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Title: The making of Imperial Defence policy in Britain, 1926-1934
Author: Babij, Orest
ISNI:       0000 0000 5279 0690
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2003
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Although the period between 1926 and 1934 was relatively peaceful, Imperial Defence policy-making in Britain focused on threats along the periphery of the Empire. This included a short-lived, but serious concern over Communist expansion in China and Afghanistan and a fear that American naval construction would undermine the Royal Navy's position in the world. The first threat receded by 1928 and the second was met by negotiating the highly successful London Naval Conference of 1930. Throughout these years, the need to reorient the Imperial Defence system to meet a perceived Japanese threat in the Far East, and the Treasury's opposition to the very idea, remained constants within policy-making circles. The world-wide depression led to serious defence cutbacks which the services met largely by cutting back even further on war reserves and mobilization potential. The Japanese assault on Manchuria in 1931, and then in Shanghai in 1932, exposed the inability of the Imperial Defence system to meet a Far Eastern threat. This led to pressure from the navy, in particular, for an increase in service estimates, but the economic situation and the World Disarmament Conference kept the government from agreeing to any significant change in policy. From 1931-193, Imperial Defence concerns were centred on the Far East, but Hitler‘s rise to power in March 1933 turned attention hack toward Europe. Nevertheless, the first large-scale review of Imperial defence deficiencies, the Defence Requirements Sub-Committee, presented a report which balanced the needs of European and Far Eastern defence. In the spring of l934. however, the Cabinet found itself unable to come to a consensus on the DRC's recommendations and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Neville Chamberlain, stepped forward with his own defence vision. He discounted the need for Far Eastern defence and re-oriented defence policy toward homeland defence. It was his intervention that set the tone for British rearmament in the 1930s.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Great Britain--Colonies--Defenses ; Great Britain--Military policy ; Great Britain--Politics and government--1910-1936 ; defence ; imperial ; military ; policy ; Britain ; colonies