Reply to post: Re: That seems like a dangerous stance

You're on a Huawei to Hell, US Sec State Pompeo warns allies: Buy Beijing's boxes, no more intelligence for you

Laura Kerr

Re: That seems like a dangerous stance

"Too much effort was expended on global issues, not enough on European threats. "

Well, with an empire spanning the globe, Britain had to focus on international issues. And though you're right about the financial drain following the First World War, there are a few tricks you've missed:

1. At the Versailles conference in 1919, Woodrow Wilson explicitly threatened a transatlantic arms race, which eventually led to the Washington Naval Treaty. That imposed a level of parity between the naval powers, and was weighted in America's favour, and against Britain. Britain had a huge empire to protect; America did not. It was probably the first time the US successfully flexed its muscles on the international stage.

2. During the First World War, Britain and Japan were allies. That alliance was terminated under American pressure, weakening Britain's position in the Far East and necessitating greater defence expenditure there. There's proof of the rot setting in here - the guns of Singapore could have pulverised an attacking naval force, so the Japanese simply advanced down the Malay peninsula instead.

3. By 'German ambition' I'm assuming you're referring to the rise of Hitler. The Nazis weren't a serious threat until after the Wall Street crash of 1929. Fear of a return to the hyper-inflation of the 1920s stoked by a nationalistic demagogue helped to persuade more people to vote for the Nazis in the elections up to 1933. And after Hitler became Chancellor, it didn't help that the US had retreated into isolationism.

You could argue that Clemenceau and Lloyd George should have told Wilson to sod off back to the ranch, but that's looking back with a hundred years of hindsight. The war-weariness of Britain and France helped to accelerate their decline, while the US, who had not suffered anything like as much, slowly but surely pushed them aside.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019