• Christopher Thorne


At the beginning of this study, a brief outline was given of the main arguments among participants and historians that arose from the crisis of 1931 to 1933.1 On occasions this debate, if such it can be called, has been of a somewhat ferocious nature, and one reason no doubt lies in the character of events on either side of what occurred in Manchuria itself: in the futile horrors of 1914–18 which helped give the League idea in Britain its creed-like features, and in the unparalleled ‘material ruin and moral havoc’ of 1939–45 which Churchill and others assured the world could ‘easily have been prevented’.2 For a time after this second conflict, the temptation to explain all by discovering a group of ‘guilty men’, by lighting upon a ‘turning point’ at which peace was wantonly betrayed, proved almost irresistible; and while this eventually gave way in a European context to a wider and more critical questioning, the greater general ignorance of Far Eastern affairs may be one reason why even now it remains common for simplistic answers to be accepted where this other sphere is concerned. Meanwhile the newfound comradeship in adversity of the United States and Britain helped to obscure the years of distrust and hostility that had gone before, and to encourage a ‘hands-across-the-sea’ approach to the history of Anglo-American relations which in turn highlighted such episodes as Stimson’s apparent readiness for joint action to stamp out aggression and nascent anarchy in 1932.


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© Christopher Thorne 1972

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  • Christopher Thorne

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