Even Gentler Response From Britain

Monday 9th March 1936

The British government delivered its immediate public response to the remilitarization of the Rhineland by way of speeches in the House of Commons by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary. It was, if anything, even less confrontational than the French response. Baldwin  deplored the suspicions between France and Germany and said that Britain should work to bring them together in a "friendship." Eden went a little further by saying that Hitler's action had "shaken confidence" but, in contrast to the French government, stated that Germany's proposals should be examined to see if the they offered  a way of rebuilding a better peace system. He was especially taken by the idea of Germany returning to the League of Nations. The only jarring note in the debate from the government side was struck by by Sir Austen Chamberlain who pointed out that the German proposals included nothing about Austria, the obvious next target for German expansion.

That evening Eden and Lord Halifax travelled to Paris for talks with the four other signatories of the Locarno Treaty, except of course for Germany. In practice it would be the Anglo-French discussions that would be decisive.

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