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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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British Decision Makers’ Perceptions of Nazi Germany’s Intentions

British Decision Makers’ Perceptions of Nazi Germany’s Intentions

(p.58) Chapter 3 British Decision Makers’ Perceptions of Nazi Germany’s Intentions
Knowing the Adversary

Keren Yarhi-Milo

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the evolution of the views held by Britain’s key decision makers, including Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, about Nazi Germany’s intentions, the indicators they used to make inferences about the nature and scope of Adolf Hitler’s intentions, and the policies they advocated that reflected their assessments. Drawing on documents in the British National Archives, the chapter provides evidence that strongly supports the selective attention thesis along with the vividness and subjective credibility hypotheses, adequately supports the behavior thesis’ current actions hypotheses, and only weakly supports the capabilities and strategic military doctrine theses. While Hitler’s costly actions played a relatively important role in the intentions assessments of some decision makers, indicators associated with the capabilities thesis or strategic military doctrine thesis and Germany’s past actions were less central to the process of inferring Hitler’s political intentions.

Keywords:   decision makers, Britain, Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, selective attention, behavior, capabilities, strategic military doctrine, intentions assessment, political intentions

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