Collective Security and American Foreign Policy: From the League of Nations to NATO

By Roland N. Stromberg | Go to book overview

V. The Collapse of European Security: 1933-36

The American Retreat from Europe

THE YEAR of Japan's condemnation and withdrawal from the League became more notable for other events. In 1933, one era of history ended, and another began. Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, Franklin D. Roosevelt assumed the American Presidency. This and the following chapter deal with the breakdown of European security under the hammer blows of Hitler, and with the reaction of the United States to these events abroad--both involving the concept and the practice, or nonpractice, of collective security.

On October 14, Germany withdrew from the Disarmament Conference at Geneva and, simultaneously, from the League of Nations. In 1932 and 1933, there had been desperate efforts to stave off such a breakdown of European security. The central problem, that of Germany and her nonacceptance of the unfortunate Treaty of Versailles, had existed ever since 1919. "In seventeen years of peace we have never had a really peaceful atmosphere, with the possible exception of the few months following the signing of the Locarno Treaties," one of the shrewdest of American diplomats wrote from Europe in 1935.1 The ice had seemed to be melting slightly under the warmth of the personalities of Aristide Briand and Gustav Stresemann in the 1920's (upon Stresemann's death in 1930, Ambassador Charles Dawes said that "he remade Europe"). But with the passing of these giants and the onset of the great depression, the problem again assumed glacial proportions.

American and British opinion was anti-French and pro-German for a considerable time. That the Versailles Treaty could not possibly be continued indefinitely, that there was a moral obligation to bring its discriminatory features to an end, and that France was wholly

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Collective Security and American Foreign Policy: From the League of Nations to NATO
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • I - Peace by Force? 3
  • II - Wilson and the League of Nations 22
  • III - America and World Peace in the 1920's 46
  • IV - The United States and the "Rape of Manchuria" 66
  • V - The Collapse of European Security: 1933-36 87
  • VI - Neutrality, Collective Security, and War: 1937-40 109
  • VII - American Entrance into the War 137
  • VIII - The Four Policemen 156
  • IX - The Second Failure 186
  • X - Collective Security in the Nuclear Age 213
  • XI - Concluding Analysis 230
  • Postscript 249
  • Notes 253
  • Bibliography 279
  • Index 293
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