Using these four passages and your own knowledge, asses the view that international diplomacy failed to achieve stability in Europe from 1919 to 1930. According to most of the interpretations, international diplomacy wasn’t the reason to why there was stability in Europe between 1919 to 1930. After the First World War many countries were unstable and economically drained. However the League of Nations and the Treaty of Versailles were put in place to make sure that another war would not occur again and that Germany pays for the First World War. According to interpretation D, the American historian Donald Kagan agrees with the statement that international diplomacy failed to achieve stability in Europe. This is because according to Kagan that the peace treaties made between 1919 and 1930 were ‘insubstantial international agreements’ implying that it lacked any strategy and strength meaning it was a waste of time because many countries, Germany being one of them were either not following the rules within these treaties or the treaties themselves were ‘weak and misguided’.
For example the Germans through the treaty of Versailles were demilitarised, their army was reduced only 100,000 and they had a very small fleet conscription was abolished however despite that Germany signed a secret treaty with Russia in 1922 called the Rapallo treaty. This treaty was signed in Italy it was cooperation between the two countries Germany gave Russia coal and iron whilst in return the Germans were able to train their troops in Russia and also the Russians were building weapons for them. This was an act of disobedience and also evidence that the treaty of Versailles was not being followed or taken seriously failing to achieve stability. The American historian Kagan blames USA and Britain, especially Britain for not having backed France against Germany and not doing enough to defend France which in Kagans defence would have made a strong appeasement which could have possibly achieved stability. America didn’t want to involve they were isolationist. They had internal situations to look after they didn’t feel that they needed to be involved.
He continues to say that the fact that Britain encouraged the revision of the treaty because they believed that the treaty of Versailles was too harsh on Germany had given the Germans the impression that they didn’t feel that it was necessary to go along with it. In addition USA helped Germany pay its reparations ‘investment of capital in Germany’ in the form of the Dawes plan and Young plan. This encouraged Germany not to take the treaty as a punishment, ‘By the end of the 1920s Germany was essentially free of the checks imposed on it by the Versailles treaty’ this was because they had joined the league of nation in 1926, they also signed the Locarno pact in 1925 to show the rest of the world that they could be trusted even though they weren’t actually following the treaty rules the Germans still however where still resentful and angry because of the heavy punishment they had received, according to Kagan ‘almost all Germans were still resentful over the territorial settlement’ for example the Rhineland.
This implies that no matter who had been in power that war was inevitable because the German people were angry that they had to take the blame of the First World War. The German truly believed that they hadn’t lost the war due to the fact that most of the fighting was in France nothing was really destroyed. The German people saw the treaty of Versailles as a diktat they felt that they’ve been forced to sign it. Even though Germany was doing good for itself militarily and economically the fact still remained that everyone was pointing fingers at them for the cause of the war. Kagan clearly explains to us that he believes that international diplomacy failed to achieve stability in Europe as each country was dealing with what was going internally rather than Europe. On September 1929, Briand wanted to make an economic, political and social union because France could clearly see that The Treaty of Versailles was now ‘dissolving’ and that Germany wasn’t following it so therefore they needed another way in which seemed beneficial for everyone but also they could tightly regulate Germany as they were becoming powerful very quickly which agrees with interpretation D, this made France panic leading them to find a solution.
Moreover France didn’t just want an economical union instead they wanted it to also be social and political. ‘Briand attempted to enmesh Germany in a new web of European integration’ this was Frances way on keeping an eye on Germany. The French thought that the idea of interdependence meaning everyone relying on each other this would create a multi polar world and that all states would have equal power eliminating war as an option. Interpretation B likewise to interpretation D also agrees that international diplomacy was a failure. Sally Marks the historian agrees with Kagan in the sense that they both say that the treaty of Versailles and League of Nations all the organisations
which made to bring international relationship and to impose stability were failing, it was becoming irrelevant. Kagan says that due to the Dawes and young plan it ‘put an end to Versailles’ the historian Marks says that the ‘old sanctions were dissolving’ meaning that nobody was paying attention to it.
For example the USA wasn’t in Europe therefore their focus was not on Europe but on their country, Britain however had many internal issues within Britain that had to be taken care of. The use of arbitration meant that Stresseman in fact was under pressure to sign this deal so that it could make Germany look like they were changing and were willing to work together with the rest of Europe. Interpretation C agrees with both interpretation B&D. However interpretation C argues that it was due to economic prosperity in Germany which actually caused stability. ’an illusion nourished as much by the economic prosperity of the mid-1920s as by the treaty itself’ this historian argue that the stability between 1919-1930 created an illusion that it was because of the Locarno treaty that created such stability. He believes on to say that the Locarno treaty was a failure that the ‘Locarno spirit had evaporated’ this was because France and Germany didn’t really like each other which should have been signs that this was useless but they had still signed this treaty anyway.
Even though Germany had already undermined the Treaty by having a secret military agreement with Russia. This example that international diplomacy was a failure and wasn’t really a cause to why there was stability. In addition Britain like interpretation C ‘Britain implicitly repudiated responsibility for any other European frontier’ meaning that Britain didn’t care about the east, as they had other problems to take care of. They believed that the Locarno pact was an achievement and had been a success even though it ‘bore no fruit’. They wanted out of Europe because they didn’t want to be responsible for Europe any longer. This interpretation says that the Locarno pact meant different things. To Britain it meant that they could take a break from interfering in Europe and can start taking care of internal issues, for France it meant that Germany can be under a watchful eye, however for Germany Stresseman looked at it as a chance for the treaty to be revised even though he knew that they had already breached the disarmament clauses of Versailles.
Since Germany had joined the league and now this it gave the illusion that stability was going to come from it taking away any ideas of a second world war. Clearly we understand that even though all the treaties were being made they were being followed and had no one to regulate them so therefore it wasn’t the treaties that bought about stability and war was inevitable. In contrast to all the other interpretations, interpretation A agrees that international diplomacy did in fact bring about stability and was successful, contradicting interpretation C. Germanys acceptance into the league of nations made Europe believe that Germany had now become an ally instead of a threat towards Europe. ‘welcomed back into the bosom of European community’. In addition the Locarno Pact reinforced other European countries that Germany did want to become part of Europe. They accepted to demilitarise the Rhineland, they agreed that would not make war towards other countries and settle all issues through arbitration.
This agreement was the beginning of peace and stability through these treaties. Taking away any sign of war and it would be breaking the pact ‘the spell of the war had at last been exorcised’. Whereas the other interpretations disagree with this because they say that all the treaties that were signed were being undermined and weren’t being followed. Also the fact that Germany was allowed to have veto power didn’t make France too happy as now they were on an equal level which didn’t please France. However there were some problems with treaty firstly it covered the western boarders but didn’t cover the eastern front. Another issue was that Germany was allowed to veto meaning that if they didn’t agree with something they could vote against it. Despite this according to this interpretation the League of Nations and the Locarno pact which are international diplomacy are the reason why there was stability. ‘The Locarno spirit was bringing in a new era of peace’.