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Knowing the AdversaryLeaders, Intelligence, and Assessment of Intentions in International Relations$
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Keren Yarhi-Milo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159157

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159157.001.0001

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Indicators of Nazi Germany’s Intentions and the Coming of World War I, 1934–39

Indicators of Nazi Germany’s Intentions and the Coming of World War I, 1934–39

(p.44) Chapter 2 Indicators of Nazi Germany’s Intentions and the Coming of World War I, 1934–39
Knowing the Adversary

Keren Yarhi-Milo

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on British assessments of Nazi Germany’s intentions during the interwar period (1934–1939). It outlines the predictions generated by each of the four explanations about perceived intentions and examines changes in German military capabilities, doctrine, and actions during this period. The chapter first considers the hypothetical arguments of the selective attention thesis and highlights its predictions for this case, focusing on the vividness hypothesis, the subjective credibility hypothesis, and the organizational expertise hypothesis. It then derives predictions for each of the competing theses, namely: capabilities thesis, strategic military doctrine thesis, and behavior thesis. The findings suggest that Britain’s perceptions of Germany from 1934 to 1939 were shaped by costly actions that had been undertaken by the latter well before Adolf Hitler rose to power in January 1933.

Keywords:   perceived intentions, Nazi Germany, military capabilities, selective attention, vividness hypothesis, intentions assessment, capabilities, strategic military doctrine, behavior, Britain

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