The Locarno Treaties. Consequences on British 
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Tratatele de la Locarno. Consecinţe asupra politicii britanice în Europa
The Locarno Treaties. Consequences on British Policy in Europe

Author(s): Bogdan Schipor
Subject(s): History
Published by: Institutul de Istorie Nicolae Iorga
Keywords: Locarno Treaties; International Relations; borders; British diplomacy; Central and South-Eastern Europe.

Summary/Abstract: Locarno was probably the most important success of British appeasement in the 1920s and appeared to have pleased everybody. The French were satisfied that the Germans admitted having lost Alsace and Lorraine, the Rhineland remained demilitarized, the Eastern European alliances were functional and could continue to exert their dominance on the continent. Italy broke out of diplomatic isolation and seemed to regain its place among the great world powers. The Germans were now protected against a new seizure of the Ruhr, being treated as equals and granted the right to have the situation of their Eastern borders revised. In fact, the Western reconciliation of Germany almost compensated for its foreign policy in the East. There lay the real problem of Europe that all the great powers denied. This attitude is the more obvious in the case of Great Britain, as the Locarno conference turned it into Europe’s referee and granted it once more the leading role of striking the right balance in terms of power control on the old continent. Nevertheless, from this position, Great Britain refused to guarantee the Germany Eastern borders. Germany was free to do anything it desired in the East as long as peace was ensured in the West. This can be seen as a reconfirmation and, at the same time, recognition of the fact that Germany had been decisively defeated in the West, in the Great War, but that it was triumphant in the East. Moreover, guaranteeing the German Western borders and the Rhineland was seen by Great Britain only as a moral obligation that would never have to materialize and which could paradoxically prevent any military cooperation with France as long as it remained valid. Thus Locarno significantly divided the European countries into countries with and without guaranteed borders, whereas the Rhineland guarantee exonerated London from any obligation in Eastern Europe and excluded British involvement in favor of any Eastern European ally of France, much less of any ally of Poland. Moreover, the presence of Moscow in both Locarno and the League of Nations was necessary for ensuring the security and stability of the Central and Eastern European countries. This is the reason why the British diplomacy did not consider the treaties ratified by Poland and Czechoslovakia as tantamount to those ratified by the Western nations. In other words, Great Britain was not ready at that time and under those circumstances

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 16-24
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: Romanian