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How successful was the League of Nations in the 1930s? - Abyssinia Role Play

The Guilty Men?
Chancellor of the Exchequer - Neville Chamberlain


Chancellor of the Exchequer 
Neville Chamberlain
Treasury - Briefing by Year 13 students

Andrew Boxer - Appeasement pp. 13, 20-23

1. The Great War: Trade: weak supply of pre-war export markets Debt: Britain borrowed a large sum of over 1,000 million 2. The Wall Street crash: Unemployment: rise to 3 million Weak currency: forced to give up symbol of strength and stability of the pound. 3. Appeasement: Peace: to reduce tensions and maintain international relations. Rearmament: to stop Germany's preparation for wars.

1. The Great War

Minister, our department feels that one of the major effects on the British Economy has been the Great War. The Great War caused damage both during the war, through the weak supply of pre-war export markets, but also after the war through debt. Although Britain lent large sums to its allies, Britain borrowed a large sum of over 1,000 million mainly from the US. They therefore lent more than they borrowed and as a result of Russia refusing to repay their debts, Britain is struggling to pay their own. As a department we feel that moving towards war would furthermore devastate our country. We would not be able to go through a few months without eventually ending up with bankruptcy.

2. Wall Street crash

As a department, we would also like to stress the importance of the Wall Street crash as a major concern in Britain's economy. As we know, the Wall Street crash of 1928 affected more than the US. Similar to the Great War, the level of falling exports eventually led to a high unemployment rate, to be more specific 3 million. Britain was also forced to give up symbol of strength and stability of the pound. Britain's economy is also widely referred to as 'the fourth arm of defence'. This means that because Britain depends so much on its food imports and many industrial raw materials, that it really needed to be able to rely on and maintain a healthy balance of repayments. Immediate rearmament could disturb this "balance" as normal trade pattern would be ruined. This would be a result of war production through raw materials yet no export goods. Again this could lead to bankruptcy within a few months if Britain decided to enter a war immediately.

3. Appeasement

In order to maintain peaceful relationships and economic stability, our department feels that appeasement is the best solution. Our focus is on mainly Germany as we feel that much of the aggressiveness is a result of economic issues. The policy of appeasement would hopefully move countries away from rearmament and could therefore be evidence for Germany to stop preparations for war and reduce international tensions. Using Britain's economy to prepare for war would not only be near impossible but would contradict the policy in its intentions to promote peace.

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