Did the British start the WWII?

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  • Thread starter EnumaElish
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  • #26
Art
EnumaElish said:
I guess one can say that WWII did not start until Britain entered the fray (or that it did not start before the U.S. joined the fight), and be right in a definitional sense. In that sense, saying that "Britain started WWII for selfish reasons" is equivalent to saying "Britain started to fight against Germany for selfish reasons." Which was probably the point that Art meant to make originally.
Precisely. It seems Warren didn't bother reading the details before posting so I'll repost it below :rolleyes: . The crux being Britain did not go to war to save an oppressed people (the jews) they went to war because they thought their empire was under threat. -
when world war 2 actually started is a matter of perspective. From the British point of view it started when they declared war on Germany in Sept 1939 whereas the Ethiopians no doubt believe it started when Italy invaded them a few years earlier in 1935. It could equally be argued that WW2 began as early as the end of WW1 with the seeds of discontent sown by the Versailles Treaty or as late as 1941 when Japan and the USA became involved. For practical purposes it seems fair to say that it started when the first super power of the time - Britain, became involved in which case it is also fair to say it began with Britain's declaration of war.
That Britains involvement centered on protecting it's interests was a view also taken by the american administration of the time. Roosevelt and Eisenhower were extremely suspicious throughout the war of British imperialism and went to great lengths to ensure they weren't used by Britain to bolster it's empire. (using american troops on the western front could free up british troops to maintain Britain's holdings elsewhere)

The US were fuming when Churchill diverted troops to Greece shortly before the D day landings as they saw this as evidence of Britain's continuing imperialism though as it turned out if they hadn't done this Greece would have ended up part of the eastern bloc.

Eventually US suspicion of British motives played straight into Russia's hands as Roosevelt mistakenly trusted Stalin more than Churchill with the result Russia ended up with all of eastern europe. Not that he should have trusted Churchill more. He probably should have distrusted both of them equally. :biggrin:

This distrust of Britain was further vindicated after the war when Britain engineered a crisis in the ME as an excuse to seize the Suez canal (sound familiar? :biggrin: ). American threats of economic sanctions forced Britain to beat an embarassing retreat.
 
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  • #27
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Art said:
(snip)This distrust of Britain was further vindicated after the war when Britain engineered a crisis in the ME as an excuse to seize the Suez canal (sound familiar? :biggrin: ). American threats of economic sanctions forced Britain to beat an embarassing retreat.
Could you place this in a "global" context, please? Malay(si)an "Emergency," British and French interests and history in Suez, a U. S. foreign policy of beating NATO allies about their heads and shoulders with threats of withholding Marshall Policy funds if they didn't comply with FDR's wishes from the grave that they divest themselves of colonial holdings, Nasser's interests in "nationalizing" Suez and denying its use by the Israelis, and Ike's and Nikita's juggling skills at that point in the Cold War?

Legitimate national interests vs. NATO and Cold War obligations vs. solo guardianship of the Truman Doctrine in SE Asia (thankless) vs. unknown level of post-war recovery and dependency upon U. S. vs. awareness of the strategic importance of Suez? Not an "engineered" crisis.
 
  • #28
Art
Bystander said:
Could you place this in a "global" context, please? Malay(si)an "Emergency," British and French interests and history in Suez, a U. S. foreign policy of beating NATO allies about their heads and shoulders with threats of withholding Marshall Policy funds if they didn't comply with FDR's wishes from the grave that they divest themselves of colonial holdings, Nasser's interests in "nationalizing" Suez and denying its use by the Israelis, and Ike's and Nikita's juggling skills at that point in the Cold War?

Legitimate national interests vs. NATO and Cold War obligations vs. solo guardianship of the Truman Doctrine in SE Asia (thankless) vs. unknown level of post-war recovery and dependency upon U. S. vs. awareness of the strategic importance of Suez? Not an "engineered" crisis.
The term 'engineered a crisis' is very appropriate - France and Britain invaded Egypt on the pretext of being concerned 'honest brokers' separating the warring parties when in fact they had secretly conspired with Israel to create the crisis.
In the months that followed Egypt's nationalisation of the canal, with the support of the company that operated the canal, Compagnie universelle du canal maritime de Suez, a secret meeting between Israel, France and Britain took place at Sèvres, outside Paris. Details only emerged years later, as records of the meeting were suppressed and destroyed. All parties agreed that Israel should invade and that Britain and France would subsequently intervene, instruct the Israeli and Egyptian armies to withdraw their forces to a distance of ten miles (16 km) from either side of the canal, and then place an Anglo-French intervention force in the Canal Zone around Port Said. It was to be called "Operation Musketeer".

On October 29, Israel invaded the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula and made rapid progress towards the Canal Zone. As per the agreement, Britain and France offered to reoccupy the area and separate the warring armies. Nasser (whose nationalisation of the company had been greeted with joy by the Egyptian public) refused the offer, which gave the European powers a pretext for a joint invasion to regain control of the canal and topple the Nasser regime
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suez_Crisis
 
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  • #29
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I think what the quote is implying is that Britain started ww1---> which led to economic sanctions at the end( german hyperinflation results too) ----> which led to hitler/nazi regime----> which led to ww2. WWI did indeed have its foundations in imperialism. It is a stretch, but you could make it work.
 
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Don't Mention The War!!!
 

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