CYIL vol. 11 (2020)

JAN ONDŘEJ – MAGDA UXOVÁ CYIL 11 (2020) Of the fourteen states to sign the Protocol, Czechoslovakia and France were the first who signed the Protocol, which was ratified by the President of the Czechoslovak Republic first. However, the protocol did not enter into force because it had not been ratified by many states. The United Kingdom, in particular, opposed the Protocol’s entry into force. The main reason for the United Kingdom’s refusal was that consistent enforcement of the Geneva Protocol commitments would mean creating a major conflict involving the great powers in any minor conflict between states, which could (and ultimately) lead to a global conflict. 18 The idea of securing peace in general through a collective agreement with the largest possible number of signatory states had thus failed. The failure of this Protocol led to the organizing a conference in Locarno in 1925, which resulted in the Rhineland Pact enclosed by France, Great Britain, Italy, Germany, and Belgium. Its purpose was to guarantee at least the French-German and Belgian-German borders, but not the borders in the east. This limitation of guarantees was a step backwards from the point of view of European security; this policy was not based on a common British- French approach. Edvard Beneš was aware of this when he explained: “The general concept of the Protocol in its courage, in its overall construction, in its impressive worldliness, which is the expression and meaning of the idea of ​the League of Nations, had something magnificent and beautiful and contained rules of hitherto unknown international equality.”  19 At the same time, he expressed concern that “ a new method which should have replaced the old one, slow and gradual work through regional agreements would not lead us for a long time to the ultimate goal of our work.” In addition to the Rhineland Pact, arbitration agreements were concluded between Poland and Germany and Czechoslovakia and Germany, these arbitration agreements were no longer included in the guarantee pact. All the treaties, the most important of which was the Rhineland Pact, were signed on 16 October 1925, but the bilateral mutual guarantee treaties drawn up towards Czechoslovakia and Poland could not have the same weight as a joint guarantee pact. The treaties were an attempt to weaken the destabilizing effect of the Locarno Conference on European politics in the eastern part of the continent when the British government refused to guarantee Germany’s eastern border. This was a step backwards compared to the collective security policy pursued by the Geneva Protocol. Edvard Beneš already “saw the danger of British politics in Eastern Europe and its anti-Soviet edge, which, with its efforts to leave the East German border without any guarantees, also turned against Czechoslovakia and Poland.” 20 Locarno’s policy was clearly directed against the League of Nations, because the Locarno Conference took place outside its framework. The British government, especially regarding the German issue, focused more on the USA than on France. The two countries were united mainly by the efforts to find a way to pay reparations by Germany, mainly so that their debtors among the victorious powers, especially France, could repay the loans they received from these two richest powers. 18 TOMÁŠEK, M. Podíl čs. práva a diplomacie na fungování meziválečné Evropy a formování evropských integračních uskupení. [The Impact of the Czechoslovak Law and Diplomacy in the Functioning of Europe in the interwar period and the Formation of European Integration Groups.] In MALÝ, K.; SOUKUP, L. (eds.). Československé právo a právní věda v meziválečném období (1918–1938) a jejich místo ve střední Evropě. [ Czechoslovak Law and Legal Science in the Interwar Period (1918–1938) and Their Place in Central Europe. ] Praha: Karolinum, 2010, p. 378. 19 ORT, A. Edvard Beneš diplomat a politik . [ Edvard Beneš, Diplomat and Politician. ] Praha: IRMA, 1994, p. 26. 20 Ibid., p. 27.


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