chapter
2 Pages

Introduction

ByLorna S. Jaffe

Britain’s changing position on post-war German disarmament reflected an ongoing debate about how best to guarantee post-war peace. At the heart of this debate were differing assumptions about the causes of war, about the nature of world politics and about Britain’s appropriate strategic role. While arguing that the demands of public opinion and party politics played a pivotal role in making German disarmament an object of British policy, it also emphasises that strategic and geopolitical considerations were critical determinants of Britain’s policy on the question of German disarmament. The most comprehensive examination of Britain’s war aims in the First World War makes no mention of German military disarmament as a wartime British objective, and 1981 a study of Britain’s peace conference diplomacy attributed the disarmament provisions of the Treaty of Versailles to France. Yet Britain’s insistence at the Paris Conference on the necessity of disarming Germany has long been a matter of record.