Lack of Opposition to Chamberlain's Policy of Appeasement

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Discuss the reasons why, in the period 1934-38, British critics of appeasement had such a limited impact on British policy towards Germany.

The supporters of appeasement came from diverse groups, such as the Conservative Party, the Church of England and a number of right wing extreme elements. The only significant group on the centre left to support Chamberlain were pacifists. The very way in which such influential groups gave support to the policy, meant that it would be an even greater challenge for the opposition to discredit it

Few Tories favoured direct military involvement in European problems. Sir Arnold Wilson, a Tory MP, was not alone in calling for a return to a policy of isolation from European problems, supported by armaments but uncommitted to upholding collective security of taking part in any alliance system. Tories saw little other alternative to appeasement. There was strong conservative opposition to forming an Anglo-French alliance. This was because of the belief that French belligerence towards Germany was a major cause of European tension. McDonough argues that "The only other possible candidate for an alliance was the Soviet Union", but the Soviet Union was perceived in a worse light by many Tories then the Nazis themselves.

The Tory MP at the time, Sir Edward Grigg explained that "most Conservatives prefer the German system to the Russian because it is nationalistic in spirit and does not seek to unbalance...class lines." The League of Nations was far less popular in Conservative party circles then it was amidst those of Liberals and Labour party. "Tories saw European issues "through the narrow prism of British self interest and doubted whether collective security could deter military aggression." ...

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... of a driven man, full of a blinkered determination for peace such as Chamberlain, for he held such a powerful influence in parliament and government. They had to wait for the policy to prove itself foolish, or to fail if not foolish, for the chance for them to take over and implicate a stronger policy against Hitler, by this time war had already began however, and they had limited options. Perhaps if these men were in power before Munich, Hitler might have been deterred from going to war and Britain better prepared, with greater munitions and allied agreements to face the German armed forces. The tremendous unity against Nazi Germany during the Second World War owes more to the critics of appeasement, then it does to the supporters, for these men took over Chamberlains helm, where he had failed to keep peace, and bravely stood up and faced Hitler's war machine.
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