Concern over the Empire

Any war in Europe involving Britain could threaten the security of her Empire.

During the 1930s the British Empire had come under threat from:

  • Japan in the far east
  • Italy in the Mediterranean
  • Germany

There were serious doubts that the armed forces could defend the Empire. Particularly if they were faced with problems in different areas at the same time.

Furthermore Britain had to deal with trouble in:

  • India - Mohandas Gandhi led civil disobedience campaigns for Indian independence. Britain was reluctant to lose the centre of her imperial trade. This resulted in more troops being stationed in India than anywhere else in the Empire
  • the Middle East - Increasing tension between Jewish and indigenous Arab people in the British run Mandate of Palestine meant that 20,000 troops were needed there in 1938

By the time of the Munich Crisis, the Dominions (Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa) had concerns about Britain going to war over Czechoslovakia. Only New Zealand had given a firm guarantee of support. This increased the pressure to avoid a conflict in Europe.