• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

stnylan

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A tricky position for any diplomat to be in.

I had to chuckle at his view of von Neurath's sartorial choices.
 

Captured Joe

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The Italian ambassador's portrayal is quite delightfully stereotypical.

Also I wonder if any tank will get a "love letter" update; considering the mess that is the UK tank tech tree I doubt it though...
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Next to Phipps, François-Poncet shifted uncomfortably. “The French Republic will share the interpretation of international obligation of our British friends,” he said wearily. “This is an unfortunate prov-” he stopped himself from saying ‘provocation’, “gesture”.
Hmm. Unfortunately the french have to take initiative here and oppose the move first before the British can respond. If they did move up troops, I doubt the british would actually send anything over but they would also probably support them. Then again, sending men is irrelevant because we all know with hindsight that the germans have to run away if the french actually do make a fuss. They aren't ready for war yet.

That was the point. The Germans were claiming that Locarno didn’t apply, as Britain and Italy were only committed to inte
Clever. Gives everyone an out, and in politics, that usually means they will take it.

We would look, if you supported this,” he paused as he considered the appropriate word, “rebalancing of the agreements, to reconsider our participation in the League of Nations”.
What does that mean?

Nothing, without Great Britain.”
France's decline for the first half of 20th century in a nutshell. I certainly wouldn't rely on the British to do anything, ever. Not in reality and certainly not in a HOI game.

Still, the advantage is to france, though they dont know that...
Maybe Edward could put his foot in his mouth again and accidentally save europe before being kicked out?
 

El Pip

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What does that mean?
Germany had flounced out of the League of Nations in October 1933. The implication being that if no-one kicks up a fuss over the Rhineland Germany will rejoin, which London and Paris would consider a minor win and a way to drag Germany back into the international system of treaties.

von Neurath has the advantage of having Ribbentrop as a successor, so of course he looks good in any comparison. But he knew his stuff and that was a perfect bit of bait, particular as Phipps and François-Poncet were both in favour of the League. By the time they worked out Germany wasn't going to rejoin it would be too late to object.

As for France needing British support, it is Britain's bankers, not her Grenadiers or even her battleships, that France wants the support of. Paris is ~6months away from being forced off Gold and devaluing the Franc. Hefty central bank swap-lines and interventions from London and New York are the only thing keeping the show on the road and even then it's precarious. Even a slight war scare from a short show of force would risk causing massive capital (and gold) flight which France cannot afford, not alone.


EDIT: Almost forgot. Excellent update @Le Jones, I remain envious of your ability to write these characters and make even utterly familiar events an interesting and thought provoking read. :)
 
Last edited:

DensleyBlair

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Ah, the precise language of diplomacy: so ridiculous to the uninitiated; an endlessly tricksy dance to its participants. Von Neurath clearly, as you have depicted him @Le Jones, speaks it well. He is, as you say, well on top of his brief, and the British and the French seem hardly likely to respond with threats of their own. These ‘non-Edwardian’ updates do leave me asking myself what His Majesty thinks about all of this – if anything at all.
 

Specialist290

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Two quotes that I think are apropos to the situation:

"He lied, I knew he lied and he knew I lied. That's diplomacy."

"A diplomat is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a tactful way that you'll look forward to making the trip."
 

TheButterflyComposer

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As for France needing British support, it is Britain's bankers, not her Grenadiers or even her battleships, that France wants the support of. Paris is ~6months away from being forced off Gold and devaluing the Franc. Hefty central bank swap-lines and interventions from London and New York are the only thing keeping the show on the road and even then it's precarious. Even a slight war scare from a short show of force would risk causing massive capital (and gold) flight which France cannot afford, not alone.
UK is back on the gold standard too, right? So they have a reason to protect the french gold franc too outside of politics?

How defeatist are the people of Paris and the border regions with germany? These are the people that need to be riled up to get the gov to do something. I don't know whether edward speaks french but surely he could drop something like international law should be respected, will of the common man, defence of allies is defence of ourselves Yadda yadda.
 

El Pip

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UK is back on the gold standard too, right? So they have a reason to protect the french gold franc too outside of politics?
Nope. UK was off the Gold Standard 1931, US 1933. They do have a reason to support France on Gold, but it would be mostly to maintain the competitive advantage they got from the devaluation. If anything they should be pushing France off gold early, sooner France is off the sooner the French recovery starts (probably, the Popular Front makes that a bit complicated). But Paris has it's dreams of being a financial centre and thinks Gold is the route, so will persist as long as it can.

How defeatist are the people of Paris and the border regions with germany? These are the people that need to be riled up to get the gov to do something. I don't know whether edward speaks french but surely he could drop something like international law should be respected, will of the common man, defence of allies is defence of ourselves Yadda yadda.
Eddie did speak French, indeed had a French mistress for a while (of course he did). But France is just about to start an election campaign (first round of voting is End of April) so Eddie trying to intervene would probably be seen as Britain trying to influence the French election and provoke the abdication crisis early. Plus foreign leaders telling voters they are wrong and should follow a certain course of action is almost always net counter-productive. ;)
 

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In my browsing for inspiration for the opening of my hopefully forthcoming AAR, I came across this wonderful little nugget.
 

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El Pip

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In my browsing for inspiration for the opening of my hopefully forthcoming AAR, I came across this wonderful little nugget.
First - Hurrah on hopefully forthcoming AAR. :D

Second - Mencken on wonderful form and I may have to start referring to Eddie as the Jazz Baby
 

Le Jones

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1588225646945.png


Chapter 9, Foreign Office, 8 March 1936

1588225659192.png


Eden stroked his moustache, an unthinking gesture betraying his nerves. “And you say that Phipps issued the protest?” The question was fired out in a peremptory manner.

“Yes, Foreign Secretary,” Sir Robert Vansittart, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, said in a slightly exasperated tone. Eden was well aware of the protest from Phipps; indeed, he had been briefed, personally, the second that Phipps had returned to his Embassy from the meeting with von Neurath.

Eden looked again at the map of the region that the team had prepared, seemingly looking for inspiration from the senior members of the Foreign Office. Baldwin had brought forward a Cabinet Meeting to tomorrow so that the British response to this latest international incident could be considered. An address to Parliament was planned. Which meant that Anthony Eden needed to consult with his senior diplomats.

They trooped in, slowly. Vansittart was already there and waved in acknowledgment to Eden’s two deputies, the Earl of Stanhope and Viscount Cranborne; they were followed by Sir Ralph Stevenson, the First Secretary at the Foreign Office, Ralph Wigram, Head of the Central Department, Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair, Head of the Secret Intelligence Service, Orme Sargent, an Assistant Under-Secretary, and Sir William Malkin, the Legal Adviser to the Foreign Office.

“Gentlemen,” Eden said, weary of the meeting before it had begun. “I will, tomorrow, take the lead at Cabinet to determine our response to this Rhineland business.” The older hands supressed wry smiles at Eden’s arrogant display; he was still trying to assert his style in a department he had only been leading for a few months. “I think, before we look at our response, we get an update.” He looked, wordlessly, at Vansittart.

1588225700794.png


“Not much to add,” the Head of the Diplomatic Service said brightly, “Eric Phipps collected the notification and delivered a protest, much of it,” he said with a pointed glance at Eden, “on his own authority.”

“And we knew nothing of the timing, nothing? I am trying, as I ask this, to not look at our illustrious head of the Secret Intelligence Service,” he looked at Vansittart as forcefully as he didn’t look at Admiral Sinclair.

Vansittart made to answer but Sinclair felt that the honour of the SIS was being trampled upon. He read from his notes. “Blah blah, honour to be, ah, yes, here. ‘In view of the possibility that the continuance of this demilitarisation may from now on be raised any moment, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs considers it desirable to know what defensive value the Demilitarised Zone is to France, Belgium and ourselves and what obstacle it constitutes to the defence of Germany against attack by the Western Powers’. Signed by you, Foreign Secretary, tenth January. We responded a few days later with notes into you, the Permanent Undersecretary, and the Central Department.”

Ralph Wigram nodded with an amused nod. “That is fair, Admiral.” His smile soon fell.

Sinclair looked from Wigram to Vansittart. “Note from Mr Wigram on the intelligence to Mr Vansittart and the Secretary of State,” he began reading. “Here we go, ‘It is perhaps worth glancing over as I think it shows how uncertain is the future of the demilitarised zone.’ Point?”

“Point,” Wigram said with a tight smile.

“Yes yes,” Vansittart said, “and you no doubt have the record where the Foreign Secretary and I referred the matter for consideration by the CID?” Sinclair half-nodded.

Eden leaned back in his chair, and with his right hand swept imaginary dust off his impeccable suit. “The French?” The question sounded almost pleading.

Vansittart looked down at his notes. “Lots of hot air from the extreme flanks of their political class, their military is understood to be resistant. Their Chief of Staff has declared a military response to be ‘madcap’, as well as expensive.”

Eden raised an eyebrow. “How expensive?”

Vansittart looked to Sir Ralph Stevenson, who spoke in his nasal, high-pitched, precise little voice.

1588225791186.png


“Well, Gamelin has quoted a figure of thirty million francs a day for partial mobilisation. Their economy would struggle, frankly, to fund a prolonged conflict. But, Foreign Secretary…”

“Ye-es,” Eden frowned, knowing that bad news was on its way.

“Prime Minister Sarraut has been publicly defiant. Yesterday he went on the airwaves and stated that ‘the French Government was not disposed to allow Strasbourg to come under the range of German guns”. Sinclair, whose SIS kept as much of a watch on France as on Russia and Germany, nodded in agreement.

“Christ,” Eden muttered tersely. “That’s all we need.”

Vansittart looked reprovingly at his Secretary of State. “We should support our French allies,” he said firmly, earning him a waspish look from Eden. Wigram and Sinclair nodded,

Cranborne looked uncertain. “Public opinion will not countenance it,” he replied primly, holding, dramatically that morning’s The Times which headlined with ‘A chance to rebuild’.

Eden looked expectantly at his deputy. “And?”

1588225848149.png


“We need a position for Cabinet,” he said, seemingly bored of the discussion.

Eden nodded. “Sir Robert?”

Vansittart turned to Wigram. “Well, Ralph?”

“Foreign Secretary,” Wigram began, in confronting this crisis the Foreign Office has three primary lines of alternative action to recommend to you and the Cabinet. These are to give up, to resist any German attempt at reoccupation, and to negotiate a settlement.”

Eden made a quick note on his paper. “Agreed,” was his simple response.

Wigram went on his careful way. “As Sir Hugh has rightly pointed out, the Foreign Office started to explore the efficacy of these policies even before it decided that there was an imminent crisis. These policies, however, have not prepared as policies per se. Rather, they merely represented the three major scopes of discussion that have emerged. Thus, arguments both for and against each policy are interlocked or dependent on the others.”

With the preamble completed and his two deputies looking either confused or bored, Eden nodded wearily for Wigram to continue. The senior civil servants kept their counsel.

“The first line of policy the Foreign Office has is to allow Germany to remilitarise the Rhineland through either an official policy statement by Britain or a fait accompli by Germany. Five major arguments can be advanced in support of a policy of unconditional German reoccupation and these are firstly that this policy would demonstrate the British Government’s desire for peace.”

“A good point,” Cranborne interrupted the civil servant. “The German press has been attacking the joint talks on the air defence of France, as well as our increased military spending.” Cranborne threw a bitter look at Eden. “I’ve had two official calls by Prince von Bismarck, protesting at the anti-German comments in the newspapers.” The Prince was the German Charge d'affaires in London.

“Yes, Minister,” Wigram said soothingly. “Second, we all have grave misgivings concerning the severity of the Treaty of Versailles, in particular, over Articles Forty Two and Forty Three. There is agreement that Germany was rather harshly portrayed as a second-class power and I believe that we are in no doubt that Rhineland belongs to Germany, and that it was only a matter of time before the demilitarized zone would be reoccupied.”

Is that correct,” Eden said to Malkin.

“Yes, Foreign Secretary, it is an integral part of the German nation state, and the legality of our authority to enforce an extraterritorial prohibition over an area in which they exercise sovereignty is challenging,” the lawyer said firmly.

Wigram ploughed on. “A third argument for allowing Germany to reoccupy the Rhineland stems from our concern over the Rhineland becoming a source of conflict between France and Germany. The dissension among us, France and Italy presents Germany with ideal opportunities to abrogate the demilitarisation clauses of Versailles, but there is always the possibility that France would retaliate and thus draw us and the Dominions into the conflict. Thus, it would be good strategy for Britain to be disengaged as much as possible from any direct interest in the matter.”

Wigram sipped from a glass of water. “Fourth, in response to the Secretary of State and Permanent Under-Secretary’s questions on the matter, the opinion of SIS and the Air Ministry is that the Rhineland is of negligible value as a defensive barrier against Germany for the Western powers in the event of aggression by air and it does not constitute a serious obstacle to the defence of Germany against air attacks by the Western powers. In short, the Rhineland is not of great importance to British aerial defence.”

“You’re saying,” Cranborne said, sensing a political point, “that the issue is one of no longer giving up something vital but merely the readjustment of certain obsolete treaty clauses.” There were nods, particularly from Stevenson and Malkin.

“I suppose that I am, minister,” Wigram conceded. “As a fifth and final argument, it is, is it not, our belief that Britain is not militarily prepared to fight on the continent.”

That was a telling point, and Sinclair, as well as Sargent, looked down glumly.

Eden was looking at his senior diplomat. “You look,” he said to Vansittart, “as if you are itching to speak.”

Vansittart nodded. “I have long believed the conditions for peace after the First World War have been undermined since Hitler's advent to power,” he said as introduction, “and that a policy of modifying the more objectionable clauses of the Treaty of Versailles is no longer tenable.” Cranborne and Stevenson looked concerned. “A new policy is called for, and to continue to grant German demands is foolish. The Rhineland case,” he said, gesturing at the maps, “is unblushing blackmail. If the German government gets their way, they would start blackmailing about something else.”

“What do you think,” Eden asked Wigram.

“I don't think anyone can doubt that the zone is going to disappear. The important thing is to arrange that it disappears peacefully.”

“I see,” Vansittart said, surprised at Wigram’s response. But he was determined to keep this meeting proceeding efficiently. “So that is course of action one. You had two others?”

“The second line of policy is to resist, with force if necessary, any German attempt at reoccupying the zone. The arguments for this policy could be seen, basically, as the reverse of those of the first general option, but there are also factors unique to this policy. There are four major reasons why we could support this firmer policy option.”

He sipped again from his water. “First, as discussed earlier, the maintenance of the zone to preserve the status quo of the treaty system tends to support action against reoccupation. Second, this policy has some support across this office and Government. Third, there is the possibility that Herr Hitler might be toppled if Britain were to take a firm stand.”

“Is that true?” Cranborne was exasperated.

“Well,” Sinclair began, “it is well known that Hitler and his toadies did not purge all potential opposition in ‘thirty-four’. There is an argument that by thus taking a firm stand, Britain would aid the opponents of reoccupation who are the moderate elements in Germany.”

“Hmmmn,” Eden hummed, not convinced. The others sensed his lack of enthusiasm. “Continue, ah, Wigram.”

“Finally, the Foreign Office has a purely parochial concern: to force other departments to form a position on this. We rely upon the views of other departments before we make a decision, but those Foreign Policy decisions by departments other than the Foreign Office depend upon reports from the Foreign Office. This issue will continue to drift until some department can come up with a definite stand.”

The lawyer, Malkin, shook his head in horror. “On the other hand, this policy of resistance would imply a potential armed conflict!”

“Yes,” Wigram responded.

“Not to mention the political perspective,” Cranborne persisted. “War is anathema to the country.”

“It also,” Stevenson added, “undermines the rapport established since the Naval pact last year.”

“And,” Malkin continued, “imply that we would threaten, or even apply, force every time Germany proved to be intransigent.”

“And it would completely drive the Germans into the arms of the Italians,” Eden conceded.

“Or the Russians,” that was Sargent.

“So, the second ‘line of policy’,” Eden said with a faint smile, “is clearly not popular. The third, Wigram?”

Wigram nodded. “The third option is to negotiate a settlement. This really means a limited or comprehensive settlement of differences between Germany and the Western powers based on the abrogation of the Rhineland demilitarisation clauses, the scope of which can be decided upon at a later date.” There was interest in this, and Wigram continued, ironically enough. “This policy is at first attractive because most of the objections to the two other policies would be fiendish to see resolved, but this policy does not entail war or overt shirking of our obligations. But,” he said in genuine questioning, “it also poses two major questions: could this policy be adopted by the Cabinet and would this be an efficacious policy?”

He paused for questions, but there were none. “Go on, Wigram,” Eden prompted encouragingly.

“There are six major obstacles that stand in the way of the adoption by the British Government of this policy. First, there is the possibility of failure. If negotiations failed to produce an equitable settlement after we had made known our intentions to negotiate, Britain's reputation might be irreparably damaged, for the failure would be interpreted as a British inability to exert any decisive influence. We might then no longer be held in esteem as the leading European power.”

Cranborne frowned, but Vansittart looked in agreement.

“In the second place, even if negotiations were successful, their product might still be viewed as another Hoare-Laval pact. Coming only a few months after that fiasco, this policy of negotiation and compromise might be politically inadvisable.” Quite a few of the people sat around the table had been involved in that fiasco and all had the grace to look embarrassed. “A third objection to a negotiated settlement is that we doubt German sincerity. Do we know if Germany really wants such a settlement? If Germany was to prove sincere, all might turn out right. But if this were not the case, the result would be even worse than if the negotiations had simply failed, for it would not only be politically damaging for us, but would also compromise Britain’s bargaining strength in the future. Germany would then know for certain that Britain was not absolutely determined to maintain the demilitarisation of the Rhineland.”

“Fourth,” Wigram continued, “we’re frankly not convinced of the durability of any pact signed with Germany.”

“We’re not?” That was Earl Stanhope, making his first contribution.

“I do believe,” Vansittart answered, “that no arrangement that required any sacrifice on the part of Germany would be observed by them, certainly not for long. Continue, please, Ralph.”

“Sir. Fifth, even if Germany could be trusted to honour treaties, there would be no guarantee that Germany would not make demands on areas not covered by treaties. Sixth and finally, do we know who, in Cabinet, would support or oppose a policy of negotiated settlement? No one has yet declared himself for fear of being overruled by the rest of the Cabinet. This hesitation, as much as any other factor, prevents the early adoption of this policy.”

“I believe,” said Stevenson, “that these objections notwithstanding, the arguments in favour of a negotiated settlement make it the best of all three possible lines of action.”

“I agree,” Cranborne added, Vansittart already was preparing for a ‘double act’. “By broaching the possibility of negotiations, Britain can reassure Germany of our peaceful intentions. This would not only would bolster the more moderate elements in Germany, but would also force the German Government to take a visible stand with regard to us.”

Eden looked to Sinclair, who had said little in the debate. “Well, Admiral?”

Sinclair raised a hand. “I am not here to make Foreign policy and…”

“Just give me your view,” Eden said sharply.

“We all believe the Rhineland to be strategically useless,” he said, carefully marshalling agreement, “so British interests would clearly, obviously be better served if the Rhineland could be exchanged for something more useful.” It was a telling point, so Sinclair couldn’t resist a witty quip. “If there is to be a funeral, it is clearly better to arrange it while Hitler is still in a mood to pay the undertakers for their services!”

There were a few smiles, although Cranborne seemed crisply unmoved. Vansittart stifled a yawn.

“Foreign Secretary, gentlemen,” he said, calmly, in command, “this department is still picking up the pieces of the Hoare-Laval nonsense. This policy, if properly presented to the public, would greatly improve the reputation of this Foreign Office. Now is the time to re-establish its former reputation. As long as negotiations are in progress, the Foreign Office would be in full charge of Foreign Affairs; this would not only augment your position in the Cabinet,” he looked to Eden, “but also restore the Foreign Office’s prestige by keeping it in the public's attention. The policy of negotiation would also become an acceptable compromise for advocates of both views in this office.”

It was a passionate point, a plea by a department head to rebuild an institution shattered by Ethiopia and Hoare-Laval. Eden was pleased by the point of strengthening his prestige in Cabinet, and decided that he agreed with Vansittart. “I think, then, that we have a policy. Wigram, work out the details, thank you, Gentlemen,” he said as a hint for them to leave him with his thoughts.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

GAME NOTES

The Foreign Office debates the Rhineland Crisis.

I have gone from one (the last update) to five, and then back to four chapters on this in a classic (for this AAR) panic over whether to follow a “Butterfly Effect” approach, let’s call it the ‘broadsheet approach’, and a more ‘tabloid’ attitude. On this occasion I have chosen to slow the action right down, to allow a more detailed examination of the issue. My instinct is that, with a lot of random stuff coming up after the Rhineland incident, I’ll do roughly a chapter per theme, until we eventually rejoin King Edward. Simples, at least in theory.

And so, a whole Chapter (and one of the longer ones to date) devoted to the Foreign Office’s discussion. This started out as a kind of prologue to the next Chapter, a Cabinet Meeting / address to Parliament, that just kept growing. That there was a ‘crisis summit’ on 8 – 9 March in the FO is not in dispute, who actually attended it is. Eden and Vansittart are ‘no brainers’, the meeting was, after all, for Eden’s benefit and Vansittart, as Head of the Foreign Office, would of course be there. Ralph Wigram would, absolutely, be involved, whether on paper on in person (I am prepared to concede that either is possible). He is one of the great pre-war characters, usually portrayed as the ‘decent man’, the quiet civil servant doing the right thing, in anti-appeasement productions. The truth is more nuanced, and his comments on the lack of doubt that the zone would disappear are precisely as written by him shortly before this meeting. He was, as the truth of German intentions developed, an increasingly critical voice in the Foreign Office; here, though, he is a pragmatist, and I have simplified what was a hugely complex assessment of the Rhineland situation to have him as he sole briefer.

The other attendees, though, are a bit of a mystery so I have assembled the crowd that I think would be invited to attend. Cranborne and Stanhope were Eden’s (largely ineffectual) deputies and Cranborne, later the Marquess Salisbury (yup, he’s one of them), was probably slightly more able (or politically astute, at least) than Stanhope, who provides minor comic relief. Malkin, FO Legal Adviser, was heavily involved in preparing the FO response and was as wary of involvement in a campaign against Germany as portrayed here. I have guessed that he would be around to advise on any legal matters, again perhaps ‘on call’ rather than in the room (although your humble author’s mantra is that I have to at least be at the table in order to advise). Orme Sargent is the character that I wish I had more room to develop; he was exceptionally bright and, by 1936, probably the clearest official on the need to respond to German ambition with a logical policy. His writing is wonderful. Stevenson is a bit of an odd one – I have included him because he appears to be have been heavily involved (as his exalted role would suggest), although his actual beliefs are nigh on impossible to deduce.

If the Foreign Office seems divided then good, Eden had inherited a badly mismanaged organ of the state that just wasn’t, by 1936, ‘fit for purpose’. It lacked leadership – Vansittart was preoccupied with the Cabinet chaos (upon joining the Foreign Office in early ’36 Eden was his third Secretary of State in six month) and the management of information, including thousands of dispatches from embassies and outstations around the globe, was incompetent. Part of it was cultural, but part of it was personality driven – they just didn’t know what to do with the information coming in. Part of that information was from Sinclair, who I have included in the meeting after much consideration. Eden was finding his way with intelligence, but Vansittart, although he was hugely critical of MI6, was fascinated by it – even as he undermined the standing organisations by establishing his own network of informants in key locations. We’ll be seeing more of Sinclair, but as an introduction this AAR seemed a good opportunity.

The options discussed are presented reasonably accurately as they were in 1936; doing a deal was rapidly viewed as the only thing that allowed the British to accept the situation while appearing to actually do something. A true dilemma of foreign policy, and we're not home yet...

@Bullfilter : And that’s the point, it is a difficult exercise, and Phipps did reasonably.

@stnylan : Couldn’t resist!

@Captured Joe : Don’t bet on it, at least not for a bit – one of the things that I struggle to get my head around is the chaos that was British tank policy. I will try, but it will be a wait I’m afraid.

@TheButterflyComposer : I actually feel extremely sorry for the French at this juncture; they are pegged to a UK that is unable to offer any great support, and is rapidly becoming an unreliable partner.

@El Pip : Thank you mon brave, and you’re right. “British power” really means financial and industrial resolve (as it arguably did for Britain when considering “American power” later on) with the Royal Navy an asset, but perhaps not the best one for this particular crisis.

@DensleyBlair : HM’s view will be looked at amidst the next update, I promise.

@Specialist290 : :)

@TheButterflyComposer : I will try and squeeze in a financial / France focussed update.

@El Pip : I doubt that the Establishment would want HM mixed up in this – particularly as his personal views became apparent.

@H.Appleby : Hilarious – and I look forward to your AAR!

@El Pip : Ditto!
 
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Nikolai

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This AAR is one of the most British feeling AARs I've read in quite a while. You really capture the tone, old boy. :p
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Prime Minister Sarraut has been publicly defiant.
Good.

“Or the Russians,” that was Sargent.
The nazis doing a deal with the communists? Surely not!

I actually feel extremely sorry for the French at this juncture; they are pegged to a UK that is unable to offer any great support, and is rapidly becoming an unreliable partner.
Yeah the situation for all the European powers involved is a bit bleak. They're all doomed no matter what they do, or so it seems sometimes.
 
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Specialist290

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“Foreign Secretary,” Wigram began, in confronting this crisis the Foreign Office has three primary lines of alternative action to recommend to you and the Cabinet. These are to give up, to resist any German attempt at reoccupation, and to negotiate a settlement.”
The old classic trick: Present two (or more) extreme approaches, then the one you really want as the moderate "third option." And, as it so often does, it seems to have worked.

That being said, with the state of Britain being what it is, this whole debate seems to be more a matter of figuring out what the "least bad" option is, rather than the unequivocal best choice. The Government basically has the choice of either losing face on the public stage by letting Germany get what it wants, or else committing itself to a conflict of uncertain length and ferocity that it isn't materially or psychologically prepared for.
 
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El Pip

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For all the talk of France depending on Britain the reverse was true. In any land action the French had to take the lead on the basis they were both nearby and actually had an Army.

I say Army, they had mobilisation plans. I say plans, they had one plan - full mobilisation or nothing. Or at least that was what Gamelin told the French government during the Rhineland Crisis, but how can you trust him? He had neurosyphilis and it's only going to get worse before the balloon goes up. It's a good thing his deputy as Head of the Army doesn't have crippling PTSD after being seriously wounded in an assassination plot.... Oh. Oh dear.

France really wasn't helping itself in this period.
 

stnylan

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And that is the how the civil service ensures the ministers do what they desire. :)

I really enjoyed the interplay in this meeting, but perhaps especially the little hints of Eden's character, his little actions and notes. Now, I have my own views of Eden which are not entirely complimentary, and I must say these little details dovetailed nicely with my preconceptions :)
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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The old classic trick: Present two (or more) extreme approaches, then the one you really want as the moderate "third option." And, as it so often does, it seems to have worked.
"Ours is the four word trick."

I was also thinking of yes minister all the way through the forgiven office exchange. The problem the chaps have is that the British are in no position to help France in most ways, and yet they really actually want france to go for broke and shove the Germans out of the rhur. the French on the other hand want the Germans out but are worried that they will have to fight to do it. I am reminded of a porridge quote actually regarding two featherweight boxers.

"It's a toss up whose going to win there, given that they are equally weak and cowardly."

Basically both countries aren't in a state to fight and so just standing up and looking tough would make the other run away...unfortunately Germany moved first.
 
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H.Appleby

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I say Army, they had mobilisation plans. I say plans, they had one plan - full mobilisation or nothing. Or at least that was what Gamelin told the French government during the Rhineland Crisis, but how can you trust him? He had neurosyphilis and it's only going to get worse before the balloon goes up. It's a good thing his deputy as Head of the Army doesn't have crippling PTSD after being seriously wounded in an assassination plot.... Oh. Oh dear.
Perhaps we can see if Weygand can run the show this time...
 

El Pip

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Perhaps we can see if Weygand can run the show this time...
Get him in post early enough and things could be very different indeed.

This could be Eddie's great service to the nation, on a trip to Paris he could meet Gamelin and then bring back to Londond the vital intelligence that the French High Command is riddled with VD. I imagine that as a great philanderer he was adept at spotting the signs, if only to avoid it himself.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Get him in post early enough and things could be very different indeed.

This could be Eddie's great service to the nation, on a trip to Paris he could meet Gamelin and then bring back to Londond the vital intelligence that the French High Command is riddled with VD. I imagine that as a great philanderer he was adept at spotting the signs, if only to avoid it himself.
Don't they know already that the french military doesn't really want to fight? From what I've heard over the years, french officers were not shy about saying such things in public sometimes.