Cabinet Decisions on Foreign Policy: The British Experience, by Christopher Hill
By Christopher Hill
During this booklet, Dr. Christopher Hill breaks new flooring through offering an in depth case learn of the British govt and overseas coverage. he is taking the dramatic interval from the Munich convention of 1938 to the German invasion of the Soviet Union 3 years later and analyzes the styles of argument and impression in the British cupboard. by utilizing broad archival fabric, he examines how a ways the powerful personalities of Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill have been in a position to dominate their cupboards in a space the place best ministers have commonly been presupposed to workout massive freedom.
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Additional resources for Cabinet Decisions on Foreign Policy: The British Experience, October 1938-June 1941
Between them, these six cases should give us a fairly full picture of how the Cabinet handled foreign policy issues, even allowing for the fact that this soon became a period of maximum danger. In some ways the functioning of an institution, like a machine, becomes clearer when it is tested most strenuously. However it would be foolish to claim that generalisations can be based firmly on a single case, and that other circumstances would not produce different patterns of action. More realistically, the suggestion is simply that our understanding of how the Cabinet and perhaps top-level decision-making groups in other states handle foreign policy will be furthered by looking in depth, and systematically, at a period for which detailed archives are available and a period, furthermore, when the fundamental issues at stake in external relations were more starkly apparent than at almost any other time.
Told me Cabinet had approved draft telegram [subject] to certain amendments... We propose to publish a declaration that, in the event of a further outrage, we will consult. '44 Moreover, by this move Halifax and Chamberlain came yet closer to that focusing on Poland which was to be the final outcome of the March deliberations, in preference to a wider security pact or an agreement with the USSR. 45 As the triumvirate phraseology suggested, Russia was not in the foreground of the picture of events held by Chamberlain and Halifax.
In March 1939, the options for a new policy were relatively open-ended. Various degrees of hostile inaction, a multilateral European pact, an alliance with the USSR were all notional possibilities. In terms of their participation in policy-making, therefore, a premium was placed on the clarity with which ministers could perceive the issues, and on the conviction with which they could advocate a positive line of action during the first period of uncertainty. But its very size meant that the Cabinet as a whole was unlikely to forge a clear and strongly felt new attitude very quickly.