Lloyd George, who had led Britain through the latter half of the First World War, was also the main inspiration behind Britain's policy over the peace settlement which was put together between 1919 and 1920. Thereafter, British foreign policy was under the direction of Lord Curzon (Foreign Secretary 1919-24), Ramsay MacDonald (Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary 1924), Austen Chamberlain (Foreign Secretary 1924-9), and Henderson (Foreign Secretary 1929-31).
This chapter focuses on three main themes. How effective was Britain's contribution to the Treaty of Versailles-and to what extent was this settlement fundamentally flawed? How powerful was Britain during the immediate post-war period, and what was her role in developing the policy of collective security after the construction of the peace settlement? Finally, where do Britain's relations with Soviet Russia fit into British foreign policy generally? Were they, as many textbooks seem to imply, peripheral to the mainstream: or did they play a vital role in directing the mainstream?
Even though Britain's participation in the peace negotiations was more carefully discussed and prepared than her entry into the First World War, there was still a bewildering array of cross-currents affecting the British delegation at Paris during the course of 1918 and 1919.
It has been shown by A.J.P. Taylor, M.L. Dockrill and J.D. Gould that Lloyd George was under considerable pressure to come to a just settlement with Germany. This was due partly to the liberal influences exerted by the United States delegation and partly to the need to show something positive for three to four years of slaughter. Hence, in a speech on 5 January 1918, Lloyd George stressed that any settlement