By Nicholas Rostow
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Additional resources for Anglo-French Relations, 1934–36
Phipps's message had not changed, but its effect struck the Ambassador as 'catastrophic'. The Chancellor raged at British insensitivity to the threat to Germany posed by French and Russian forces - '10,000 hostile military aeroplanes' 81 - and at Germany's status as Europe's 'door-mat': even Prague dared to stage hostile demonstrations. 82 He denounced the idea of an Eastern Pact as cover for an already existing Franco-Russian alliance, and would not listen to Phipps's denials. Hitler complained that the British paid no attention to his wish for a bilateral arms agreement with them.
Germany's withdrawal from the League and the Disarmament Conference, as well as German rearmament itself, gave opportunities to government critics who 32 Anglo-French Relations, 1934-36 also wanted office, particularly mistrusted men like Lloyd George and Churchill. On 26 November, two days before the debate, Neville Chamberlain warned the Cabinet against accelerating the expansion of the RAF: German preparations did not justify it; the Air Ministry did not need more planes and the aeronautics industry could not efficiently produce more aircraft; and acceleration would cost £250,000 this year, at least £500,000 next, and more in the future.
128 Summarising discussion, the Prime Minister emphasised the importance of economy: 'we could not run the risk of a financial smash. On the other hand, if we had sufficient financial resources, it was unwise to have insufficient defence. Consequently, the financial position and military preparations should go hand in hand. ' 129 The Committee of Imperial Defence agreed: planning for war with Germany in five years would proceed 'on the understanding that no question of finance was involved'. 130 At the same time, 1936 would be 'the most critical year' with regard to japan.
Anglo-French Relations, 1934–36 by Nicholas Rostow