By Nicholas Rostow
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Additional info for Anglo-French Relations, 1934–36
Ing about foreign affairs and in dealing with related, domestic political pressures. In 1934, Great Britain had little with which it could fulfil its treaty or imperial obligations and the Cabinet tried to limit British defence liabilities to the use of air power. Without consulting the co-signatories of the Locarno Treaties, or informing them after the event, the British had defined their duties British Policy: July-November 1934 21 as guarantor of Belgium, France and Germany. Though the Chiefs of Staff argued that Belgian security was more vital to Britain than to France, and that French forces needed the assistance of the British army to preserve the integrity of the Low Countries, the government denied money to the army and refused a special guarantee to Belgium.
Outlawed by the Versailles Treaty, the German air force developed secretly. Churchill believed that the Luftwaffe approached equality with the RAF, and, indeed, that, if construction plans went unchanged, Germany's air force would soon be as strong as, or stronger than Britain's. 99 In a common and generally mistaken judgement, Churchill thought that German civilian aircraft could be converted to military use, improving Germany's position still more and correspondingly increasing the danger to Britain.
I say that it is much better to be frightened now than to be killed hereafter', Churchill said. 100 Building shelters, British Policy: july-November 1934 37 moreover, would provide useful work for the unemployed as well as contribute to national security. Churchill's argument throughout had been that if government policy did not change, if urgency and action did not replace complacency and delay, then war would become inevitable and Britain's preparations for it would be tardy and inadequate. He ended by reminding the Opposition of the inconsistency of criticising Nazis and Fascists, often so strongly as to risk provoking violent responses, while simultaneously trying to deny to Great Britain the means of defence.
Anglo-French Relations, 1934–36 by Nicholas Rostow