Appeasement Policy Towards WW II
Uploaded by jameswong1390 on Apr 05, 2009
When The Great War came to an end in November 1918, the suffering of the nations involved was so appalling that many hoped never to repeat such an experience again. The fact that the Second World War took place just twenty years later is indeed intriguing. There were three prominent underlying factors from the 1920’s onwards that can be evaluated when discussing the causes of the war. They are the Treaty of Versailles, the weakness of the League of Nations and the world economic crisis of the early 1930’s. In short, these factors formed the basis for the starting of a war by providing a tense atmosphere in Europe. However, the Treaty of Versailles and the weakness of the League could only be responsible to a limited extent as Europe in the mid 1920’s was on the road to recovery, with peaceful foreign policies that could have prevented war. Clearly, more major factors were needed in order for a war to breakout. In fact, the three main parties responsible for causing the war were the appeasers (British and French), the Soviet Union and Hitler. In addition, the different viewpoints of historians are also compared in the course of this investigation.
The policy of appeasement adopted by the British and the French was a factor that played a critical role in the outbreak of the war. As the British Prime Minister, Stanly Baldwin was the first to introduce appeasement in the mid 1930’s. However, when Neville Chamberlain came into office in 1937, he took appeasement to a whole new level. According to the British government, the meaning of appeasement was “pacification through the settlement of issues by negotiation and compromise”. The British pursued this policy with great confidence as they had several logical reasons to justify their actions. It was only after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, that many British began to feel that Germany was indeed “harshly” and unjustly treated. They were also afraid that Germany would turn towards aggression once again and perhaps spark another war. Therefore, Britain was willing to give in to Hitler’s demands as it was a way of “redressing Germany’s legitimate grievances”. Especially after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the British were interested for various reasons in the “preservation of peace”. ...