'Must Will Peace': The British Brokering of 'Central European' and 'Balkan Locarno', 1925-9
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This article examines the British attempt to use the momentum created after the conclusion of the Locarno Agreements of October 1925 to promote a similar settlement in Central Europe among the Little Entente countries and Hungary, and in the Balkans, where Bulgaria had to be reconciled with her neighbours, particularly with Yugoslavia (Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes), with each region being dealt with in a separate settlement. The approach of the Foreign Secretary, Sir Austen Chamberlain, was to induce the leaders of the countries in question to come into personal contact and tackle their mutual antagonisms, while at the same time securing that Britain, France and Italy maintained a common stance and spoke with one voice to all the concerned governments. The article outlines the main lines of diplomatic intercourse and analyses the reasons for the ultimate failure of both ‘Central European’ and ‘Balkan Locarno’. It is argued here that Chamberlain’s policy, his distorted perc...eptions, delusive premises and fallacious judgement accounted for the inevitable breakdown of his Locarno-like scheme. This failure became apparent towards the end of the period studied here and its consequences heralded difficult times in the years to come.
Keywords:Locarno / Chamberlain / Balkan / Central European
Source:Journal of Contemporary History, 2013, 48, 24-56