By Richard Davis (auth.)
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Extra info for Anglo-French Relations Before the Second World War: Appeasement and Crisis
Faced with growing problems in Europe, The Ethiopian Test Case 29 complicated by an expansionist Japan in the Far East, the importance of Italy greatly increased. With Germany rearming and clearly seeking to expand to the south and east the value of Italian friendship could not be overlooked. The result was an effort, led by the French but closely followed and supported by London, to tie Italy more closely to the western camp. In the first months of 1935 with the signing of the Rome Accords, later backed up with air and military accords and by the Stresa Front, these hopes seemed near to fruition.
I firmly believe that we are not prepared, morally and psychologically, for war against Italy and care very little for `poor little Ethiopia'. Black races to an Englishman are always niggers and we don't see why we should be plunged into war on their account. Henry Pownall, Diaries, 9 September 1935 In marked contrast to the understanding attitude towards Italian ambitions, the British and French Governments rarely displayed sympathy 34 Anglo-French Relations for Ethiopia. The hard-headed realists who governed both countries were largely immune from any public sympathy for the Ethiopian underdog.
The French military were even more categorical in their rejection of anything that endangered the fragile agreements with Italy. Should Italian friendship be lost they forecast that France would be unable to help her Eastern European allies or even, it was stated somewhat unrealistically, Belgium. The French Navy, reflecting their traditional mistrust of the British, predicted that military sanctions would `bring France, and France alone, into a war against Italy. . the French Navy would emerge from this conflict greatly weakened .
Anglo-French Relations Before the Second World War: Appeasement and Crisis by Richard Davis (auth.)