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The Challenge of Hegemony

a number of new and old ships.51 This ratio just permitted the Admiralty to send a ›eet to the Far East while keeping a one-power standard against the next largest European navy (Kennedy 1976, 341).

At the London Naval Conference (1930), the Labour government signed a second naval limitation treaty with Japan. Unresolved at the Washington Conference was the matter of limiting warships displacing less than ten thousand tons. While Japan pushed for a 70 percent ratio in heavy cruisers, Britain and the United States advocated to extend the 60 percent ratio for capital ships to all categories of vessels. The compromised agreement was a 10:6 ratio on large cruisers, parity on submarines, and a 10:7 ratio on other categories of auxiliary craft.

To moderate Germany’s military buildup, while preventing a repeat of the costly naval race that preceded World War I, free traders supported diplomacy in the form of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement (1935).52 The Naval Agreement permitted the maintenance of a German navy no larger than 35 percent of the size of Britain’s surface ›eet in all classes of vessels and 45 percent in submarines. For ‹nancial interests that were anx- ious to limit overall spending on armaments, restricting the German ›eet allowed Britain to rearm at the moderate pace dictated by ‹scal orthodoxy, while providing for a suf‹cient force to protect against Japanese aggression in the western Paci‹c (Howard 1972). There was also the belief that bilat- eral negotiations might move from naval matters to the urgent question of air power and a multilateral Air Pact directed against surprise aerial bom- bardment. Between 1934 and 1938, Britain launched several attempts to conclude an air pact with Germany. Britain had added pressure to reach an agreement with Germany, because in 1934, Japan announced that it did not intend to renew the Washington and London Naval Treaties when the latter expired in 1936. Yet, free traders opposed any upward revision of the Navy’s one-power standard to a two-power standard since it might trigger competition with Germany and Japan.

Free traders, especially the Treasury, opposed expenditure for a Conti- nental size army in peacetime and during the initial stages of war (see Peden 1979, 113–50, for army, naval, and air policy; Cain and Hopkins 1993a, 96–105). A Continental army was expensive and would cause eco- nomic dislocation by diverting manpower from production. Instead, British labor (kept at home) would build the equipment to support the armies of its Continental allies. Eventually, Britain might have to commit an army to the Continent (Murray 1979a). As well, with the advent of long-range aircraft the RAF could simply ›y over the Low Countries,

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