Justifying Appeasement Essay

Justifying Appeasement Essay

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Justifying Appeasement

Appeasement was the foreign policy followed by the British and French
governments in the 1930s, whereby they did not attack or confront
other governments, specifically that of Germany's, when international
laws were breached, but rather gave into some of the demands to keep
the peace.

After the horror and dramatic loss of innocent lives (amassing over 3
million) in the First World War, both the French and the British
governments were keen to avoid any more blood shed and their pacifist
policies meant they started to take a very lenient attitude towards
breached international laws. They knew that the general public, for
whom the memories of war were still rife, thought the idea of another
conflict unacceptable. When the Japanese invaded Manchuria in 1931,
the League of Nations were unable to enforce any effective sanctions
and when Mussolini invaded Abyssinia in 1936, the economic sanctions
they managed to enforce had little effect. Without military threat the
League of Nations had little power over countries who broke the laws
and the British and French wanted to abstain from conflict, even if it
meant no resolution was met. Hitler, no doubt, saw this weakness and
found ways to exploit the lenience he observed throughout the early
1930s.

Like the rest of the World, Britain and France were suffering the
effects of the Great Depression so the financial implications of war
also served as a deterrent. It was increasingly becoming accepted that
the Treaty of Versailles was unfair to Germany, in particular the War
Guilt Clause by which they not only accepted full responsibility for
the war but also had to ...


... middle of paper ...


...f a responsibility to think through their policies thoroughly in
order to have properly assessed its justification. Lord Chamberlain's
trusting relationship with Hitler may have been, in part, responsible
for such blind faith in expecting Hitler to stop and be satisfied when
his early demands were met. However, Britain and France did not appear
to thoroughly consider the policy and consequently, as we have seen,
Hitler was allowed to go against the terms of the Treaty of
Versailles, increasing in military strength, reuniting with Austria,
conquering the Sudetenland, all the while becoming an even stronger
threat. However, during the 1930s the policy of Appeasement did allow
Britain and France to rearm. Perhaps without this time to increase
their military power, they may not have finally defeated Hitler and
won the War.

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