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By Denis Smyth

An research of Britain's diplomatic efforts to maintain the non-belligerency of Franco's Spain, in the course of the interval from past due 1940 to the top of 1941. Making large use of lately on hand British and Spanish documentary documents, Dr Smyth explains how Britain's uphill fight to safe Spanish non-belligerency have been rewarded with luck via December 1940. sarcastically, British policy-makers have been ignorant of the earl), good fortune in their efforts, so that they remained alert all through 1940-41 to the risk of unexpected Spanish help for a German circulation throughout their territory to Gibraltar. the realization notes how carrying on with Spanish neutrality helped the British suffer 'their best hour' and the Franco regime to outlive the destruction of its former Fascist consumers.

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62 Notwithstanding this setback, however, it appears, on closer examination, that the British foreign policy line towards the Spanish Civil War was fashioned with some skill and was rewarded with some success. The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, in July 1936, exacerbated an already troubled international scene for Britain. The emergence of restless regimes in Central Europe, the Mediterranean and the Far East exposed the strategic vulnerability of an overstretched and underarmed British Empire.

63 Hoare would greatly rely upon this verdict by Britain's grand strategists, on the necessity for careful treatment of Spain, in later advocacy and defence of his policy. He did not, however, immediately abandon his misgivings about Franco's intentions. 64 Again, Hoare might have been less enthusiastic over the Protocol of 29 July 1940, to the Spanish-Portuguese Treaty of Friendship and Non-Aggression, had he known that Spain was allowed liberty of action against Britain, in the matter of Gibraltar and that HispanoPortuguese contacts had been welcomed and encouraged by the Germans.

61 What Hoare was seeking was absolute approval, upon the firmest grounds of national security, for his policy. He got it. Halifax replied in the most positive fashion, declaring that he whole-heartedly shared Hoare's view that even every week gained was of value. 63 Hoare would greatly rely upon this verdict by Britain's grand strategists, on the necessity for careful treatment of Spain, in later advocacy and defence of his policy. He did not, however, immediately abandon his misgivings about Franco's intentions.

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