Journal Article

The Reorientation of French Diplomacy in the mid‐1920s: the Role of Jacques Seydoux

Nicole Jordan

in The English Historical Review

Volume 117, issue 473, pages 867-888
Published in print September 2002 | ISSN: 0013-8266
Published online September 2002 | e-ISSN: 1477-4534 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehr/117.473.867
The Reorientation of French Diplomacy in the mid‐1920s: the Role of Jacques Seydoux

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It was not the diplomats, but the military in France who held most tightly to the Eastern alliances, a dichotomy patent by the 1920s. This article explores the origins of this divide in French strategy and foreign policy, in the years before Briand and Stresemann made Locarno, when France under Poincaré occupied the Ruhr and then extricated itself from its disastrous experiment in Rhenish separatism. While Marshal Foch regarded as a single front his policy of political and military treaties with the states encircling Germany, the French reparations expert, Jacques Seydoux, treated la barrière de l'est as a concept tinged with anachronism in an age of European financial reconstruction. By autumn 1924, the Quai d'Orsay took an active role in attempts to dilute the eastern treaties to bring them into line with the abortive Geneva Protocol. With Briand's advent, the door opened wider to discussion of territorial revision in the east. While Foch saw the German proposal for Locarno as a prelude to German attack in the east and then the west, Seydoux and his colleagues espoused révision à froid, which not being effected on the spur of the moment or in a crisis, would allow time for the new states' consolidation. French diplomacy took as its point of departure the working distinction that France should guarantee the independence of its smaller allies, not their boundaries. Seydoux's point of arrival in the heady days of Franco‐German entente was far less clear.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: British History ; World History ; European History ; International History

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