthat Britain did make in attempting to help Germany.1 2The common theme amongst these historians is the opinion thatBritain desired to help Germany. They believe not that it was just afew well placed people in the government or certain sections of thepopulation who felt that Germany needed and deserved British help,but rather that this feeling was widespread. These historians usuallystate that the lack of British action during 1923 was due to thedifficult situation which Britain was in and not due to lack of desire.Some, such as Rupieper, have even argued that Britain wasdynamically active and that her apparent neutrality was simply aresult of failing to achieve success.13This idea is by no means limited to historians. Many peoplesubscribed to the same view at the time of the Ruhr occupation. Thebelief that Britain was Germany's best hope was a particularlypopular view within Germany itself. The German press, as well asmany of the members of the Reichstag, believed that Britain was7sympathetic to the German cause, and desired to help. The Times reported on 4 August 1923 that there was a "legend, strangelyprevalent [in Berlin], that Britain had made it her business to protectGerman interests against France."14 This "legend" primarilyoriginated with the German Government. Professor Quessel lamentedin the Sozialistische Monatshefte  that "one of the illusions which theCuno Government raised was hope of England's intervention."15 Theresult was that Germany spent much of its time looking to Britain forpotential help. One can see why the French, in their response to theBritish note of 20 July, made the blunt statement that they were"convinced that if Germany had not been able to count upon adivision between the Allies she would have rapidly given way."16Such then has been the response of many historians andcontemporaries to the situation which faced the United Kingdom in1923. Unfortunately the belief that Britain wanted to assist Germanyis a false interpretation of British attitudes during the Ruhr struggle.The British did not help Germany because of the situation withinBritain.^The British people continued to feel sympathy for Franceand animosity for Germany. This, combined with various otherinternal forces, meant that Britain could choose no policy exceptneutrality in 1923. Some historians have recognized this fact. AlfredE. Cornebise states that "British public opinion would not at that timecountenance any act which might endanger the Entente."17 Likewise,W. N. Medlicott recognized that Britain had no desire to break withFrance, despite the Ruhr occupation.18 A pro-French, anti-German8attitude alongside a dislike for French policy, translated into a Britishpolicy of neutrality.C.^Sources and JustificationSince it is easy to be misled it is important for the historian tolook at a wide variety of materials when studying British intentionsin 1923. Too often historians have been led astray by looking at afew key pronouncements by particularly prominent members of thepublic. Likewise, British actions can be interpreted in a variety ofways. One must approach the problem from several different angles,and avoid taking statements or actions at face value.The sources available to study this period are plentiful. Anumber of British newspapers published during 1923 (see below)reveal the attitudes and popular views that could have affectedforeign policy. Other primary sources, such as writings by prominentpoliticians, reveal how these people felt about the events. Thefeelings of these statesmen are not always apparent in their publicstatements. Their works, combined with some of the volumes ofprimary documents, particularly Documents on British Foreign Policy 1919-1939, give a fairly clear view of the attitudes of thegovernment. Few historians have dedicated themselves to this topic,but the broader area of British inter-war relations has been welltraversed.The most useful sources are the newspapers. A sampling ofnewspapers can reflect attitudes across the political spectrum in9British society: the far left (The Communist, which in February 1923became The Worker's Weekly), 19 Labour (The Daily Herald), Liberal(The Manchester Guardian Daily and Guardian Weekly, The DailyChronicle), and Conservative (The Times Daily and Times Weekly,Daily Express, Daily Telegraph, Spectator).  These, combined withnewspapers which assumed a relatively independent line (TheObserver, Illustrated London News,  The Economist),  give one arepresentative view of British society.As well, the Rothermere Press (Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, TheEvening News, Sunday Dispatch, and many others) can't be ignoredwhen studying this period. The entirely pro-French views of thissegment were readily apparent and their positions were frequentlythe topic of discussion in other newspapers.By choosing newspapers from various other angles one canensure that ideas which may have only been expressed in certainsegments of the population will not be overlooked. One must includeexamples of popular newspapers (Daily Express, Illustrated LondonNews) and serious ones (The Observer, Manchester Guardian).  Oneshould also include papers that were widely read (Daily Express), andthose with lower circulation (Spectator).One could argue that if the historian simply covered the spectrumof newspaper possibilities, much could be overlooked. This may be,but other sources fill the gap, and one should not underestimate thevalue of the press. This is particularly true when considering thesignificance of the press in Britain in 1923.Unlike today, in 1923 there were no opinion polls. It wascommonly accepted that the best way to judge public opinion was to10survey the views of the newspapers. Individual newspapers'opinions were considered representative of the segments of thepopulation with which they were affiliated. This is evidenced by thefact that when newspapers tried to describe public opinion, either athome or abroad, they would usually do it by presenting a selection ofquotations from various other newspapers.As well, newspapers in Britain in 1923 were politically consciousand were used for debating the issues of the day. Editorials andletters to the editor played prominent roles. The Spectator was madeup almost entirely of these two features. In addition, the day-to-dayreporting was often heavily inundated with political discussion andopinion. A report of the day's news often quickly turned into adescription of the reporter's views of the overall situation. Toenhance this atmosphere of political awareness, it was common forthe press to commit large amounts of space to the printing ofspeeches, official documents, parliamentary debates and the like.This was by no means limited to the 'serious' papers such as theGuardian or the Times; even the more popular newspapers such asthe Daily Express had substantial political content. The awareness ofpolitical issues which the press in 1923 displayed, combined with itsaccepted role as a mouthpiece of public opinion, makes newspapersthe best source for discerning British attitudes which were prevalentat this time.Some historians may claim that the press was not an accurategauge of public opinion because it was managed by, and reflected theviews of, a small number of controlling interests. While this may betrue of some newspapers ( J.L. Garvin certainly appears to have11personally controlled the contents of the Observer  while theHarmsworth Press clearly and consistently expounded the views ofLord Rothermere) it is not true of all. Some (such as the Guardian) had very diffuse power structures and/or employed a large numberof writers who had considerable independence; others clearlyrepresented larger group interests (such as the Daily Herald whichprided itself as being the vehicle of opinion for Labour). Even thosepapers that were under control of a single person, or a small group ofpeople, can't be discounted as valueless resources. While their useas a reflection of larger public opinion may be in doubt, they stillparticipated in the debates of the time and the prevalent attitudesand views of the time did colour their contents. In addition, thesenewspapers were powerful as forces which could alter and directpublic opinion. Just as it is today, the press in 1923 was both areflection of what existed and a dynamic force in establishing whatwould be. The press barons who used their newspapers to try tosway public opinion had considerable power. Lord Beaverbrook(who controlled several newspapers including the Daily Express) wasaccustomed to having Prime Ministers, including Bonar Law, come tohim for advice.20 Indeed, it was Beaverbrook who talked Bonar Lawinto going to the Carlton Club meeting (which resulted in Bonar Lawleading the Conservative Party out of the Coalition).21 LordRothermere also considered himself to be extremely influential.Rothermere wrote to Beaverbrook on 26 April 1923 that, "If Bonarplaces himself in my hand I will hand him down to posterity at theend of three years as one of the most successful Prime Ministers inhistory, and if there is a general election I will get him returned12again." 22 Lloyd George wrote a letter about a weekend that he hadspent in the company of Lord Rothermere expressing the hope that"his friendship will last [because] it may produce a more friendlyatmosphere in his papers." This despite the fact that Lloyd Georgeand Lord Rothermere had distinctly different views about thesituation in the Ruhr. 23 Evidently the politicians of the timerecognized the importance of the controllers of Fleet Street. The rolethe newspapers could play in affecting both public opinion andgovernment policy, combined with their position as a reflection ofexisting public opinion makes the press an apt source for studyingthe undercurrents of British opinion.If one did not use newspapers, and instead looked only atBritain's actions or the proclamations of its leaders, one could strayinto error when analyzing the British potential for action during theRuhr crisis. In fact, as the newspapers indicate, the general feeling inthe United Kingdom was unreadiness and unwillingness to extend ahelping hand to Germany.1314Chapter 2:^Interpretations of Britain's Response to the OccupationOne could build an argument demonstrating that Britain was closeto throwing her weight against the French and Belgian cause in 1923.There were many proclamations denouncing the occupation. Theseattacks continued throughout 1923 and were joined by Britishreactions both to French diplomatic maneuvers and to the build up ofFrench armaments. The opposition parties clamored for Britain tochange her policy of "benevolent neutrality." Asquith dubbed thispolicy "benevolent impotence."24 Throughout the occupation theGerman Government was reaching out for British aid. There is ampleevidence that Britain could have helped Germany.It is not, therefore, surprising that, as was mentioned in theprevious chapter, many people have accepted the hypothesis thatBritain desired to aid Germany. However, interpreting events in thismanner ignores certain realities of the situation. First, the evidencewhich would indicate a 'pro-German' feeling inside Britain can beexplained as misrepresentative of the general public mood.Similarly, British actions often only had the appearance of being anti-French; in reality they had a very different character. Secondly,these interpretations contradict actions which demonstrate thatBritain was moving in an entirely different direction (for example,Britain's insistence on reparations payments). The Daily Telegraph wrote 11 December 1922 that even though there was dissentionbetween Britain and France, "it does not follow that there must bequarrel and rupture." 25A. Reflections of Britain's OpinionProbably the most important factor in the assumption of Britain'sreadiness to help Germany is the acceptance of certain publicstatements as being representative of Britain's attitude.^SomeMembers of Parliament, particularly those from the Labour party,were outspoken in their condemnation of the Ruhr occupation. TheDaily Herald, as the newspaper of the Labour Party, was equallystrong in its attacks of the occupation. Even members of thegoverning circles regularly denounced the occupation, some seemingto lean towards involving Britain in support of Germany. Statementsmade by Lord Curzon, the Foreign Minister, Lord D'Abernon, theBritish Ambassador to Germany, and John Bradbury, the Britishrepresentative on the Reparations Commission, are often used byhistorians to demonstrate that Britain was ready to help Germany.Cornebise writes, "Berlin exhibited perennial hopes that the Britishwould intervene of which there were frequent tantalizing indicationsfrom Curzon, D'Abernon and others." 26 To find quotations emanatingfrom London condemning the occupation or even suggesting thatBritain should aid Germany is no hard task.However, it is an equally simple task to find quotations whichwould suggest that Britain leaned in the opposite direction. SomeMembers of Parliament openly advocated joining France in the Ruhr15occupation. The Rothermere Press maintained its campaign of "HatsOff to France" throughout 1923. All this proves is that both extremeswere represented.Anti-French statements made by Lord Curzon after April 1923are often used by historians to demonstrate that the BritishGovernment was beginning to change its view of the situation. Thisdoes not, however, demonstrate an actual change of view in thegovernment. Lord Curzon had maintained relative silence to thispoint not because he initially supported France, but because he hadbeen busy at Lausanne with the details surrounding the Middle Eastpeace settlements. 27 One should also remember that Lord Curzonhad a strong personal dislike of Poincar6 because of a dramatic fightbetween the two in October 1922. 28 Curzon's entry into the Ruhrdebate simply brought a particularly vocal, noticeable and activeindividual to the fore. L. S. Amery wrote, "Curzon excelled himself inargumentative dispatches which his colleagues did their best to tonedown." 29 Clearly, Curzon's view can not be equated with the Britishview.Those quotations and individuals chosen by historians torepresent Britain's opposition of the occupation are oftenmisinterpreted. Even those who were most vocal in their oppositionrarely advocated active intervention. Sir John Bradbury indicatedwell in advance of the occupation that although he "expressedskepticism as to the success of the Ruhr occupation," he didn't think"England would [or should] undertake measures to prevent it."Throughout the Ruhr struggle he maintained that the French andBelgian actions were wrong but that Britain should remain aloof. 3016The fact that these people also advocated neutrality, as even LordCurzon did for much of 1923, often goes unnoticed; it is theirdispleasure with French attitudes that is remembered.B. Opposition to the GovernmentPublic proclamations and the debates in parliament can bemisinterpreted as examples of London's readiness to supportGermany. In the House of Commons, it often appeared that thestruggle was very close and that Britain could have at any timeabandoned neutrality for a more active, pro-German role. TheLabour Party and both wings of the Liberal Party frequentlyattacked the Government's Ruhr policy. Historians andcontemporaries have emphasized the fact that in March 1923 a votein support of the Government's policy of neutrality passed by only48. 31 Later in March the Government lost a vote regarding a housingissue. To some people, this demonstrates how weak theGovernment's position was. 32 The press also frequently expressedviews that "for all concerned a change in policy" was needed andthat it was Britain's "right and duty to exert [herself] to shape thecourse of events and to help towards a settlement." 33 On the surfaceit appears that pressure on the government was significant and thatit could easily have produced a profound shift in the British position.What is not so commonly expressed is that the opposition rarelyadvocated a position far distant from the one that the Governmentheld. There was even a tendency to oppose the government's policy17without actually advocating any position. The Daily Chronicle, whichprimarily represented the Lloyd George wing of the Liberals,frequently blasted the government's stance in its editorials; however,for the first months of the occupation it made no suggestions as towhat general policy should be pursued. 34 Even when a policy waschampioned it was seldom radical. Liberals considered Britain's mostsevere policy option to be the removal of the British troops fromCologne. 35 It is hard to imagine how this policy could have hinderedthe French policy in any way. France simply would have had morefreedom in the Rhineland to pursue whatever policies she wished.Yet withdrawal was considered to be Britain's "most potent form ofprotest" available and one which could only be considered after "themost careful deliberation." 36 The Liberals rarely openly advocatedwithdrawal; they argued only that it should be kept as a policyoption.The other major policy suggestion made by the Liberals was thatthe whole issue should be submitted to some international body.They sometimes advocated lobbying for U. S. intervention or forsubmitting the whole matter to the International Court at The Hague,but their most common suggestion was to involve the League ofNations. Beginning on 19 February the Liberals, with Laboursupport, regularly suggested this option. 37 Again, this policy wasunlikely to produce any effect in the Ruhr. It was well recognizedthat France dominated the League of Nations. Miles Lampson, fromthe British Foreign Office, commented that "neither the admission tothe League of Nations nor the submission to the International Courtin The Hague would help. The inquiry was completely unrealistic,18since both steps would be prevented by France." As well, it wascommon knowledge that Lord Cecil, the man who was mostassociated with the League in Britain and who best knew its innerworkings, didn't think that the League was a viable option. LordCecil believed that the occupation was perfectly lega138 and thatBritain should not intervene.39 The Liberal's suggestions wereclearly designed for public consumption. The Liberal party wantedto appear active while the Conservatives chose non-action. However,the reality was that the Liberal policies could not have changed thesituation in the Ruhr. It is likely that, had the Liberals been inpower, they would not have bothered to make these unproductivesuggestions.Like the Liberals, the Labour Party advocated policies whichwould not have helped Germany. The Labour Party often madesuggestions of a significantly undramatic nature. On 25 JanuaryRamsay MacDonald, the Labour Party leader, suggested that theBritish Government demand a clear statement from France about heraims in the Ruhr. He also suggested that the British representativefrom the Reparations Commission be withdrawn and that the Britishpolicy be made clear (including the intention of Britain to continueto trade with Germany).40 In March, the Labour Party suggestedthat a joint English, Belgian and French committee meet to "discuss"the situation.'" By Mid-April the Labour Party was even suggestingthat "an appeal should be made to the French and GermanGovernments to submit their proposals in regard to reparations andsecurity."42 Clearly none of these policies could seriously have been19expected to break the impasse in the Ruhr or counter the Frenchposition.Even the more radical suggestions made by the Labour Partycould not have been helpful to Germany. The Labour Party called forthe cancellation of war debts and reparations, 43 and the scrapping ofthe Treaty of Versailles." However, the fact that these suggestionswere more commonly made in the Labour newspaper the Daily Herald than in parliament indicates that they were intended mostlyto impress the electorate. Significantly, in the summer of 1923,when it became apparent that negotiations were beginning again, theDaily Herald began to reassert that reparations were sorely needed.45This indicates that even the more radical policies of the Labour Partywere largely for show.The suggestions made by the opposition parties in Britain wouldnot have aided Germany. Most of their ideas were designed toconvince the electorate that the opposition parties were pregnantwith ideas while the Conservatives were impotent. The suggestionswere invariably either simply cosmetic or unrealistic. Indeed, not allof the radical suggestions of the opposition parties were designed tofavour Germany. In February four Labour Members of Parliamentsuggested internationalizing the Ruhr in order to ensure output ofreparations in kind. 46 It is interesting that Lloyd George alsosuggested a policy of internationalizing the whole Rhineland. 47Clearly, the opposition did not really support Germany.20C. Britain: Interactions in Western EuropeBritain's interactions with France and Germany, particularly in theRhineland, demonstrate that Britain was not ready to cooperate withGermany. Britain continued to work with the Inter-Allied RhinelandCommission and the Reparations Council despite misgivings about theoccupation. On the international stage France and Britain cooperatedas partners against Germany in a variety of ways. Around Colognethe British even gave a certain amount of tactical support to theactual occupation. At the same time, Britain completely rebuffed anyGerman attempts to forge more cordial relations.Britain's refusal to vote in favour of motions finding Germany indefault of deliveries of reparations in kind is often held up as anexample of how she stood up for Germany. In fact, Britain's actionswithin the Reparations Council and the Inter-Allied RhinelandCommission do not suggest that Britain was actively opposing theRuhr occupation. Britain did not refuse to vote to support Germany;she was simply demonstrating her faith in her own economicassessments and in her own reparations plan of January 1923. Sheused the Reparations Council and the Rhineland Commission toprotest the occupation and to state her own case.^Furthermore,Britain did not withdraw from these organizations. She might haveabstained from the decision making process, but once the occupationhad begun she did not fight it.^The British representatives inCologne continued to work closely with the Rhineland HighCommission and continued to show support. D'Abernon admitted on213 September 1923 that Britain was "constantly pressing the GermanGovernment to pay the Rhineland Commission or some other Inter-Allied body" and that Britain "continued to exact payment underthe Reparation's Recovery Act."48 The British representative on theRhineland Commission, Lord Kilmarnock, wrote to Lord Curzon inmid-January wondering whether "Britain can afford to let [theFrench] be defeated." He also suggested how Britain could "helpFrance without definitely associating [herself] with their action."49Although Britain sometimes used the Reparations Council and theRhineland Commission to express her opinions, her actions showed nodesire to interfere with France.Britain's activity in her relations with Germany also gave noindication that she .was willing to offer support. It is certain thatGermany expected aid from Britain. This is proven by the number ofattempts that the Germans made to forge some sort of contact withBritain. Germany looked to the United Kingdom for guidance and forhelp, however, Britain firmly refused these overtures throughout1923. The Times accurately predicted that "the German delegationthat is reputed to be coming to England to seek intervention willreceive no satisfaction here."50 Despite repeated efforts, Germanycould establish no high-level contacts. A letter sent by Cuno to BonarLaw was refused on the grounds that accepting it was pointlessbecause "neither Britain nor anybody could help."51 After Curzon'sspeech of 20 April, Lord D'Abernon contacted Lord Curzon with themessage that the German Minister of Foreign Affairs "is anxious toget an exact indication of an offer which you consider it advisable forGermany to make." Curzon's response three days later contained no22message for the German government; Curzon simply told D'Abernonthat, "It is politically important that Your Excellency should carefullyavoid being drawn into any form of collaboration with the GermanGovernment as to the terms of their offer to France."52 In his diary,Lord D'Abernon claims that he in fact "kept entirely clear." He alsolamented that "the French papers are constantly asserting that Cunois directed by me," and that the feeling that England's voice wassupreme in Germany "was quite an erroneous view."53These repeated rebuffs failed to dispel the notion that Britain waswilling to help Germany. The suspicion that these supposed privatenegotiations would lead to some agreement was prevalent in Franceas wel1.54 This fear was only enhanced when German actions seemedto respond to British proclamations. Assuredly, the German note of2 May was in response to Lord Curzon's speech of 20 April, but thiscause and effect 'relationship' came solely from the German attitude.The error that the French made, an error that historians of todaysometimes replicate, was assuming that Germany was encouraged byBritain. In fact, Britain steadfastly refused to counsel or negotiatewith Germany all through the first nine months of the Ruhroccupation.In Germany, it wasn't really until August that Britain's lack ofresponse to the German thrusts began to register. During the cabinetcrisis of early August Cuno finally admitted that Germany could nolonger try to gain British support and must learn to stand alone.55As well, Dr. Mueller, the SPD ex-chancellor, said that "it was theopinion of his party that Great Britain would not separate fromFrance and that Germany must not rely on Britain."56 Even in23October, when S tresemann made roughly the same argument, it"caused a stir of amazement in the Reichstag part of which stillbelieved that England was backing Germany." Relief was evident inBritain when this legend was finally "disposed of by the GermanChancellor himself." 57 Although the myth proved to be hard todispel, it was never more than a myth. There is no evidence ofsecret background negotiations between Britain and Germany.German expectations and French suspicions were entirely unjustified.In truth, the only time British actions could have been consideredsupportive of Germany was when Britain declared herself in favourof policies which Germany also favoured. The best example of thiswas Britain's desire to grant Germany a moratorium. However, eventhis 'support' was entirely based on selfish motives. Britain desiredto grant Germany a moratorium simply to maximize the final amountof reparations which Germany could pay. Furthermore, wheneverBritain called for a moratorium she also invariably called for Alliedcontrol of the German financial system in order ensure that themoratorium would guarantee greater reparations payments . 58 Thisdemand for control was supported by all of the British politicalparties. Asquith stated "that financial control in Germany must formpart of any settlement" because of the "widespread feeling in thiscountry that a reparation settlement would, in fact, not be carriedour without strong supervision in Germany ." 59 The Daily Telegraph noted that Britain was "as determined to make Germany pay to thelimit of her capacity as France." 60 In the press it was even suggestedthat Britain offer to guarantee support of the Ruhr at a later dateshould Germany continue to fail to pay reparations after a24moratorium.61 Even when Britain seemed to support Germany, hermotives were self-centered.Evidence for actual British support of Germany during 1923 isalmost non-existent. In 1922, it appeared that Britain and Germanywere moving closer together. The first commercial air servicebetween the two states began. Britain openly supported Germany'sentry into the League of Nations. In September British bankspromised to guarantee the financing of part of that years reparationsto Belgium. However, once the occupation had begun Britainwithdrew. The idea of German admission to the League of Nationswas put on hold, and there was no talk of British help for Germanfinances (except to leave the option open for British businesses tomake a loan to Germany). Britain claimed to be following a line ofstrict neutrality, but if she did waver it was to show modest supportfor the occupation and not for Germany.In fact, Britain took a number of actions which lent at leasttactical support to the French occupation. This was primarily done inthe British zone of occupation near Cologne. From the beginning ofthe occupation, Britain made it quite clear through Lord Kilmarnockthat they would not object to the French collecting custom's duties inthe British zone.62 Near the end of January the British Chamber ofCommerce in Cologne offered the French the service of ten Britishen gineers .63 Britain also allowed French troop trains to pass throughthe area. Britain even lent soldiers to act as guards for these trains,and to garrison key bridges and terminals, to prevent possiblesabotage. Britain relinquished two parcels of her occupied area toFrench control in February. First she turned over the town of2526Baumber, and even helped the French to occupy it.64^Later, Britainallowed the French to take over a small area in the Cologne zonebecause it contained a key rail line that the French wanted to use.Britain also allowed the French to bring any coal or coke which shecould extract from the Ruhr through the Cologne area. It was agreedthat the number of trains run through the area by the French wasnot to exceed the average daily rate of the months before theoccupation. The fact that the French often did exceed this averageseemed to provoke no objection. Britain would not allow members ofthe German Reichstag to visit the British area, and would sometimesdeny certain Germans entrance into Britain itself.65 Furthermore, inMarch, Britain didn't permit the International Workers' Conference tomeet in Cologne. This particular action caused the Worker's Weekly to accuse the British Government of "Acting as a tool of Poincare."6 6However, Britain did allow Rhenish separatists to use Cologne as theirheadquarters, at least for the first few months of the occupation.6 7In addition, Britain supported France when France put pressure onGermany. In July Britain stopped issuing passports and passes fortravel between the Cologne area and the rest of Germany. This wasdone in conjunction with France and Belgium in response to abombing of a troop train by German saboteurs.6 8Britain continued to cooperate with France in most other areas in1923. She worked with the Military Control Commission to pressureGermany to complete its disarmament. As well, Britain joined withFrance and Belgium in calling for an end to passive resistance. InJune, the Times stated that, "Nothing would now bring France out ofthe Ruhr until she considers that she has won. Therefore there is noreason why the game should not be regarded as lost by Germany andthe useless weapon of so-called passive resistance be put aside." 69By July the British Government was also openly calling for an end tothis resistance. Although Britain never openly supported theoccupation, her actions helped the French cause and demonstratedher desire to further French efforts.During the first nine months of 1923 Britain pursued a policy ofneutrality with regard to the Ruhr occupation. The fact that Britainexpressed her displeasure with the occupation, and with certainother French policies, has sometimes been misinterpreted asdemonstrating support for Germany. Likewise, certain Britishactions during the year have been given the same meaning.In truth, Britain did not assist Germany, nor did she demonstrateany desire to do so. British politicians, inside or outside of thegovernment, did not contemplate an active anti-French stance,regardless of their attacks on the wisdom of the occupation. Britain'sreadiness to continue its partnership with France was demonstratedby her actions in 1923. Britain continued to cooperate with France ina variety of ways. She even lent a degree of support to the actualoccupation. At the same time Britain held herself completely alooffrom the German overtures. Britain's actions demonstrate that if shewavered from strict neutrality in 1923 it was always in favour ofFrance over Germany.27Chapter 3: Attitudes and OpinionsThe last chapter showed how the British actions in the first ninemonths of 1923 indicated that she did not want to help Germany.Britain did not fail in her efforts to help Germany, because Britaindid not make, or ever desire to make, any such efforts. WithinBritain a set of attitudes precluded any real intervention on behalfof Germany. The most significant factor was that within Britain lovefor France - and bitterness towards Germany - still lingered from theGreat War. Britain could not be altruistic towards Germany. Anotherfactor in Britain's rejection of Germany was that the British publicbelieved reparation payments were needed. If Britain showedGermany favour this might eliminate all chance of Britain receivingher due. These factors combined with a fear of isolation resulted instrong feeling of helplessness. The only possible policy wasneutrality.A. British LoyaltiesThe most powerful popular feeling was the continued affection ofthe British people for France. Indeed one could argue that much ofBritain was entirely pro-French. The Rothermere Press, asmentioned before, was wholly supportive of the Ruhr occupation. Itwas also widely recognized that a substantial portion of the ruling28Conservative party wanted Britain to join France in this occupation.The Observer sarcastically described the attitude of these two groupsby saying the "British Die-hards fall in ecstatic prostration beforetheir political pontiff, the French Premier and Lord Rothermerekisses his toe twice a day, morning and evening." 70Despite such jabs these two groups were actually quite influential.It is not absolutely certain how many Conservatives favoured apolicy of joining France in the Ruhr, but the Economist estimated thatit was over fifty Members of Parliament. 71 The Rothermere Presswas very widely read, and if the public didn't agree with LordRothermere's policies they certainly didn't show it by ceasing theirconsumption of his proclamations. The Daily Mail continued to be byfar the most popular newspaper in Britain and even substantiallyincreased its circulation during the Ruhr occupation. 72 This is insharp contrast with the Labour newspaper, the Daily Herald, whichwas the most 'anti-occupation' of all the British newspapers andwhich was almost closed down in August 1923 because of low anddeclining circulation. 73^In that month, Lord Rothermere began toput advertisements for his newspapers in the Daily Herald; perhapshe recognized that a portion of the Herald's readers had becomedisenchanted with the views expressed by the Herald. 74 Even innewspapers other than those of the Rothermere Press the suggestionof complete support for the French was often seen in the letters tothe editors. Sentiments such as, "What a pity [the occupation] wasnot tried long ago" were common in the Independent, Liberal andConservative Press. 7529Even the general public, which did not agree with Rothermere'sattitude of total support for the occupation, certainly wanted Britainand France to remain on good terms. The press constantly assertedthat Britain was still friends with France.76 The Spectator pointedout that Britain had a "natural love of France and it is not small" andthat it was Bonar Law's job to "prevent the Germans from thinkingthat they could permanently separate us from France."77 TheConservative Press as a whole continued to express affection forFrance throughout 1923. Since the Conservatives had a firm grip onpower, this part of the press should be considered the most accuratereflection of the Government's outlook, and therefore of what itspotential for action could have been.The Entente was considered to be "the sole barrier betweenEurope and chaos."78 Whenever it seemed that France and Britainwere moving closer together, it was celebrated as a 'good thing'. The"Entente Cordiale so gloriously instituted on the battlefield" wasmentioned in an entirely positive light.79 If ever relations betweenFrance and Britain soured, the situation was invariably painted assad and unfortunate. During one downturn in relations the Guardian observed that, "here there is no sign of pleasure or even indifferenceto the threatened rupture."80 The press did what it could to supportthe Entente. In October and November 1922, the Observer  regularlypublished French writers describing how relations could beimproved.8 1Despite the fact that there was constantly talk of rupture,closeness with France was always considered of greatest importance.This is supported by the fact that the term "Allies" continued to be30widely used and accepted without question. The Alliance continuedto exist in the minds of the British people. It was a closeness forgedduring four years of war and it was a cornerstone of theinternational situation. Britain could not contemplate opposingFrance because to the mass of British people France was still a friendand an ally. While differences existed in opinion, it was commonlyaccepted that the "deepest feeling in the minds of both peoples wasthe desire to remain in unison." 82The average British citizen held no such feelings of warmth forGermany. In fact a deep feeling of animosity remained. If Francecontinued to be the friend during the Ruhr occupation, Germanyremained an enemy. Sthamer observed that "anti-German sentimentlay just beneath the surface" in Britain. 83 The Economist stated that,"The present Government is not in the least likely to err on the sideof being unduly friendly to our late enemies or helping them to finda way out of meeting their obligations." 84 When discussing possiblerapprochement with Germany, the Daily Express decided that, "Sucha conception would be intolerable, and the Government whichattempted to carry it into effect would fall from power instantly." 85When considering whether or not Germany had friends in Britain, theDaily Telegraph concluded that "in this country she has and can havenone." 86 The Times simply stated that, "There is no tendency here[London] to ignore the crimes and evasion of Germany in the past" 87and that "the feeling here is not pro-German." 88France was the country for vacations. Despite the frictionbetween Britain and France, the Daily Telegraph observed that, "Notsince the war have there been so many visitors in Paris [from31Britain] as at the present moment."89 Many people (including Curzonand Bonar Law) went to France for medical attention. In the worldof sports it was common for French and British athletes to compete.Newspapers regularly ran columns about life in France. Germany, onthe other hand, was perhaps seen as a country to do business with,but nothing more.Residual war attitudes definitely limited what Britain could orcould not do. It is popular to portray the diplomatic maneuverswhich took place before the Great War as based on self-interestrather than on loyalty. Countries joined and broke with each other,wrestling for advantage. After the war no such simple breaking orallying could have taken place. Too many people had been involvedin the war and the strength of residual loyalties would not haveallowed Britain to assume a pro-German stance.*The closeness that the British people felt for France was notdestroyed by the disagreements which Britain had with Franceduring 1923.^Britain was not growing apart from France despitehigh level friction. 90 The Times observed that "those who died inFlanders have created an entente more real and more abiding thanany political contract."91 It is true that the British people condemnedthe occupation, but they did not condemn France. The press, evenwhen it was attacking French policy, always made it clear that that itstill cared for and sympathized with France. No newspaper,whatever its political background, desired to give the appearance ofbeing anti-French^In January 1923 the Spectator stated that eventhough they had displayed "in appearance a pro-German and anti-3 2French attitude, we had not forgotten the harm done by Germany toFrance, to ourselves and to the world at large."92 The Daily Chronicle,which was known for its frequent denunciations of French policy,stated, "Our memories are not so short that we have forgotten howdeeply [France] has been wronged . . . British policy is not pro-German."93 This affection for France did not waver as the occupationprogressed; some felt that it even grew stronger. In mid-April theDaily Chronicle announced that it agreed with Poincare'sobservation94 that British public opinion was changing in France'sfavour.95Even when the British Press suspected that France was really inthe Ruhr for security reasons, and not for reparations at all, therewas no anger. Common was the attitude presented by the Observerwhen it stated, "We may deplore France's action, but we can at anyrate comprehend her emotions. She needs reparations and she isentitled to them. She needs security and she is entitled to it."96Certain other attitudes also made Britain more patient withFrance's activity in the Ruhr. Euphemisms such as the "rupturecordiale" and "the agreement to disagree" show that Britain andFrance were still close. Not only did the British believe that Frenchand British policies were in accord except regarding the occupation,but they also believed that even this difference was a difference inmanner, not in aim. Both Britain and France wanted the maximumreparations which could be had from Germany. Britain favoured amoratorium and a new repayment schedule, while France andBelgium felt that the occupation was the best method available.33Again, this difference did not produce anger. The Daily Telegraphstated, "It is not lack of sympathy with France, but an excess ofsympathy which prompts us to hesitate to adopt her policy towardsGermany."97 Britain felt France would soon learn that the UnitedKingdom's view was correct. They expected that the occupationwould prove unprofitable and that once again Britain and Francewould be in total accord.98 However, it was also acknowledged thatthe French and Belgian position could prove to be correct. Thispossibility was treated more with hope than with scorn. Thecommon view was "we hope that you are right but fear that you arenot. "99Another popular view which prevented Britain from opposing theFrench was the belief that Germany did not deserve help. This waspartly due to the widespread belief that Germany had deliberatelyavoided paying reparations. It was also felt that Germany hadexerted no efforts to help her own economy, and perhaps had evensabotaged it. Miles Lampson pointed out to Sthamer in January1923, "The general opinion here was not that of sympathy withGermany; not at all. The average man no doubt thought thatGermany had brought [the occupation] on herself by not fulfilling thetreaty."100 This belief was also widely expressed in the press. TheTimes said, "Germany has never made an adequate or honest effortto fulfill even a reasonable amount of the obligations which sheassumed by her signature of the Treaty of Versailles."101Another reason for Britain's lack of sympathy for the Germansituation was the depiction of the German economy in the Britishpress. Germany was alternately presented as extremely wealthy or34in total economic chaos. British newspapers often reported thatGermany had wiped out its internal debt and had almost no incometax as well as total employment. Germany had also embarked onnumerous lavish construction projects and had heavily subsidized itsindustries. It appeared that, "There had been money in Germany foranything and everything except for reparations." 102 The Britishpublic continued to be bombarded with rosy pictures of the Germanfinancial state during the occupation. This roused particular jealousyas Britain was suffering from high unemployment, high taxes and anunprecedented burden of debt. On the other hand, it was also quitecommon to depict Germany on the edge of economic ruin. However,the purpose of this was usually to demonstrate the wisdom of Britishplans regarding reparations, and not to raise sympathy for Germany.The British public were unsure about the economy of Germany. Partof their consciousness believed that France was right about theGerman reserves of wealth. Even that part of the population thatbelieved Germany was financially ruined did not have sympathy forGermany. The British people firmly fixed the blame for Germany'sfinancial problems on Germany itself. They believed as well thatfinancial distress in Germany did not mean that Britain should cometo Germany's aid; it meant only that the Allies should pursue analternative method for maximizing reparations.35B. Desire for ReparationsAnother aspect of public opinion in Britain in 1923 that limitedher interest in action was the public's sincere desire for reparations.One of the main reasons why the Germans looked to Britain forsupport was because they hoped that Britain would forgiveGermany's debt. Likewise, Britain's allies hoped that she mightforgive the inter-Allied debts due to her. This would have helpedGermany because if Belgium and France were free of debts, theymight be less harsh with Germany.In the Balfour note of 1 August 1922, Britain offered to reducethe debts due to her down to the amount which she owed the UnitedStates. To some this demonstrated that Britain was ready to forgiveclaims in order to try and reestablish the stability of the economy ofEurope. However, America thought that the Balfour note was anattempt to force the United States to forgive Britain's debts. At thesame time, Britain's other allies believed that the Balfour note wasBritain's way of announcing that she expected to be paid. Regardless,it is clear that Britain was not willing to contemplate any forgivenessof debts beyond the Balfour note. She might have been ready torenounce certain debts if the United States had been willing toreduce its claim on Britain, but there was no possibility of thathappening in early 1923. The United States had reacted strongly tothe Balfour note and had resisted giving any significant consolationswhen Baldwin went to Washington in January 1923 to discuss Britishdebt funding to the United States. All the newspapers expressed36their concern with what was felt to be the poor state of the Britisheconomy. Resentment was shown at the high taxes which the Britishsubjects had to face, and as mentioned above, it was commonplace topoint out how much less the average Frenchman or German had topay.103 Once Britain was locked into an agreement to repay her debtto the United States, the concern over the necessity of receivingreparations only increased.It was evident that Britain could go no further in renouncing herclaims. The press argued that "there is not the faintest desire here tolet Germany off"104 and that Britain wanted "to be paid as much asFrance ." 105 The Times pointed out that, "British opinion looks to theGovernment for an emphatic and detailed presentment of thatirrefutable British claim."106 This did not change as the Ruhroccupation progressed. In July the Times stated that, "Any attemptthat may be made to profit by exploiting differences between theAllies is based on misapprehension. This country is as firm as everin its demand that Germany shall pay reparations up to the limit ofher capacity to pay."107 Since Britain would not consider any actionwhich appeared to be attacking France, Germany's best hope wasthat Britain might be convinced to forgive debts due to her.However, the British public would not contemplate this eventuality.C. Fear of IsolationAnother factor which made it impossible for British interventionon behalf of Germany was a common feeling that Britain could not37act alone, or with limited international support. Britain felt that onlyby acting in concert with other nations could she oppose Frenchpolicy. Historians often portray the Ruhr occupation as an exampleof the French "going it alone". At the time, however, it was Britainthat felt isolated. She was in dispute with Turkey and Russia.Belgium was participating in the occupation. France had forged closelinks with Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Rumania. As well, theUnited States refused to criticize French policy. Only Italy held aposition close to Britain's. To the British this was not enough. Themajority in Britain felt that no action could be taken without eitherthe support of the European community in general or of the UnitedStates. As long as this support failed to materialize, and there was noindication that it would materialize, Britain could not contemplateany sort of dramatic intervention.D. Support for NeutralityThe British Government had decided long in advance that it wouldneither help nor hinder the Ruhr occupation. This attitude wassupported by the majority in Britain. It has been shown that Britainsympathized with France while remaining somewhat hostile toGermany. This combined with the public desire for reparations andthe fear of isolation meant that Britain did not have many optionsopen to her when choosing the direction her foreign policy wouldtake. Although there was a definite feeling that the governmentshould "do something", this was merely an expression of the desire38not to appear useless. In general, the policy of neutrality wasstrongly supported by the British public.Lloyd George's Coalition Government had been swept aside; thisis partly because the public was tired of adventure and conflict. TheChanak crisis is often cited as the reason why the Coalition split andthe Conservatives returned to power. This is a simplification ofevents but is also partially true. It is clear that Bonar Law and theConservatives campaigned partly on the platform of "no more war,no more conflict." Bonar Law had said, "The time when Britainshould act alone as the policeman of the world has come to anend."108 William McElwee observed that the "adventurous foreignpolicy" of the Lloyd George era had "inspired the deepest mistrust[in] public opinion."109 L. C. B. Seaman agreed when he wrote, "WhenBonar Law announced in 1922 that his aim would be 'tranquility andfreedom from adventures and commitments both at home andabroad' he summed up the desires of the whole nation."iioTherefore, it is not surprising that Britain's neutrality had strongsupport in the United Kingdom throughout the first nine months of1923. Even before the occupation had begun, parts of the pressadvised Britain to stay out of the conflict.111 Just prior to the actualentry into the Ruhr by France and Belgium, the Times advised that"the position of Great Britain must be one of calm restraint."112 TheObserver,  as well, stated "Britain can only stand aside."113 A fewdays later the Times added that ,"No action can or should be taken atthe present moment by the British Government."114 Even the Daily Herald advised that active intervention should not be contemplatedas it may lead to military involvement.115 This idea did not lose39credence as the occupation continued. On 19 April 1923 the Times said, "The Government has a policy, in our opinion a sound policy andone which has the support of the majority of the nation. [It is] toadopt an attitude of watchful waiting and to adhere to it.ni 16Throughout 1923, the Daily Express supported the idea of bringingthe British troops back from Cologne, not as an expression of protest,but to demonstrate Britain's neutrality and to ensure that thisneutrality continued.117 Despite the fact that Britain's policy of non-action was sometimes ridiculed, the idea that Britain remain neutralhad widespread support.Enhancing the feeling that Britain should remain neutral was thecommonly held view that any sort of active policy would not have"the slightest chance of success." is The press recognized thatBritain's strategic position was weak and that France held the trumpcards (see chapter four). This was not simply the viewpoint ofgovernment officials who knew all the details of the situation, butalso of the general public. In 1922 the Guardian observed, "It iscommonly assumed that, since we have now lost most of what littlepower we had to influence French policy, there is nothing to do butwait and see what use the French make of their freedom."119 Bythe time the occupation had begun this feeling of helplessness wasclearly developed. The longer France and Belgium remained in theRuhr, the less likely it seemed that the British could effectivelyoppose them. "No settlement at all is possible until France of herown free will chooses to make it so•"120 Since Britain had "nophysical means of intervention" the only possible policy was to"entrench in a sound position and wait."12140E. Persistence of British AttitudesAnother interesting point regarding British public opinion is thatit was remarkably constant. Those parts of the population whichsupported France continued to do so no less strongly in 1923 thanthey had in 1922. Likewise, opposition to France came from thesame sources which had opposed France in the previous year.Statements from politicians such as Lord Curzon and Lloyd George,which supposedly demonstrate British opposition to the occupation,did not come solely as a reaction to the struggle in the Ruhr. Thosepoliticians had been equally critical of French policies in 1922. Thepress showed a similar kind of constancy. One might have expecteda strong British reaction against France at the beginning of 1923,immediately after France rejected the British reparations plan at theParis Conference and pressed ahead with her own policies in theRuhr. But there was no sudden outcry. The press maintained itsgenerally supportive and sympathetic attitude towards France. OnJanuary 11, the day the occupation began, the Daily Telegraphargued:Nothing is farther from the thoughts of the British Government, or of anyof us in this country than the taking of steps which might be interpreted asshowing a friendly spirit towards Germany. There has never been any hint ofsuch a thing in our language throughout the recent controversy, and theremust be none in our actions. It is well that this should be plainly stated, if onlyfor the reason that some areas of opinion in Germany are tending toencourage the idea that Great Britain has been taking the side of that countryin offering opposition to the policy of France) 224 1There was no sudden outburst against French actions at thebeginning of the occupation, and none occurred as the yearprogressed. After four months of occupation, the Daily Chronicledecided that "the great mass of the English people still think of thepeople of France as they thought of them during the war." 123 Onlytwo newspapers, the Spectator and the Observer changed their toneduring 1923. Both moved from a policy of supporting strictneutrality to urging the government to take a more active, perhapssomewhat anti-French role. Neither of these newspapers went veryfar in their demands, but they did show some shift. Both werelargely dependent on single individuals (J.L. Garvin of the Observerand J. St. Loe Strachey of the Spectator), which may partly explainwhy these newspapers showed some drift while general Britishopinion remained consistent. It was well known that "Old Garvinfollowed his own logic" and that the Observer often took suddenunexpected views. 124 As well, it is significant that when theSpectator came out with an editorial suggesting a more anti-Frenchstand in early January 1923, a flood of letters attacked theSpectator's position. It wasn't until 24 February that the Spectatorwas able to print a single 'letter to the editor' which expressed thesame views as the Spectator itself. Interestingly, this letter wassigned with the pseudonym "Iota Subscript," perhaps indicating thatit was actually written by Strachey. 125 It seems clear that theSpectator, nominally a Conservative paper, was not expressing theviews of the majority of its readers.*^*^*42Britain was never close to throwing her influence in favour ofGermany during the first nine months of 1923 for several reasons.In the first place, most people in Britain still felt loyal towardsFrance and still expressed animosity towards Germany. This feelingwould not have allowed the British Government to adopt a policyharmful to France. As the Guardian mentioned, any expectation onGermany's part of "active intervention by England [was] almostcertainly mistaken." 126 Secondly, Britain could go no further towardsforgiving debts because the public felt that she had gone as far asshe could go on this issue. These two factors combined with thegenerally accepted feeling Britain could not act in isolation and theview that France was in a position of strength made Britain feel thatshe could take no helpful active role. It also produced a profoundfeeling of support for the policy of neutrality.Chapter three discussed some of the popular views which wereprevalent in Britain in 1923 and which limited the scope of actionavailable to the British Government. These attitudes bound thegovernment not only because it was not possible for the governmentto pursue a policy counter to the desire of the general population, butalso because these attitudes were actually held just as strongly bythe officials and members of Britain's Government.Certain views which were not frequently expressed by thegeneral public, but were widely held in the political hierarchy ofBritain, also played a role in hindering Britain from actively opposingFrance. Chapter four describes how the political situation withinBritain itself made it difficult to contemplate any sort of aggressiveintervention.43Chapter 4: The Situation in Britain and AbroadA. The British GovernmentThe British Members of Parliament were no less susceptible tothe attitude trends of 1923 than were the average British citizens.Just as the British public still favoured France over Germany, so didBritish politicians.^In January Ronald McNeill, the Undersecretaryfor Foreign Affairs, said that Britain had "no love for" Germany andthat even though Britain and France disagreed about the Ruhroccupation, "the whole disagreement [was] simply one as to the bestmethod of obtaining our common end."127 A month later Baldwindescribed the "need for continuing our clear partnership withFrance. "128 On 13 February the King himself stated, "My Governmentwill in no way increase the difficulties of the allies."129^GustavStresemann felt that with regard to the British and French, "thetremendous common effort made by these people during four yearsof war has created such powerful imponderable forces, that so long,at least, as there are statesmen from those years still at the head oftheir Governments, they will not be responsible for digging the graveof the Entente."130British politicians also agreed both with public desire forreparations and with the fear of acting in isolation. On 15 December1922 Lord D'Abernon recorded, "Bonar Law thinks that unlessAmerica comes in it is hopeless to stop Poincare and the44extremists."131 Four months later this attitude was still prevalent inthe government. On 1 March the Times Weekly printed a letter fromnine Unionist Members of Parliament which stated that "the essentialcondition of any settlement [is] an assurance of the active co-operation of the United States."132 Prevailing attitudes and views in1923 meant that the British public would not accept a policy hostileto France; the politicians in the Government of Britain wereconstrained by the same shackles of opinion.Some views seemed to be even stronger in government circlesthan in the population at large. This is due to the fact that thegovernment had access to information not available to the generalpublic. For example, government documents show how muchinterest France had in Britain's attitude at the time. In the popularpress, France was often depicted as having no interest whatsoever inBritish opinions. In fact, as people in the government knew, Francewas very sensitive about British attitudes. Another area in whichpoliticians had an edge over the average British citizen wasknowledge of the conditions in Germany. The press presented aconfused and constantly changing view on how long passiveresistance could be maintained. A newspaper was likely to say oneday that Germany was on the brink of collapse, and the next thatresistance could go on for years.The fact that the Government was in a better position tounderstand this situation affected it in three ways. First, thegovernment continually showed sensitivity towards the French.While the press was openly critical of the wisdom of the Frenchpolicy in the Ruhr, the British Government held its tongue for many45months. Its actions out of the public light were always performed insuch a way as to least offend the French. Lord Curzon wrote that,"His Majesty's Government is anxious to minimize as far as possibleadverse effect on Anglo-French relations of French independentaction."133 In fact, it was mid-May before the Government publiclyexpressed dissatisfaction with French actions "for the first time."134By showing this kind of restraint, even on minor points, Britainindicated that she would not suddenly oppose the French and Belgianoccupation.Secondly, the government laid the blame for the collapse ofRhineland trade on Germany. On 12 March Kilmarnock informedCurzon that the French and Belgians had done everything they couldto aid British commerce in the Rhineland and the Ruhr, and that the"trouble we are now experiencing comes from the German side."135Finally, once summer began and the Government realized thatGerman resistance was coming to an end, Britain began to reasserther claim to reparations. This will be discussed in detail in chapterfive.*The actions of the British Government demonstrated that it wasnot likely to champion the German cause. The political situation inBritain in 1923 made this even less likely. Although theConservative party had a strong position in the House of Commons, ithad certain internal problems. The break with the Coalition in theprevious year had been messy. Many of the most important leadersof this party, such as Chamberlain, Birkenhead, Balfour and Horne,refused to abandon Lloyd George at the Carlton Club meeting. The46result was that Bonar Law was forced to construct an administrationwith some of the less experienced members of the ConservativeParty. Churchill spoke of "a government of the second eleven";Birkenhead called them "second-class intellects "136 Anotherdifficulty which the Government faced was the general rift betweenthe "Die-hards" (the group associated with whole-hearted support ofFrance) and the rest of the Conservatives.The fact that the Conservative Party faced internal problemsworked against the German hopes for British help. The inexperienceof the administration meant that the Government was unlikely tochoose any sort of dramatic policy. Time was needed for 'learningthe ropes'. With the political situation still in a state of flux after thebreakup of the Coalition Party, the Conservatives were unlikely tochoose a direction which might lead to further chaos or realignment.The Conservative Party needed to consolidate and to reestablishitself as an independent entity. The Conservatives were not likely totake any action that would provide members with an excuse forabandoning the party in favour either of the Coalition or some othergroup. Both Bonar Law and Baldwin expressed a need for partystability. They demonstrated this in their dealings with the "Die-hards." Neither Law nor Baldwin wished to alienate this importantwing of the Conservative Party. This is partly because the "Die-hards"had considerable grass roots support in the party. On 10 August theGuardian reported that the Government was paralyzed "by its owndissensions and the unmistakable proofs of Francophilism reportedfrom Conservative organisations in the constituencies."137 Thestrength of the "Die-hards" was shown when Mr. McKenna, Baldwin's47choice for the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, was passed over infavour of a candidate from this faction.138 Two important "Die-hards" were Lord Derby and H. S. Amery, and both were valuableallies to the Prime Minister. In August Lord Derby threatened toresign because the changes that he and Amery had requested in thereply to the French note had not been made. Lord Derby felt that thePrime Minister and the cabinet "had been rushed by Curzon" intomaking an anti-French reply. Lord Derby's diary reveals thatBaldwin appeased him by pleading with him not to resign and byexpressing the opinion that, "Curzon's four years as Foreign Ministerhad been more harmful to this country than any previous ForeignSecretary." Derby also mentioned in his diary that, regardingCurzon's threat to the French of British separate action, Baldwin said"there was no doubt that [Curzon] had no thought-out plan when [he]put that [in the] note and it was a bluff which if the French called . . .would have exposed us to ridicule."139 Clearly, Baldwin wasunwilling to take any action which would have seriously alienatedthe "Die-hard" wing of the Conservative party.The Liberal and Labour Parties were also facing problems andthis made any challenge of the Government's policy of neutralityunlikely. This was primarily due to the fact that the Conservativeshad a comfortable majority in Parliament. This majority was in nodanger of eroding. The Conservatives continued to win a significantpercentage of by-elections throughout 1923, partly due to the publicconfidence in the Government after its success at the Lausannenegotiations.140 Another problem the Liberal Party faced was that ithad two deep internal divisions. Liberal Opposition was divided48between the Lloyd George and the Asquith wings of the party. Thesetwo groups showed very little desire to cooperate until near the endof 1923. A further division occurred within the National Liberals.This 'liberal' party still contained many Conservative members whostood by Lloyd George after the collapse of the Coalition.^In 1923some of these Conservatives actually drifted back to the ConservativeParty.141 By March, former top-ranking Conservatives includingChamberlain and Birkenhead were affiliated more and more with theConservative Party.142 Others remained with the Liberals butsupported the Conservative outlook of "benevolent neutrality".This dissention in the Liberal Party meant that the Labour Partyhad no effective ally with which it could oppose the Government. Allthe Labour Party could do was speak out against the Governmentand, as Stresemann recognized, "the policy of Lord Curzon and LordDerby [would not] be influenced to any considerable extent by thespeeches of the Labour Opposition in England."143The situation within the British government made it unlikely thatBritain would choose an anti-French policy in 1923. Britishpoliticians adopted the same set of beliefs that had led the Britishpublic to conclude that it was impossible to take the German side inthe Ruhr conflict. This attitude was only reinforced by the greateramount of information available to British politicians. As well, therifts in the Conservative and Liberal Parties made it unlikely thatBritain would choose an active policy.49B. The Strategic SituationBritain was in a very weak position compared to France in 1923.The international situation made it difficult for Britain to act. Manyhistorians have argued that it was this difficulty which preventedBritain from helping Germany in 1923. It has been shown inprevious chapters that this was not the case. Britain did not desire toact in favour of Germany. However, it is true that Britain wouldhave found it difficult to help Germany, had she wanted to, becauseof the strategic situation.Britain had little room to maneuver because of her position withregard to France. France was dominant militarily and strategically."The French knew perfectly well that there was no British forcewhich could prevent their doing what they pleased in Germany."144The French had a much larger army than the British and ten times asmany military aircraft in Europe. Furthermore, the British Army wasnot motivated to oppose France. The British General Staff continuedto see the French as their main allies and the Germans as their mainthreat.145 This is demonstrated by the fact that in October 1922 itbecame compulsory for members of the British Navy to learnFrench.146 The Guardian stated that the British and French Armieslooked ahead to "when they might go again to meet the Germanfoe."147In addition, France was almost entirely self reliant regardingfoodstuffs and other important materials. The Times recognized that"France can easily bear for an indefinite period any sacrifices whichthe Ruhr occupation may impose."148 There was "nothing that50[Britain] could threaten her with, even if she wanted to."149Furthermore, once France and Belgium were entrenched in the Ruhr,it is hard to imagine a physical act that could have removed themwithout significantly damaging British interests. It is easy to seewhy Lord D'Abernon concluded, "If England uninvited, takes theinitiative of intervention, it will be resented and will lead tonothing."150Britain's inferior position was evident in at least one other way.Throughout the last months of 1922 and during the first six monthsof 1923 Britain was in dispute with Turkey. Britain had supportedGreece during the war between Turkey and Greece in 1922. At theend of 1922 it appeared that armed conflict between Turkey and theAllies (or perhaps just between Turkey and Britain) might erupt atany time. The peace talks at Lausanne dragged on until June of1923. Every time an agreement was reached, something happenedto upset the situation. It became evident that whenever it appearedFrance would not support the British position, the Turks made bolderdemands. Britain certainly did not want war in the Middle East butshe did not want to give up her many strategic holdings in the regioneither. Britain wanted to maintain the neutrality of the Straits anddid not wish to relinquish Iraq (particularly the oil fields aroundMosul) or any of her other Middle Eastern possessions. The resultwas that Britain was very anxious for French support in negotiationswith Turkey.151 In January the Guardian reported that Bonar Lawhad "been at pains to prevent the rupture from prejudicing thenegotiations at Lausanne."152 If Britain had chosen a policy which51aggravated France, it is quite possible that the United Kingdom wouldnot have had any support in her negotiations with Turkey.Other aspects of the international situation also discouragedBritain from choosing a policy counter to French desires. During1923 both Italy and the United States proved that they would bedifficult partners in any joint policy. The United States had movedtowards a policy of isolation at the end of World War One. Shequickly washed her hands of the entire Ruhr situation by pulling hertroops out of Coblenz in early January. Communication from theUnited States indicated that America was unlikely to take part ineven a discussion about the occupation.153 In February Britain wasinformed by the American Secretary of State that, "Public opinion [inthe United States] is tending more and more to support France in herdealing with Germany."154 Cornebise believes that all during 1923"American opinion was still strongly pro-French."155 Anothernegative factor was residual hostility towards Britain for puttingpressure on America via the Balfour note and in subsequent debtfunding negotiations. Britain hoped that the United States wouldforgive some or all of her debts, and was unwilling to pressureAmerica for any further concessions.Italy on the other hand, usually projected an appearance ofgenerally agreeing with British policies.156 However, Mussolini cameto power in Italy shortly before the Ruhr occupation began, and thedirection the Fascists would take was still unclear. Britain remaineddoubtful about the success of any British-Italian cooperation. Thishesitation proved wise: Italy's conflict with Greece in September,52and later with Yugoslavia, revealed Mussolini's true character.Britain's isolation, combined with the British feeling that she couldnot act alone, made a dramatic policy initiative difficult tocontemplate.Other aspects of British foreign relations also made an activepolicy in the Ruhr struggle unlikely. Britain was involved in difficultnegotiations not only with Turkey in 1923, but also with the SovietUnion. Britain was heavily involved in India as well. On the homefront, Ireland had recently received its independence and was in astate of civil war. All these areas of controversy attracted publicattention and distracted Britain from events in the Ruhr.Furthermore, these matters occupied a significant number of theForeign Affairs' officials. One author explains that Lord Curzonstopped being a thorn in the side of France in September when hewent on vacation to write a book about India.157 Furtherdistractions, also in September, were the civil unrest in Spain, andthe earthquake in Japan. To many people the Ruhr conflict was justone of many 'issues of the day' and though it warranted specialattention, Britain could not neglect her other interests.C. The British EconomyThe economic situation in Britain also led to diminished interest inopposing France. The most prevalent argument against the wisdomof France's occupation of the Ruhr was that it could be economicallydevastating for all of Europe. The common belief was that the Ruhr53occupation would hamper trade and would destroy internationalbusiness confidence. This belief prevailed in Britain throughout theRuhr crisis. Surprisingly, "to the British economy [the occupation]brought great, if temporary, gains; with the Ruhr coal-mines at astandstill Britain's coal exports were recovered to a high andlucrative volume, and unemployment was diminished."158 Thiseconomic boom was evident in Britain from the beginning of theoccupation. On 27 January the Economist stated that "the net effect[of the Ruhr occupation] may be favourable for British trade."159Two months later the Economist said, "So far as the economic reactionon Great Britain is concerned, it appears that up to the present thefavourable effect considerably outweighs any opposite influences."160In April the Daily Express also pointed out "how the Ruhr situation[was] benefitting British trade [and] had a distinctly beneficial effecton British industry and employment."161 Even after more than sixmonths of the occupation the Economist (which had predicted thatthe occupation would be catastrophic for the British economy) had toadmit, "It is true that the volume of production here is much largerthan a year ago, and the figures of trade in June . . . compare quitefavourably with last year, and indeed with the figures for thebeginning of 1923."162 This upturn in the British economy certainlyundermined the arguments of those who spoke out against the Ruhroccupation from an economic point of view.The economic situation within Britain combined with Britain'sinternational involvement and her strategic limitations madeimplementation of any aggressive anti-French policies unlikely.54Britain was isolated and weak compared to France. She could nothave dislodged France from its position. Distractions from within andfrom without Britain made it even less likely that she would adoptan aggressive interventionist policy.These are not, however, the only reasons for Britain's inactionduring 1923. Britain's difficult situation is only one factor. It is alsosignificant that Britain did not desire to help Germany any more thanshe desired to oppose France. Britain's desires, beliefs, and positioncombined to make it impossible for her to contemplate aidingGermany in the first nine months of 1923.55Chapter 5: The Closing StagesA. SummerThe Summer of 1923 is often considered a unique time in Franco-British relations. Until then, the British Government remained almostcompletely silent about events in the Ruhr. Beginning on 13 June,when Britain sent its questionnaire to Belgium and France, a periodof negotiation set in. By mid-July British foreign policy took on aneven more aggressive nature as she issued her suggested joint replyto Germany. On 12 July both Baldwin and Curzon gave speecheswhich reiterated the British position and demanded that Britain notbe ignored in any final settlement. By August, notes were passingbetween the Allies on a regular basis and politicians on both sides ofthe Channel gave speeches with increasingly unpleasant tones. TheBritish note of 11 August boldly stated, "His Majesty's Governmenthave at no time contemplated, and don't now contemplate, thatGermany shall be relieved from all reparation payments. They aredetermined that Germany shall pay up to the maximum of hercapacity, the reparation to which Great Britain, equally with theother Allied Powers, is entitled, and which is needed to make goodthe losses sustained by this country in common with her Allies." Thenote also argued that Britain had not forgiven her inter-Allied debtsand that British losses in trade and shipping during the First WorldWar were just as significant as Belgian and French material losses.1635 6The press joined the Government in emphasizing how important itwas that Britain not be excluded from any settlement during thesummer of 1923. As the Guardian pointed out on 10 August, thepress commonly believed that it "was now too late to saveGermany." 164 Parts of the press thought that it was time to "make[Britain's] position unmistakably clear."165 The Times stated, "Thiscountry is as firm as ever in its demand that Germany shall payreparations up to the limit of her capacity to pay. The suspicionsometimes expressed in France that we are ready in the supposedinterests of our trade to forgive Germany her debt is whollyunfounded."166 The Guardian emphatically insisted, "We shallreceive, either from Germany, or from France, or from both together,the full equivalent of our debt to America [because] the BritishGovernment will never consent to pay reparations out of Britishpockets."167 In August the Daily Express said, "Whatsoever mayhappen we must hold fast to our claim against Germany. We maywait for years before we can squeeze the German pips until theysqueak, they may never squeak 2, 600, 000, 000 pounds, butwhatever they squeak, let us make sure of our share of thesqueak." 168 In late September, after Stresemann had called an endto passive resistance, the Spectator declared that "France has won inthe Ruhr" and that Britain and France must now deal with "the realproblem, which is how to extract money from Germany."169Parts of the press even began to suggest that the Governmentdisavow the Balfour note. The Daily Chronicle argued that theGovernment should no longer consider reducing debts due to Britainas low as the amount she owed to America.170 It claimed that, unlike57Britain, both Germany and France were "rich and prosperous."171Britain should therefore claim the right to collect the full amount ofreparations and debts due her. It was thought that this would finallygive the British Government a useful tool for leverage in anynegotiations.On the surface it appears that relations between France andBritain took a turn for the worst in the summer of 1923. However,this increase in friction was due only to Britain's concern for her ownbest interests and did not indicate a more pro-German outlook. Shefeared that Germany might settle separately with France andBelgium, leaving Britain out. It has already been established thatBritain could not sway France from any policy about which Francefelt strongly. It is only natural that Britain did not want to bedisregarded in any final settlement.The reaction within Britain to the attempts by the Governmentand the press to reestablish Britain's international position alsoindicates that Britain was not becoming anti-French. The DailyHerald describes how Baldwin's speech of 12 July was cheered bythe Opposition, frequently cheered, almost continuously cheered. Itwas coldly received by his own side . . . and on all the Governmentbenches there was an almost sullen refusal to applaud."172 TheObserver also noted that there was an expectation that theConservative Party would replace Baldwin with someone who wouldnot be so callous toward the French.173 Lord Derby thought that theideas in the speech were too extreme.^He requested that furthercommunications with France be conducted by someone less anti-French than Lord Curzon.17458The note of 11 August also lacked support within Britain. It hasalready been mentioned that Lord Derby threatened to resign overthat note. Austen Chamberlain, expected by many to be the nextPrime Minister, denounced the 11 August note as unduly harmful tothe Entente.175 This is despite the fact that the British note simplyrestated the British point of view and the British claim.One further peculiar feature of the summer of 1923 demonstratesagain that Britain was not growing pro-German at this time. Itbecame increasingly common to view the potential collapse orfracture of Germany as insignificant. This indifference first appearsin Bonar Law's statement of January 1923: "If the rest of the worldwere normal and Germany were to disappear under the sea, GreatBritain would be better off than before, because German competitionwould be removed."176 However, looking at German collapse "withapproval [was] a point of view which . . . had not occurred to anyone"again until July.177 As the summer wore on German collapse andGerman dismemberment were more frequently viewed withindifference. In September Stresemann said that he "had heard withregret that part of the English Press had expressed the view thatEngland had really no great interest in German unity, and that theGermans had been very well content at the time when they were stillHanoverians, Saxons and Prussians."178 This idea never had thesupport of more than a minority of British newspapers but itsgrowing acceptance demonstrated the lack of sympathy Britain hadfor German conditions in the summer of 1923.59It became clear as early as January 1923 that Britain was notgoing to help Germany during the Ruhr crisis. It would be ludicrousto assume that after six months of neutrality Britain would suddenlyhave supported Germany. The fact that the British Governmentbecame somewhat more critical of French policy in the summer of1923 does not mean that Britain was moving closer to the Germanposition. The British, in both the press and the government, merelybegan to insist on an adequate share of reparations and a right to bepart of any final settlement. The British attempts to champion theirown cause demonstrated no sympathy for Germany.B. ConclusionsThere was never any chance of Britain championing the cause ofGermany in 1923. Neither could she have taken any actions thatwere overtly harmful to the French. It was not only theinternational situation that stopped Britain from assuming anaggressive interventionist attitude; her internal beliefs and attitudesprohibited this possibility.Historians have often misinterpreted Britain's inaction in 1923.The fact that Britain openly criticized the wisdom of the occupationand that the press and parliament encouraged the Government to "dosomething" has led some to conclude that Britain wished to opposethe occupation actively. However, displeasure with the occupationdid not make any of the British political parties oppose France.Britain rebuffed all German attempts to establish close contacts.60Britain lent a certain degree of tactical support to the occupation. Inall of her actions Britain demonstrated that she would never supportthe German cause.Britain would not consider any sort of alliance with Germanyprimarily because of internal factors. Affection for France andanimosity towards Germany was still part of day-to-day attitudes inBritain. Newspapers across the political spectrum demonstrated thatBritain still felt that the Franco-British Entente was valuable andunshakeable. This feeling was not destroyed by the Britishdenunciation of the French action in the Ruhr.^On 6 October 1923the Spectator said, "We [the British] have run the risk of appearing tobe the enemies of France and not what we are, her true friends."179The British condemnation of the occupation also did not change theBritish feelings towards Germany. As the Times stated, "We maycondemn the French without necessarily taking the part of Germany.. . British disapproval of the French operation in the Ruhr does notmean that the British nation is leaning to the side of Germany or thatit is prepared to lend Germany aid in the conflict."180 Popularattitudes within Britain such as the desire for reparations and a fearof isolation only enhanced Britain's determination not to opposeFrance. Neutrality was the only option and it was widely supportedboth by the people and the British Government.The Government found itself constrained by these popular views;its choices of possible action were also limited by several otherfactors. The Conservatives had to appease the Die-hard supporters ofFrance in their ranks. The Liberal Party was divided and could not6 1offer any effective resistance to the policy of "benevolent neutrality"(even if they had wanted to).The Government was also constrained by the larger strategicsituation. Britain had no hope of getting international supportagainst the French during the first nine months of the Ruhr struggle,except possibly from an unpredictable Italy. Britain was furtherdistracted by events in Ireland and India and by difficult relationswith the Soviet Union and Turkey. Furthermore, she needed Frenchsupport to ensure her interests in the Middle East. Not only wasopinion against aggressive intervention, but internal and externalsituations made that possibility even less appealing.In the summer of 1923 Franco-British relations seemed toworsen. In truth, Britain was simply reasserting her own positionand demanding her share of any settlement as the struggle in theRuhr neared completion. This change should not be interpreted as ashift in British sympathies; both British public statements and theflow of opinion in Britain demonstrated that she was even lesssympathetic to the German cause.Britain had no desire to help Germany during the first ninemonths of 1923. She faced a barrier of opinions and attitudes whichdemanded that she do nothing to aid the German cause. This,combined with the difficult situation which Britain faced, precludedaggressive intervention.62Footnotes1Hermann Rupieper, The Cuno Government and Reparations 1922-1923 Politics and Economic (Princeton:^Princeton University Press, 1988), pp. 131-135.2W.N. Medlicott, British Foreign Policy Since Versailles 1919-1963, 2ded. (London: Methuen and Company, 1968), p. 51.3Manchester Guardian Weekly, 22 June 1923, p. 491.4Manchester Guardian Weekly, 21 September 1923, p. 228.5Erich Eyck, A History of the Weimar Republic, trans. Harlan P.Hanson Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962), vol. 2, p. 232.6Gordon A. Craig, Germany 1866-1945 (New York: Oxford UniversityPress, 1978), p. 447.7Anne Orde, Great Britain and International Security 1920-1926(London: Royal Historical Society, 1978), p. 51.8Martin Gilbert, The Roots of Appeasement (London: Cox and Wyman,1966), p. 102.9Ibid., p. 100.10paul Hayes, The Twentieth Century 1880-1939: Modern BritishForeign Policy (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1978), p. 224."John Hiden, Germany and Europe 1919-1939 (London: LongmanGroup, 1977), p. 53.1 2Rupieper, The Cuno Government, pp. 118-225.13Ibid.14Times Daily, 4 August 1923, p. 8.15Manchester Guardian Weekly, 21 September 1923, p. 229.6316Manchester Guardian Weekly, 10 August 1923, p. II.17Alfred E. Cornebise, The Weimar In Crisis: Cuno's Germans and theRuhr Occupation (Washington: University Press of America, 1977), p. 217.18Medlicott, British Foreign Policy, p. 51.19There was one officially Communist M. P. elected in November 1922.As well, several Labour Members of Parliament were considered to beCommunists running under the Labour banner."Alan Wood, The True History of Lord Beaverbrook (London: WilliamHeinemann, 1965), p. 174.21E. E. Reynolds and N. H. Brasher, Britain in the Twentieth Century1900-1964 (London: Longmans, Green and Company, 1954), p. 118.22Stephen Koss, The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain, vol.2, The Twentieth Century (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1984), p. 423.23Kenneth 0. Morgan, Lloyd George Family Letters 1885-1936 (London:Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 200.24Manchester Guardian Weekly, 27 April 1923, p. 325.25London Daily Telegraph, 11 December 1922, p. 10.26Cornebise, Weimar in Crisis, p. 406.27Earl of Ronaldshay, The Life of Lord Curzon, vol. 3 (London: ErnestBenn, 1928), p. 344.28Lord D'Abernon, An Ambassador of Peace, vol.2, The Years of CrisisJune 1922-December 1923 (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1929), p. 111.29L. S. Amery, My Political Life, vol. 2, War and Peace 1914-1929(London: Hutchinson and Company, 1953), p. 248.30Manchester Guardian Daily, 24 August 1922, p. 7.31Economist, 16 March 1923, p. 579.32In truth the results of these votes were due to natural fluctuations.Parliament had voluntary attendance and some votes were bound to go poorlyfor the Conservatives. These votes did not demonstrate a sudden shift againstthe government's position on the Ruhr occupation.33Manchester Guardian Weekly, 15 June 1923, p. 466.64341t wasn't until 6 March that an editorial suggested any serious policyalternative to complete neutrality.35Manchester Guardian Weekly,  23 February 1923, p. 141.36Spectator, 13 January 1923, p. 41.37Spectator, 24 February 1923, p. 313.38Trevor Wilson, ed., The Political Diaries of C. P. Scott 1911-1928(London: Collins Clear-Type Press, 1970), p. 438.39Manchester Guardian Weekly,  23 February 1923, P. 142."London Daily Herald, 26 January 1923, p. 1.41Manchester Guardian Weekly,  2 March 1923, p. 161.42Manchester Guardian Weekly, 20 April 1923, p. 310.43London Daily Herald, 12 February 1923, p. 1.44London Daily Herald, 19 April 1923, p. 1.45London Daily Herald,  16 July 1923, p. 1.46Economist, 24 February 1923, p. 429.47Comebise, Weimar in Crisis, p. 292.48D'Abernon, Ambassador of Peace, p. 247.49Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1st series, vol. 21 (London: HerMajesty's Stationery Office), p. 52.50Times Daily, 19 January 1923, p. 11.51Rupieper, The Cuno Government, p. 133.52DBFP, vol. 21, pp. 222-223.53D'Abemon, Ambassador of Peace, p. 207.54Manchester Guardian Weekly, 27 July 1923, p. 64.55Times Daily, 9 August 1923, p. 9.6556London Daily Express, 10 August 1923, P. 1.57Manchester Guardian Weekly,  12 October 1923, p. 289.58Times Weekly, 10 May 1923, p. 484.59Economist, 11 August 1923, p. 211."London Daily Telegraph, 15 August 1922, p. 8.61Spectator, 6 January 1923, p. 5.62London Daily Express, 20 January, 1923, p. 4.63London Daily Chronicle, 25 January, 1923, p. 2.64London Daily Express, 6 February, 1923, p. 5.65London Daily Herald, 28 April 1923, p. 1.66Worker's Weekly, 17 March 1923, p. 1.67London Daily Express, 22 February 1923, p. 1.68Times Daily, 7 July 1923, p. 10.69Times Weekly, 7 June 1923, p. 580."Observer, 5 August 1923, p. 8.71Economist, 3 March 1923, p. 480.72Colin Seymour-Ure, "The Press and the Party Sytem between theWars," chap. in The Politics of Reappraisal 1918-1939  (London: MacmillanPress, 1975), p. 23773London Daily Herald, 24 August 1923, p. 1.74London Daily Herald, 18 August 1923, p. 3.75Spectator, 20 January 1923, p. 95.76Times Daily, 16 February 1923, p. 11.77Spectator, 6 January 1923, p. 5.66780bserver, 9 December 1922, P. 12.79Manchester Guardian Weekly, 28 July 1923, p. 75."Manchester Guardian Weekly, 11 August 1923, p. 110.810bserver, 29 October 1922, p. 7.82London Daily Telegraph,  28 August 1922, p. 8.83Cornebise, Weimar in Crisis, p. 215.84Economist, 30 December 1922, p. 1207.85London Daily Express,  13 August 1923, p. 6.86London Daily Telegraph, 11 January 1923, p. 8.87Times Daily, 27 July 1923, p. 11.88Times Daily, 3 July 1923, p. 15.89London Daily Telegraph, 1 August 1922, p. 6."Observer, 14 January 1923, p. 12.91Times Weekly, 12 October 1922, p. 256.92Spectator, 6 January 1923, p. 5.93London Daily Chronicle, 19 January 1923, p. 22.94Manchester Guardian Weekly,  20 April 1923, p. III.95London Daily Chronicle, 16 April 1923, p. 2.960bserver, 7 March 1923, p. 7.97London Daily Telegraph,  16 August 1923, p. 8.98Economist, 20 January 1923, p. 88.99Manchester Guardian Weekly, 26 January 1923, p. 64.100DBFP, vol. 21, p. 54.67101Times Weekly, 22 March 1923, P. 291.102London Daily Telegraph, 25 August 1922, p. 8.103London Daily Express, 20 March 1923, p. 10.104Times Weekly, 9 December 1922, p. 11.105Manchester Guardian Daily, 9 August 1922, p. 7.106Times Weekly, 17 May 1923, p. 512.107Times Daily, 13 July 1923, p. 13.lnLondon Daily Express, 10 November 1922, p. 1.109William McElwee, Britain's Locust Years 1918-1940 (London: Faberand Faber, 1962), p. 78.110L. C. B. Seaman, Post-Victorian Britain 1902-1951 (London: Methuenand Company, 1966), p. 153.111Economist, 30 December 1923, p. 1207.112Times Daily, 5 January 1923, p. 11.1130bserver, 7 January 1923, p. 12.114Time-s Daily, 12 January 1923, P. 9.115London Daily Herald, 12 March 1923, p. 1.116Times Daily, 19 April 1923, p. 13.117London Daily Express, 17 July, 1923, p. 1.118London Daily Express, 3 August 1923, p. 6.119Manchester Guardian Daily, 17 August 1922, p. 6.120Manchester Guardian Weekly, 6 July 1923, p. 2.1210bserver, 5 August 1923, p. 8.122London Daily Telegraph, 11 January 1923, p. 8.123London Daily Chronicle, 2 May 1923, p. 6.68124Koss, Political Press in Britain, p. 413.125Spectator, 24 February 1923, p. 324.126Guardian Weekly, 19 January 1923, p. 42.127Manchester Guardian Weekly, 19 January 1923, p. 51.128A. W. Baldwin, My Father: The True Story (London: George Allenand Unwin, 1955), p. 119.129Comebise, Weimar in Crisis, p. 214.130Eric Sutton, ed. and trans., Gustav Stresemann:^His Diaries. Letters.and Papers, vol. 1 (London: Macmillan and Company, 1935), p. 55.131D'Abemon, Ambassador of Peace, p. 139132Times Weekly, 1 March 1923, p, 227.133DBFP, vol. 21, p. 25.134Manchester Guardian Weekly, 11 May 1923, p. 362.135DBFP, vol. 21, p. 148.136A. J. P. Taylor, English History 1914-1945 (Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress, 1965), p. 196.137Manchester Guardian Weekly, 10 August 1923, p. 104.138London Daily Herald, 6 August 1923, p. 1.139Randolph S. Churchill, Lord Derby "King of Lancashire" (London:William Heinemann, 1959), p. 515.140Robert Rhodes James, The British Revolution: British Politics 1880- 1939, vol.2, From Asquith to Chamberlain 1914-1939 (London: HamishHamilton, 1977), pp. 170-171.141Manchester Guardian Weekly, 3 August 1923, p. 85.142Birkenhead, Earl of Birkenhead, p. 212.69143Gustav Stresemann, Essays and Speeches on Various Subjects,translated by Christopher R. Turner (London:^Thornton Butterworth, 1930), p.140.144Rupieper, The Cuno Government, p. 118.1450rde, Great Britain and International Security, p. 66.146Manchester Guardian Weekly, 6 October 1922, p. III.147Manchester Guardian Weekly, 17 November 1923, p. 399.148Times Weekly, 24 March 1923, p. 534.149Manchester Guardian Weekly, 6 July 1923, p. 2.150D'Abernon, Ambassador of Peace, p. 188.151London Daily Chronicle, 25 May 1923, p. 6.152Manchester Guardian Weekly, 12 January 1923, p. 21.153Manchester Guardian Weekly, 9 March 1923, P. 183.154DBFP, vol. 21, p. 94.155Comebise, Weimar in Crisis, p. 216.156However the London Daily Herald reported on 7 July 1923 (p. 3) thata fascist newspaper claimed that Italy and Britain were only in agreementabout the Ruhr occupation and that the two countries were in conflict in allother ways.157Sir Harold George Nicolson, Curzon: The Last Phase (London:Constable and Company, 1937), p. 368.158Charles Loch Mowat, Britain Between the Wars 1918-1940 (London:Methuen and Company, 1955), p. 158.159conomist, 27 January 1923, p. 131.160Economist, 3 March 1923, p. 479.161London Daily Express, 4 April 1923, p. 6.162Economist, 21 July 1923, p. 87.70163Manchester Guardian Weekly, 17 August 1923, pp. 141-142.1 64This, as has been argued elsewhere in the essay, was not alwaystrue. 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