Germany and the Far Eastern Crisis, 1931-1938: A Study in Diplomacy and Ideology

Germany and the Far Eastern Crisis, 1931-1938: A Study in Diplomacy and Ideology

Germany and the Far Eastern Crisis, 1931-1938: A Study in Diplomacy and Ideology

Germany and the Far Eastern Crisis, 1931-1938: A Study in Diplomacy and Ideology

Excerpt

This book examines the part played by the German Foreign Office, the Wilhelmstrasse, in the making of Germany's Far Eastern policy from 1931 to 1938 with particular reference to the Nazi period. The history of Germany's position and relationships in the Far East, from the outbreak of the Manchurian Crisis in September 1931 to the withdrawal of the German Ambassador to China in the summer of 1938, covers a progression from a situation of fairly equal and mutual relations with China and Japan, somewhat economically weighted in China's direction and from September 1931 termed 'neutrality', to one of gradual commitment to Japan. How this occurred is examined here from the viewpoint of the Wilhelmstrasse, the Ministry usually but not always looked to for advice, guidance, and leadership in the making of German foreign policy.

In many respects the establishment of the National Socialist régime in Germany in 1933 presented the German Foreign Office with no new problems in so far as its constitutional function and political position regarding the formulation and execution of foreign policy was concerned. Its primary function was to proffer advice to the political leadership of the country and to execute the general lines of policy decided by that leadership. This had been its function before 1933, and the Hitler government was no exception to the general rule that overall lines of policy were decided and dictated at the top and left to others for detailed execution. Under democratic régimes this process of decision making in foreign and domestic policy--in which the officials of the Foreign Office expected to play their full part because of their professional experience, knowledge, and expertise--had often confronted the Foreign Office and other Ministries with the problem that 'outsiders' would be employed by the government for the formulation and even the execution of policies. From January 1933, with the institution of the 'anarchic-impulsive dictatorship', when Hitler not only permitted but positively encouraged inter-personal and inter-departmental rivalry as a means of ensuring the maintenance of his authority and . . .

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