Coordinates: The Stresa Front was an agreement made in Stresa, a town on the banks of Lake Maggiore in Italy, between French Prime Minister Pierre-Étienne Flandin (with Pierre Laval), British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald and Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini on April 14, 1935. Formally called the Final Declaration of the Stresa Conference, its aim was to reaffirm the Locarno Treaties and to declare that the independence of Austria "would continue to inspire their common policy". The signatories also agreed to resist any future attempt by Germany to change the Treaty of Versailles.
Patrick Buchanan's Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War considered the Stresa Front the last chance to stop Hitler before the Second World War.
The Stresa Front began to collapse after the United Kingdom signed the Anglo-German Naval Agreement in June 1935 in which Germany was given permission to increase the size of its navy. It broke down completely within two to three months of the initial agreement, just after the Italian invasion of Abyssinia.
Hitler reintroduced military conscription in Germany and announced the creation of the Luftwaffe (the German air force), both in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. In response, the former wartime allies and guarantors of the peace treaty, Britain, France, and Italy, met at Stresa, Italy, in April and there discussed collective action to uphold the disarmament terms of the treaty; this understanding became known as the "Stresa Front". Its maintenance, specifically the challenge of keeping Italy a foe of Germany, formed the motivation for Britain's foreign policy for the next 18 months; in effect it was the beginnings of "appeasement". In August 1935 Italy attacked the empire of Ethiopia in Africa, announcing that it had apprised Britain and France at Stresa of its intentions of doing so. B.E.
The Stresa Front was triggered by Germany's declaration of its intention of building up an air force, increasing the size of its army to 36 divisions (500,000 men) and introducing conscription in March 1935. All of those actions were direct violations of the Treaty of Versailles, which limited the size of the German army to 100,000 men and prohibited Germany from using conscription and having an air force.
However, British politicians did not want to attack or occupy Germany but preferred to have agreements with it to maintain peace in Central Europe. Also, antiwar sentiment was very strong among the British public. In February 1935, a summit in London between French Prime Minister Pierre Laval and British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald led to an Anglo-French communiqué issued in London that proposed talks with the Germans on arms limitation, an air part and security pacts for Eastern Europe and the nations along the Danube.
Mussolini thought that the signing of the Stresa Front would mean that the United Kingdom and France would not interfere in the Abyssinian crisis.
Even though the increasingly-belligerent Germany dominated discussions within the conference room, Mussolini was most clever outside it. With Britain, he discussed plans to pursue his aim of making Italy 'great, respected and feared' by the invasion and conquest of Abyssinia and the creatio an all-powerful empire. Mussolini made sure not to discuss his expansionist plans within the confines of the conference itself, as he knew of the risk of the Western democracies issuing a veto over it. Furthermore, Mussolini could not risk the conference being sidetracked from its main aims, reaffirming Locarno and opposing any more breaches of international agreements.
Mussolini got his way, and his plans to invade Abyssinia were not brought up. He took that silence as acquiescence to his colonial war and launched his invasion of Abyssinia in October 1935. That was the turning point for Mussolini, as he drifted away from Britain and France and toward Germany.
Soon after Stresa, on June 18th 1935,... Great Britain signed a naval agreement with them and without informing neither France nor Italy, which put a direct proportion to Germany and Britain by number and tonnage of warships, in fact renegading the agreements of Stresa, as well as those of Versailles of 1919. Benito Mussolini was furious when he heard the news and, unfortunately for Italy, convinced himself that Hitler couldn't be stopped anymore and that, therefore, he had to ride the tiger. – John Simon
The front collapsed completely with the Italian invasion of Abyssinia.
Mussolini had long held ambitions of controlling Abyssinia and was enraged by the signing of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement without being informed.Mussolini had held back on his invasion plans to avoid alienating his allies, especially since Ethiopia bordered French Somaliland and British Somaliland. However, he felt betrayed by Britain and so decided that there was no reason against the invasion. He also believed that the agreement violated the Stresa Front.
On January 6, 1936, Mussolini told German Ambassador Ulrich von Hassell that he would not object to Germany taking Austria as a satellite state if it maintained its independence. On 22 February, Mussolini then agreed to Hitler's remilitarization of the Rhineland and stated that Italy would not honour the Locarno Treaty if it occurred.
Arthur Neville Chamberlain was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. He is best known for his foreign policy of appeasement, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement on 30 September 1938, conceding the German-speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Germany. Following the German invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, which marked the beginning of World War II, Chamberlain announced the declaration of war on Germany two days later and led Great Britain through the first eight months of the war until his resignation as prime minister on 10 May 1940.
The Axis powers, also known as "Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis" were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allies. The Axis powers agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not completely coordinate their activity.
The Munich Agreement or Munich Betrayal was an agreement concluded at Munich on 30 September 1938, by Nazi Germany, the United Kingdom, the French Third Republic, and the Kingdom of Italy. It provided "cession to Germany of the Sudeten German territory" of Czechoslovakia. Most of Europe celebrated the agreement, because it prevented the war threatened by Adolf Hitler by allowing Nazi Germany's annexation of the Sudetenland, a region of western Czechoslovakia inhabited by more than 3 million people, mainly German speakers. Hitler announced it was his last territorial claim in Europe, and the choice seemed to be between war and appeasement.
Appeasement in an international context is a diplomatic policy of making political or material concessions to an aggressive power in order to avoid conflict. The term is most often applied to the foreign policy of the UK Governments of Prime Ministers Ramsay MacDonald, Stanley Baldwin and most notably Neville Chamberlain towards Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy between 1935–39.
The Locarno Treaties were seven agreements negotiated at Locarno, Switzerland, on 5–16 October 1925 and formally signed in London on 1 December, in which the First World War Western European Allied powers and the new states of Central and Eastern Europe sought to secure the post-war territorial settlement, and return normalizing relations with the defeated German Reich. It also stated that Germany would never go to war with the other countries. Locarno divided borders in Europe into two categories: western, which were guaranteed by Locarno treaties, and eastern borders of Germany with Poland, which were open for revision.
The Abyssinia Crisis was an international crisis in 1935 originating in what was called the Walwal incident in the then-ongoing conflict between the Kingdom of Italy and the Empire of Ethiopia. The League of Nations ruled against Italy and voted for economic sanctions, but they were never fully applied. Italy ignored the sanctions, quit the League, made special deals with Britain and France and ultimately annexed and occupied Abyssinia after defeating it in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. The crisis discredited the League and moved Fascist Italy closer to an alliance with Nazi Germany. Both Ethiopia and Italy pursued a policy of provocation against each other and Italy prepared to invade Ethiopia.
The events preceding World War II in Europe are closely tied to the bellicosity of Italy, Germany and Japan, as well as the Great Depression. The peace movement led to appeasement and disarmament.
The Second Italo-Ethiopian War, also referred to as the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, was a war of aggression which was fought between Italy and Ethiopia from October 1935 to February 1937. It is seen as an example of the expansionist policy that characterized the Axis powers and the ineffectiveness of the League of Nations before the outbreak of World War II.
Historians from many countries have given considerable attention to studying and understanding the causes of World War II, a global war from 1939 to 1945 that was the deadliest conflict in human history. The immediate precipitating event was the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany on September 1, 1939, and the subsequent declarations of war on Germany made by Britain and France, but many other prior events have been suggested as ultimate causes. Primary themes in historical analysis of the war's origins include the political takeover of Germany in 1933 by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party; Japanese militarism against China; Italian aggression against Ethiopia; and Germany's initial success in negotiating a neutrality pact with the Soviet Union to divide territorial control of Eastern Europe between them.
In the context of the history of the 20th century, the interwar period was the period between the end of the First World War on November 11, 1918 and the beginning of the Second World War on September 1, 1939. This period is also colloquially referred to as Between the Wars.
The Anglo-German Naval Agreement (AGNA) of 18 June 1935 was a naval agreement between the United Kingdom and Germany regulating the size of the Kriegsmarine in relation to the Royal Navy.
This timeline of events preceding World War II covers the events of the interwar period (1918–1939) after World War I that affected or led to World War II.
The remilitarisation of the Rhineland began on 7 March 1936 when German military forces entered the Rhineland, in direct contravention of the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Treaties.
The Franco-Italian Agreements were signed in Rome by both French Foreign Minister Pierre Laval and Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini on January 7, 1935.
The Franco-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance was a bilateral treaty between France and the Soviet Union with the aim of enveloping Nazi Germany in 1935 in order to reduce the threat from central Europe. It was pursued by Maxim Litvinov, the Soviet foreign minister, and Louis Barthou, the French foreign minister, who was assassinated in October 1934, before negotiations were finished. His successor, Pierre Laval, was skeptical of both the desirability and the value of an alliance with the Soviet Union. However, after the declaration of German rearmament in March 1935 the French government forced the reluctant foreign minister to complete the arrangements with Moscow that Barthou had begun. The pact was concluded in Paris on May 2, 1935 and ratified by the French government in February 1936. Ratifications were exchanged in Moscow on March 27, 1936, and the pact went into effect on the same day. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on April 18, 1936. On May 16, 1935 the Czechoslovak–Soviet Treaty of Alliance was signed between the two states as the consequence of Soviet treaty with France.
Events from the year 1938 in France.
The Italian colonial empire, known as the Italian Empire between 1936 and 1943, comprised the colonies, protectorates, concessions, dependencies and trust territories of the Kingdom of Italy. The genesis of the Italian colonial empire was the purchase in 1869 of Assab Bay on the Red Sea by an Italian navigation company which intended to establish a coaling station at the time the Suez Canal was being opened to navigation. This was taken over by the Italian government in 1882, becoming modern Italy's first overseas territory.
Charles Corbin (1881–1970) was a French diplomat who served as ambassador to Britain before and during the early part of the Second World War, from 1933 to 27 June 1940.
The European foreign policy of the Chamberlain ministry from 1937 to 1940 was based on British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's commitment to "peace for our time" by pursuing a policy of appeasement and containment towards Nazi Germany and by increasing the strength of Britain's armed forces until, in September 1939, he delivered an ultimatum over the invasion of Poland, which was followed by a declaration of war against Germany.
International relations (1919–1939) covers the main interactions shaping world history in this era, with emphasis on diplomacy and economic relations. The coverage here follows Diplomatic history of World War I and precedes Diplomatic history of World War II. The important stages of interwar diplomacy and international relations included resolutions of wartime issues, such as reparations owed by Germany and boundaries; American involvement in European finances and disarmament projects; the expectations and failures of the League of Nations; the relationships of the new countries to the old; the distrustful relations of the Soviet Union to the capitalist world; peace and disarmament efforts; responses to the Great Depression starting in 1929; the collapse of world trade; the collapse of democratic regimes one by one; the growth of economic autarky; Japanese aggressiveness toward China; Fascist diplomacy, including the aggressive moves by Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany; the Spanish Civil War; the appeasement of Germany's expansionist moves toward the Rhineland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, and the last, desperate stages of rearmament as another world war increasingly loomed.