Politics, culture and the security of France: a reinterpretation of French foreign and security policy after the First World War

Jackson, P. (2011) Politics, culture and the security of France: a reinterpretation of French foreign and security policy after the First World War. French Historical Studies, 34(4), pp. 577-610. (doi: 10.1215/00161071-1422856)

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Abstract

French foreign and security policy after the First World War has long been depicted as an attempt to use traditional strategies based on the balance of power and alliance politics to compel Germany to comply with its obligations under the Treaty of Versailles. The change to a more conciliatory policy in 1924 is typically understood as a response to pressure from Britain and the United States, as well as to French weakness. This interpretation ignores important internationalist currents in French thinking about security during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and their impact during and after the First World War. It also fails to account for key developments in the French public sphere after that conflict. This article argues that an approach to security best described as “juridical internationalism” played an increasingly influential role in shaping national security policy during the early 1920s. The result was a gradual move away from a policy of confrontation and a growing emphasis on compulsory arbitration and binding mutual assistance. This process culminated in the Locarno Accords of 1925.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jackson, Professor Peter
Authors: Jackson, P.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > DC France
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:French Historical Studies
Publisher:Duke University Press
ISSN:0016-1071
ISSN (Online):1527-5493

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