The present work is the outcome of research commenced five years ago on the Problem of French Security at the Paris Peace Conference. The completion of the work on this subject in the early months of 1940 coincided with an invitation from Chatham House to undertake a study of 'Anglo-French Relations in response to the German Problem' during the inter-war period. The request was made that I should explore the difficulties encountered in Anglo-French relations in the working out of the peace settlement. It seemed evident that no such analytical treatment would be possible save within a range extending from the formulation of war aims in 1914-1918 to the outbreak of the present war. For that reason it was agreed that I should merge the substance of the earlier work in the present Chatham House study.
This note is included in explanation of the scope and the plan of the present work. It is not designed as a complete narrative history. All those aspects of Anglo-French relations which are not directly related to the problem of Germany are of set purpose, for the sake of brevity, excluded. Much is omitted that strictly belongs to the history of this central problem, in order to make possible concentration on those episodes which appear most significant and instructive. I have dwelt on the early years of the period, during which Great Britain and France possessed the initiative in European affairs, and have skipped lightly over the events immediately preceding the present war, when Great Britain and France stood on the defensive. It is not to the closing years that the historian must turn in the search for such guidance as history offers to the understanding of the problems of European settlement.
It is impossible for me to express here my appreciation of the help received from all those by whose advice I have benefited. I cannot, however, refrain from making mention of those to whom I am most indebted: Professor C. K. Webster, whose constant encouragement kept me to my task which pressure of daily work would otherwise have caused me to abandon in its early stages; Professor P. Vaucher, for much helpful criticism; and my wife, without whose never-failing help and understanding this work could not have been continued nor brought to completion.
In accordance with the established practice of Chatham House, complete freedom has been granted me to exercise my own judgment in the writing of this book. Mine accordingly is the entire responsibility for all statements of fact and expressions of opinion.
W. M. JORDAN.