Appeasement was the policy adopted by the British Prime Minister where by Neville Chamberlain gave into Hitler in order to prevent another war. Chamberlain himself was convinced that this was right.
The two key issues that are concerned with appeasement are:
• Anschluss, March 1938 – this is where Hitler united Germany
and Austria. This was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles. Furthermore
the unification of Austria and Germany could be seen as an aggressive
move on Germany’s part.
Appeasement and Anschluss
Arguments for and against appeasement:
The are the main arguments on either side:
Britain did not have allies who were prepared to fight with her against Germany in 1938.
Peace was very precious. After the horrors of the First World War, Chamberlain was right to do anything he could to avoid another war.
Hitler’s demands were not unreasonable. He was simply putting right unfair parts of the Treaty of Versailles. If the Sudeten Germans wanted to join Germany, Britain should not risk war to stop them.
A strong Germany was not such a bad idea because Hitler was ready to fight communism.
Appeasement gave Britain time to rearm. In 1938, Britains army was small and its weapons were old.
British people did not want war in 1938. They supported Chamberlain’s policy.
Appeasement was naïve. Hitler had always said he intended to conquer Eastern Europe.
Appeasement gave Germany time to build weapons.
Chamberlain was weak. He was unwilling to make tough decisions.
Appeasment encouraged Hitler to be AGGRESSIVE because it made him think Britain would do anything to avoid war.
Appeasement worried other countries in Eastern Europe. If Britain and France were not prepared to defend Czechoslovakia, then would they defend other countries?
Appeasement did not prevent war. It just put it off.
Appeasement made Germany stronger. In talking over land, Germany got the factories and raw materials it needed.