Revision Notes and Sample Essays for IBDP Appeasement Questions

The first act of aggression leading to World War II was the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. THIS WILL BE COVERED LATER IN THE COURSE. Following its invasion of the rest of northern China in 1937, Japan joined the Axis powers. Following his rise to power in 1933, Adolf Hitler repudiated the Versailles Treaty, rearmed Germany, and demanded lebensraum—living space—for the German people. We have already followed his march into the Rhineland, Austria, and eventually, Czechoslovakia whilst the Western powers, in particular Britain and France, sought to appease him, both out of genuine remorse over the excesses of Versailles and because neither state had the economic health to rearm. A few leaders—Stalin in the Soviet Union and Churchill out of power in Britain—warned of the danger, but Hitler’s true intentions became widely apparent only with his conquest of the Czechs early in 1939. Still, the West spurned Soviet help, leading Stalin to sign a non-aggression pact with Hitler in August 1939. This reassured Hitler that his eastern flank would be protected—and doomed Poland.



Outline

It has been argued that the 1920s and 1930s were a brief truce between two halves of one conflict- a second 30 Years War. Like all European wars, they were both about balance of power, but where the first war was fought among monarchies and republics whose regimes seemed to be stable, the second was fought over ideology as well: totalitarianism versus democracy, communism versus fascism versus democracy, racialism versus equality. This is why I think it useful to remember Thucydides.

Put another way, it could be argued that the diplomats at Versailles had done such a poor job that the second war became a life-and-death struggle for civilisation itself—for all the good that civilisation had accomplished up to 1939.

The first military action of the 1930s was the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. We’ll cover this in depth later in the course. We will watch Capra’s Why We Fight, but I URGE you to watch the 4 part series Road to War.

Japan had been forced to accept contact with the West in the mid-19th century. This led to a powerful anti-Western feeling in 19th-century Japan. This led, in turn, to a coup and civil war, which established the Meiji dynasty on the imperial throne in 1868–1869.

1.      The new Meiji dynasty abolished feudalism and established the emperor’s central authority, modelling its structure on that of imperial Germany. It also imported European advisors to facilitate a modernization campaign.

2.      The new Japanese state embraced imperialism in the 19th century to join in competition with the West, to spread the benefits of Japanese civilization to the rest of Asia, and to protect its western flank. These goals explain a series of conflicts and acquisitions:

a.      In 1894, the Japanese won the First Sino-Japanese War, resulting in the takeover of Taiwan and forcing free trade with China.

b.      Because this threatened Russian interests in Asia, it eventually led to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905.

c.       As a result of Japan’s victory in this war, it was granted the Liaodong Peninsula at the southern tip of Manchuria.

d.      In 1907, Japan deposed the ruler of Korea and began an incursion that resulted in its annexation (as the province of Chosen) by 1910.

e.         Japan fought on the Allied side in World War I and acquired the Marshall, Caroline, and Marianas Islands.

By 1920, Japan was a major industrial and military power. In the 1920s and 1930s, Japan experienced social and economic unrest not unlike the West. The 1920s saw a collapse of prosperity aggravated by the Kyoto earthquake of 1923. The Depression hit Japan hard, as it did the West, and many people lost their faith in democratic capitalism. This loss of faith strengthened right-wing groups.

a.      In 1932, Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi was assassinated. Henceforward, Japan was ruled by a coalition of radical nationalists, militarists, and imperialists

in the name of Emperor Hirohito. This government concluded that Japan could compete with Western countries only by subduing its neighbours and seizing their raw materials.

1.      The Japanese also feared the rise of a strong nationalist Chinese movement that called for the ouster of imperialist powers, including Japan, from China.

2.      Japan feared the rise of the Chinese communist movement, which they believed would ally with the Soviet Union and overrun Asia.

3.      Some saw expansion into China as a way to cure Japan’s economic troubles by awarding its farmland to Japanese peasants and seizing its raw materials.

4.      In September 1931, the Japanese forces occupying Korea invaded Manchuria, creating a puppet state. WWF: Remember September 17 1931, NOT December 7, 1941

This action was condemned by the League of Nations and the United States, but no military assistance was offered to China.

 1.     Japan left the league in 1933.

2.      It signed an anticommunist pact with Germany in 1936 and with Italy in 1937.

Throughout the 1930s, tension remained high on the new Sino-Japanese border.

1.      In 1937, Japan launched a strike and seized Beijing, Shanghai, and the capital at Nanjing as we see in Why We Fight.

2.      Japanese atrocities in Nanjing, especially, shocked the world. 300,000 massacred?

3.      By the end of 1938, Japan controlled most of northern China.

4.      The Chinese nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-shek, had retreated to the mountains in the south.

5.      Nationalists and communists launched a guerrilla war that the Japanese would never be able to suppress.

It could be argued that this is the real start of World War II, but both then and later, it has been relegated to the footnotes of history.


GERMANY

Hitler had made clear in Mein Kampf that he would repudiate the Treaty of Versailles, rearm, and restore German greatness.

In October 1933, Germany withdrew from the League of Nations and the Paris disarmament conference. In March 1935, Hitler publicly repudiated the disarmament provisions of Versailles and announced plans for a rejuvenated army, air force, and navy. In fact, Germany had been rearming in secret for years. To forestall criticism, Hitler signed treaties with Poland and Britain. At this point, the French, seeing the writing on the wall, made overtures to their old ally, Russia.



The first European blood spilled by German arms would flow in Spain, where civil war broke out in 1936– 1939.

In 1931, the Spanish people elected a Republican government supported initially by all sides. The government pursued progressive policies at first, but for many, especially those on the right, the new freedoms were too much too soon. Spain entered a period of disunity. Beginning in July 1936, a rebellion broke out between the Fascist Nationalists under Francisco Franco and Republican Loyalists.

1.      Left-leaning sympathizers from around the world flocked to Spain to fight for the Republicans.

2.      Stalin sent troops and materiel. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy responded with land, air, and naval support for Franco, allowing the Nazis to test their new weapons and military techniques.

3.      In the end, Franco’s forces triumphed; in the aftermath of the war, he executed 37,000 and imprisoned thousands more.

Franco’s victory, along with the accession of right-wing governments in Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Portugal, rendered most of Southern and Central Europe fascist or quasi-fascist by 1939.

As with the disarmament provisions, Hitler argued that the territorial provisions of Versailles were unfair, that an expanding German population needed lebensraum, which had been denied by Versailles.

On 7 March 1936, Hitler’s army marched into the Rhineland. This march was very risky: Hitler’s forces were still tiny and poorly equipped. The French, though, would not act without British help and the British, under the coalition cabinets of Ramsay MacDonald and Stanley Baldwin, offered none.

Why did the British pursue and the French accept a policy of appeasement toward Hitler in the mid- to late 1930s?

1.      The memory of the Great War was so terrible that Europeans were determined to avoid repeating it.

2.      In the wake of the Depression, Britain and France hadn’t the funds to rearm.

3.      By the mid-1930s, revisionist historians had discredited the Versailles settlement, leading to guilt and a sense that Germany had a right to even the score.  
4.     Finally, to many in Europe, and as bad as Hitler and the Nazis were, they represented an alternative to and a bulwark against Stalin and communism.

5. The few politicians and observers who saw through Hitler, most notably Winston Churchill, were out of power in the 1930s. Thus, when German troops marched into Austria in March 1938, leading to its annexation (the Anschluss) to the Reich, Britain and France stood by.



1.      Austria’s postwar history was similar to Germany’s. At the close of World War I, the Austrian military had collapsed on all fronts. The Austro-Hungarian Empire broke up as formerly subject peoples declared their independence and established republics. Austria’s weak governments coped unsuccessfully with economic turmoil, culminating in the Depression. As in Germany, this produced a powerful socialist party and a growing Nazi party.

2.      In 1933, the right-wing premier, Engelbert Dollfuss, dissolved parliament, abolished civil rights, and began to rule by decree. He was assassinated in July.

3.      In 1935, the new prime minister, Kurt von Schuschnigg, sought Italian support to maintain independence, but he soon tentatively agreed to annexation by Germany.

4.      In 1938, Schuschnigg seemed to reverse course, calling for a plebiscite to determine the question.

5.      Hitler ordered troops across the border on 12 March 1938, and Austria became Ostmark, the newest state of the German Reich.

6.      Hitler justified the annexation by saying that he was merely correcting Bismarck’s mistake in 1871 when he unified Germany and left Austria out. The rest of the world viewed the annexation as an internal German matter.



Similarly, later in 1938, when Hitler demanded autonomy for the 3.5 million Germans living in Czechoslovakia in an area known as the Sudetenland, the British and French were receptive. Neville Chamberlain of England, Édouard Daladier of France, and Mussolini of Italy agreed to talks with Hitler, during which the Czechs had little voice over what happened to their own country. At first, Hitler demanded autonomy only for the Sudeten Germans. When Hitler saw how tractable the British and French were, he demanded the territory’s surrender to Germany.

On 29–30 September, over the protests of the Czechs, Chamberlain, Daladier, and Mussolini agreed to transfer part of Czechoslovakia to Germany.

On 15 March 1939, the German army crossed the newly drawn Czech border and absorbed the rest of Czechoslovakia.



Following this naked aggression, the British and French began to prepare for war.

1.      Both countries launched emergency rearmament drives.

2.      In March 1939, Britain promised to guarantee Polish security; in April, Britain and France offered the same to Greece and Rumania.

3.      On 23 August 1939, Nazi Germany and Communist Russia countered by announcing a nonaggression pact. This pact guaranteed that should war come, Germany would not have to fight on two fronts. It gave the Soviet Union the friend it had been seeking for so long—in what had once been its most hated enemy. Finally, in a secret clause, the two dictators agreed to carve Europe into spheres of influence, beginning with Poland.



As early as April 1939, Hitler had instructed the German general staff to prepare for war with Poland.

At 4:45 AM on 1 September 1939, following a manufactured border incident, the guns of the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein fired on Polish shore batteries at Gdansk. The Luftwaffe launched massive strikes on communications and airfields while German tanks rolled across the border. World War II in Europe had begun.



Questions to Consider:

1.      What were the alternatives to appeasement between 1933 and 1939?

2.         What would have been the long-term consequences for Western history if Britain and France had allied with the Soviet Union against Hitler in the 1930s?

Historians Quotes League of Nations

HISTORIANS
Audin-Rouzeau- The Versailles Treaty Going Too Far
James Joll- failure of LoN, ToV divided Europe- into countries who wanted to revise it, ones who wanted to uphold it and the ones who were not interested
AJP Taylor- failure of LoN, unfairness of ToV: “No German accepted it as a fair settlement and all Germnas wanted to shake it off.”
-Appeasement was a popular policy and that there was continuity in British foreign policy after 1933 and shattered the common view of the appeasers as a medium, degenerate clique that had mysteriously hijacked the British government sometime in the 1930s and who had carried out their policies in the face of massive public resistance. By portraying the leaders of the 1930s as real people attempting to deal with real problems, he made the first strides towards attempting an explanation of the actions of the appeasers rather than merely condemning them.
-Anschluss was enormously popular in Austria, discrediting the notion of Austria as a victim of Nazi aggression brought unwillingly into the Reich.
-One of the first historians to present Hitler as an ordinary human being rather than as a "madman;", an human being, albeit one who held morally repellent beliefs.
-Germany was capable of paying reparations to France after the First World War; the only problem was that the Germans were unwilling.
-Questioned degree to which fascist states were fulfilling a programme versus taking advantage of events.
-Hitler just as often reacted as acted, offering a balance to previous accounts where he was portrayed as the sole agent and the leaders of Britain and France as entirely reactive.
H.A.L Fisher, OM, FRS, PC - members of LoN responsible for war
John Maynard Keynes: The Economic Consequences of the Peace: "What an extraordinary episode in the economic progress of man was that age which came to an end in August 1914."
E.H.Carr- LoN did not fail but the members did, ToV was based on unworkable idealistic principles-because it did not solve German Problem just selfish needs
Anthony Lentin- ToV failed to tackle the underlying potential of Germany
Baroness Ruth Henig- ToV was a good idea; “wasn’t excessively harsh on Germany”
“The 14 points appeared to promise some protection against punitive French and British demands” 
Paul Birdsall- USA not involved-main reason for failure of ToV and LoN
Paul Kennedy- ToV and LoN was successful in 1920s, but crushed by militarism of Japan, Germany and Italy in 1930’s cause by Great Depression
Denis Mack Smith- criticism of Mussolini
Anonymous French officer during the Great War: "If the Italians come in on our side, they'll get into trouble and we'll have to send ten divisions to save them. If they attack us, we'll have to send ten divisions to hold them off. Either way, ten divisions."
Hannah Arendt- Italian fascism much less totalitarian than Germany and Russia
Sir Ian Keshaw- comparison of domestic policies of Hitler and Mussolini
MacGregor Knox- greatness of Mussolini’s aims
Friedrich von Hayek: "We did not realise how fragile our civilisation was."
"How's school? Don't bother too much about European geography. I think it's all going to change." French ambulance driver to his son from the Western Front.
Philip (P.M.H.) Bell about Versailles: “The settlement was a rickety edifice which was unstable from the start.
About Article 231:  More commonly known as the War Guilt Clause, or Kriegsschuldfrage here in Germany
·       Stated that “Germany accepts the responsibility of her and her allies for causing all of the loss and damage” to the victorious powers, to whom “war was imposed on… by the aggression of Germany and her allies” – Forced Germany to take the blame for the outbreak of WW1, and was used to justify the extortionate £6.6 billion reparations sum. Ironic because Lloyd George had stated previously that WW1 was nobody’s fault, and that it was “stumbled into”
·       Created hostilities in Germany – very controversial, Germans wanted revenge. Was used to placate the British and French public, with cries of ‘hang the Kaiser’ and Eric Geddes (first lord of admiralty) – “squeeze the German lemon until the pips squeak!”
·       Perceived in Germany as inaccurate, led to the TOV being branded as a ‘diktat’
·       If Germany didn’t agree to it, war would reconvene – they had no other choice.
·       War cannot be blamed on one person, can it?
·       “Germany’s death sentence” – historians such as Martin Gilbert argue that this led to the rise of Nazism in Germany, a claim that Margaret Macmillan brands “erroneous”.
·       Led to anger within the Germans – newspaper headings such as “we will never stop until we get back what we deserve.. treaty is only a scrap of paper – we will seek revenge, it is full of injustices, brutalities and exploitations”
·       Dylan Thomas – “The hand that signed the paper felled a city, and locusts came”
Anthony Adamthwaite: Treaty of Versailles "was a brave attempt to deal with intractable, perhaps insoluble problems.”
Lenin – “This is no peace, but terms dictated to a defenceless victim by armed robbers” 
German MP – “shameless blow in the face of common sense” ·        
Harold Nicolson – “We left the conference conscious that the treaty imposed upon out enemy was neither just nor wise” 
About Treaty of Trianon: Wilson: “The proposal to dismember Hungary is absurd” Winston Churchill: “Ancient poets and theologians could not imagine the suffering that Trianon brought to the innocent”
Woodrow Wilson: I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty
   "Her military men published books and told us what they were going to do, but we dismissed them. We said 'The thing is a nightmare. The man is a crank. It could not be that he speaks for a great Government. The thing is inconceivable and can not happen'. Very well, could it not happen? Did it not happen? ...The great nations of the world have been asleep." 
British people wanted Germans to pay: “everything you can squeeze out of a lemon
German foreign minister Count Brockdorff-Rantzau- “It is demanded that we confess ourselves guilty. Such a confession in my mouth would be a lie...” “..Those who sign this treaty will sign the death sentence of a million Germans… may the hand that sign this treaty wither”
Lloyd George: “We shall to fight another war again in 25 years time
“We want to protect the future against a repetition of the horrors of war” 
“I didn’t do too bad considering I was sat between Jesus (Wilson) and Napoleon (Clemenceau)”    
Clemenceau – “there are 20 million Germans too many” ·      
French Marshall Ferdinand Foch 1920- “This is not a peace. It is an armistice for 20 years.
JR Western in 1971: “The crisis [Abyssinia] was fatal to the League. Nobody took it seriously again. They got ready for the Second World War.
Historian J Joll 1976: “After Manchuria and Abyssinia, people decided that it was no longer any use putting hopes in the League.”
Historian AJP Taylor 1966: “The League died in 1935. One day it was a powerful body imposing sanctions, the next day it was a useless fraud, everybody running away from if as quickly as possible. Hitler watched.”
HAL Fisher 1935: “If the nations want peace, the League gives them the way by which peace can be kept. Bet, League or no League, a country which is determined to have a war can always have it
Chamberlain: “War is a terrible thing, and we must make sure that it is the great issues that are involved.” “Hitler was a man who could be relied on. Chamberlain on Czechoslovakia- “a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing.” 
Chamberlain about Munich: “I believe it is peace for our time.”
- "In the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence and which the Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty's Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all support in their power. They have given the Polish Government an assurance to this effect. I may add that the French Government have authorized me to make it plain that they stand in the same position in this matter." - 31st March 1939 
-  “This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by eleven o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you that no such understanding has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.” Neville Chamberlain - 3rd September 1939 
-  "This is a sad day for all of us, and to none is it sadder than to me. Everything that I have worked for, everything that I have believed in during my public life, has crashed into ruins. There is only one thing left for me to do: That is, to devote what strength and powers I have to forwarding the victory of the cause for which we have to sacrifice so much... I trust I may live to see the day when Hitlerism has been destroyed and a liberated Europe has been re-established." Neville Chamberlain - 3rd September 1939
Hitler: “He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.”, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”, “The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a medium one.”, “The great strength of the totalitarian state is that it forces those who fear it to imitate it.”, “The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.
-We will never attempt to subjugate foreign peoples. speech of May 27, 1933.

-We have no territorial claims to make in Europe. speech of March 7, 1936

-The German Reich Government shall thus unconditionally abide by the other articles governing the coexistence of the nations, including territorial provisions, and put into effect solely by means of peaceful understanding those amendments which become inevitable by virtue of the changing times. speech of May 21, 1935.

-It is the last territorial demand I shall make in Europe... I repeat here before you, once this issue has been resolved; there will no longer be any further territorial problems for Germany in Europe! speech of September 26, 1938.

-We do not want any Czechs at all. ibid.
Mussolini- “Obedience not discussion” "Believe, Obey, Fight!"


From Paper II--2002
Topic I: Causes, Practices and Effects of War

 How far do you agree with the view of some recent historians that Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler at Munich was NOT a mistake?


MODEL ESSAY:

Seventy-five years ago, on Sept. 30, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact, handing portions of Czechoslovakia to Adolf Hitler's Germany. Chamberlain returned to Britain to popular acclaim, declaring that he had secured "peace for our time." Today the prime minister is generally portrayed as a foolish man who was wrong to try to "appease" Hitler—a cautionary tale for any leader silly enough to prefer negotiation to confrontation. But among historians, that view changed in the late 1950s, when the British government began making Chamberlain-era records available to researchers. "The result of this was the discovery of all sorts of factors that narrowed the options of the British government in general and narrowed the options of Neville Chamberlain in particular," explains David Dutton,  a British historian who wrote a recent biography of the prime minister. "The evidence was so overwhelming," he says, that many historians came to believe that Chamberlain "couldn't do anything other than what he did" at Munich. Over time, Dutton says, "the weight of the historiography began to shift to a much more sympathetic appreciation" of Chamberlain.
First, a look at the military situation. Most historians agree that the British army was not ready for war with Germany in September 1938. If war had broken out over the Czechoslovak crisis, Britain would only have been able to send two divisions to the continent—and ill-equipped divisions, at that. Between 1919 and March 1932, Britain had based its military planning on a “10-year rule,” which assumed Britain would face no major war in the next decade. Rearmament only began in 1934—and only on a limited basis. The British army, as it existed in September 1938, was simply not intended for continental warfare. Nor was the rearmament of the Navy or the Royal Air Force complete. British naval rearmament had recommenced in 1936 as part of a five-year program. And although Hitler’s Luftwaffe had repeatedly doubled in size in the late 1930s, it wasn't until April 1938 that the British government decided that its air force could purchase as many aircraft as could be produced.
All of this factored into what Chamberlain was hearing from his top military advisers. In March 1938 the British military chiefs of staff produced a report that concluded that Britain could not possibly stop Germany from taking Czechoslovakia. In general, British generals believed the military and the nation were not ready for war. On Sept. 20, 1938, then-Col.Hastings Ismay, secretary to the Committee of Imperial Defense, sent a note to Thomas Inskip, the minister for the coordination of defense, and Sir Horace Wilson, a civil servant. Time was on Britain’s side, Ismay argued, writing that delaying the outbreak of war would give the Royal Air Force time to acquire airplanes that could counter the Luftwaffe, which he considered the only chance for defeating Hitler. British strategists, including Ismay, believed their country could win a long war (so long as they had time to prepare for it). This was a common belief, and doubtless factored into Chamberlain's calculations.

Historians disagree whether the British military's position relative to Germany was objectively better in 1939 than it was in 1938. The British military systematically overestimated German strength and underestimated its own in the lead-up to the Czechoslovak crisis, then shifted to a more optimistic tone in the months between Munich and the outbreak of war. Whatever the situation on the ground, it's clear that the British military’s confidence in its abilities was far higher in 1939 than it was during the Munich crisis, especially because of the development of radar and the deployment of new fighter planes. In 1939, the military believed it was ready. In 1938, it didn't.
 
Chamberlain’s diplomatic options were narrow as well. In World War I, Britain's declaration of war had automatically brought Canada, Australia, and New Zealand into the fight. But the constitutional status of those Commonwealth countries had changed in the interwar period. According to the British archives, it was far from clear that Chamberlain could count on the backing of these countries if war broke out with Germany over Czechoslovakia. "There was really a feeling that the odds were against the potential of Britain being able to prevail facing Germany and potentially Italy and Japan, and with very few potential allies," Dutton says. Soviet Russia was seen as a potential enemy to be feared, not a potential ally. America's neutrality laws made it unlikely that even a willing president could bring the United States into the fight. There is also plenty of evidence in the archives that the British government had near-total disdain for the stability and fighting abilities of France, its only likely major-power ally. The average duration of a Third Republic government in the 1930s was nine months. When war did break out, Chamberlain's doubts about France's staying power proved prescient.

Nor was the British public ready for war in September 1938. "It's easy to forget that this is only 20 years after the end of the last war," Dutton notes. British politicians knew that the electorate would never again willingly make sacrifices like the ones it had made in World War I. The Somme and Passchendaele had left scars that still stung, and few, if any, British leaders were prepared to ask their people to fight those battles again. Many people saw the work of the Luftwaffe in the Spanish Civil War and feared that aerial bombardment would ensure that a second war would be more devastating that the first. Any strategy that claimed to offer an alternative to sending large armies to Europe therefore found supporters on every level of British society. "There was a feeling that any sensible politician would explore every avenue to avoid war before accepting war was inevitable," Dutton says.

If Britain were to go to war with Hitler's Germany, most people didn't want to do so over Czechoslovakia. "People spoke of Czechoslovakia as an artificial creation," Dutton says. "The perception by the ’30s was there was a problem, it was soluble by negotiation, and we ought to try. It was not the sort of thing that would unite the country [as] an issue to go to war over."
Nor is the modern view of Hitler reflective of how the Nazi dictator was seen in the late 1930s. Blitzkrieg and concentration camps were not yet part of the public imagination. The British had already been dealing with one fascist, Benito Mussolini, for years before Hitler took power, and top British diplomats and military thinkers saw Hitler the way they saw Mussolini—more bravado than substance. Moreover, many Europeans thought German complaints about the settlement of World War I were legitimate. We now see Hitler's actions during the early and mid-1930s as part of an implacable march toward war. That was not the case at the time. German rearmament and the reoccupation of the Rhineland seemed inevitable, because keeping a big country like Germany disarmed for decades was unrealistic. Hitler's merging of Austria and Germany seemed to be what many Austrians wanted. Even the demands for chunks of Czechoslovakia were seen, at the time, as not necessarily unreasonable—after all, many Germans lived in those areas. So, when Chamberlain returned from Munich with the news that he had negotiated a peace agreement, cheering crowds filled the streets and the press rejoiced.
To Chamberlain's credit, his views changed as Hitler's intentions became clearer. When Hitler took Prague and the Czech heartland in March 1939—his first invasion of an area that was obviously without deep German roots—Chamberlain said he feared it might represent an "attempt to dominate the world by force." He doubled the size of the Territorial Army (Britain's version of the National Guard) and, on April 20, launched peacetime conscription for the first time in Britain's history. Then, on Sept. 3, some 11 months after Munich, he took his country to war.

Historians often find themselves moving against popular opinion. In the case of Chamberlain, though, the gap between public perception and the historical record serves a political purpose. The story we're told about Munich is one about the futility and foolishness of searching for peace. In American political debates, the words “appeasement” and “Munich” are used to bludgeon those who argue against war. But every war is not World War II, and every dictator is not Hitler. Should we really fault Chamberlain for postponing a potentially disastrous fight that his military advisers cautioned against, his allies weren't ready for, and his people didn't support? "People should try to put themselves into the position of the head of the British government in the 1930s," Dutton says. "Would they have taken the apparently huge risk of a war [that] might mean Armageddon for a cause that nobody was really convinced in?" Chamberlain's story is of a man who fought for peace as long as possible, and went to war only when it was the last available option. It's not such a bad epitaph.

EXAMPLE 2

Arguably Neville Chamberlain’s reputation, due to the events of the war, was inevitable. The failure of his policy of appeasement and the resulting conflict made him an easy political target. Churchill wrote in 1946, “There was never a war in all history easier to prevent by timely action… it could have been prevented… but no one would listen”. This view was enforced by contemporary left wing journalists, Michael Foot, Peter Howard, and Frank Owen, who published a tract in 1940 under the title ‘Guilty men’ and continued by historians after the Second World War. Martin Gilbert, who compiled a Winston Churchill biography, enforced Churchill’s hero status, provided a damning contrast with Chamberlain. To compliment this Hans Morgenthau wrote, ‘appeasement is a corrupted policy of compromise’.

This negative view of Chamberlain’s time in office was challenged in the 1960s and 1970s with the arrival of the revisionists. The old assumptions were first challenged by AJP Taylor in his book ‘The Origins of the Second World War’. Taylor’s book controversially claimed that the appeasers were ‘morally right’ to allow German expansion into Czechoslovakia. He justified the Munich agreement as it allowed for self determination for the Germans in the Sudetenland. He described it as ‘a triumph for all that was best and enlightened in British life’. He further supported the policy of appeasement as a sound policy for its time. He was followed by other revisionists particularly after the 1967 Public Records Act, which released crucial documents for proper examination of the evidence. David Dilke, especially portrayed Chamberlain as a strong and moral leader caught in an impossible situation.

Dilke’s view has been supported by some modern historians. The economic historian Paul Kennedy argued that appeasement fitted with the traditional British policy of a European balance of power, as a strong Germany could counter Bolshevism from spreading in Europe. Others, such as R.A.C. Parker have focused on Britain’s weakness at the time, meaning that appeasement was the only choice as Britain did not have the economic strength to counter Germany. In particular, he focused on the effect of the steady decline of her industries and the effect of the world depression. This also had a detrimental effect on the military whose spending had been sharply reduced after 1919, leaving Britain with a very low military capability. More recently Norman Ripsman and Jack Levy have argued that appeasement gave Britain the time to rearm, her military situation had severely improved by the allocation of one billion pounds to the budget for the next three years and the introduction of conscription in April 1939.

Finally, popular opinion at the time has led historians such as P.M.H. Bell to suggest that appeasement was the only political option. Until 1938, there were many popular pacifist groups present in Britain, such as The Peace Pledge Union, evidence of an anti-war attitude within the public consciousness possibly influenced in part by the losses incurred during the First World War. Other historians, in defence of Chamberlain, have stressed that appeasement was not a new policy. Further the policy had even been praised for bringing order and peace to Europe from 1918- 1933.
Yet the Chamberlain rescue mission has not been widely accepted by either historians or by popular opinion. Roger Eatwell has argued that the Munich agreement was not popular in Britain, suggesting Chamberlain was not forced into his appeasement policy. He notes that the Tories suffered badly in October- November 1938 polls over foreign policy.

There has also been criticism of Chamberlain’s policy after the declaration of war; Clive Ponting argued that ‘Chamberlain’s incompetent direction of the war let Hitler conquer Denmark and Norway’. Keith Middlemas has criticised Chamberlain for his aggressive control of foreign policy, so blaming him for the disasters which occurred. It should also be noted that while the revisionists sympathise with Chamberlain, it is not unconditional. Even Taylor was willing to admit that appeasement was part of a long line of ‘accidents’ and Chamberlain was in some cases misguided. As for public opinion, Chamberlain is still not viewed in a positive light, while Winston Churchill was crowned in 2002 as the Greatest Ever Briton.

Therefore despite attempts to rescue Chamberlain’s regime it seems that it will never be totally excused by historians, while the negative public image for the most part remains. It seems that Chamberlain will be confined to history as one of its ‘losers’. The negative comparison to Winston Churchill is one that is too easy to make. Further the public’s conscious memory regarding the atrocities in World War Two make the job of changing that view a much harder task.
 
STUDENTS' EXAMPLES
“You may gain temporary appeasement by a policy of concession to violence, but you do not gain lasting peace that way,”[1] said Robert Anthony Eden, who was British Foreign Secretary from 1935 to 1955. A typical example of appeasement could be that of Hitler in the 1930s. Since Germany left the League of Nations in 1933, Hitler started breaking the Treaty of Versailles, for instance, by rearming German army two years later which became his outset of territorial acquirements such as invasion of Rhineland and Austria in the following years. Britain and France therefore pursued a diplomatic policy of appeasement to prevent another outbreak of world war in the future. I don’t see where you get your “therefore”. France and Britain did not simply let Hitler have his own way in taking military actions but -since Neville Chamberlain became Britain’s prime minister- developed appeasement into a more eminent degree, for instance, ratifying Germany’s takeover of Sudetenland by Munich Agreement. As Sir Anthony Eden said, the outbreak of the Second World War was inevitable despite the efforts put into appeasement which aimed international peace, but the appeasement was not always proved to be bad.


The appeasement of Hitler acted as a catalyst of Hitler’s strength and ambitions for further territorial acquirement. After Hitler broke disarmament and left the League of Nations in 1933, he declared Germany’s rearmament in 1935. In the same year, Britain signed Anglo-German Naval Agreement with Germany which allowed Germany to have 35% of the Royal Navy’s fleet, giving Hitler an encouraging opportunity to strengthen German power. Furthermore, Britain and France were enabling Hitler to break two international treaties, Treaty of Versailles and Locarno Treaties, by not intervening Hitler for his invasion of Rhineland. France was not going to take action unless it had Britain’s assistance but as Britain viewed German action to be justified[2], (George Bernard Shaw described it as a "triumphant rescue of his country from the yoke the Allies imposed)"[3] Britain, who wanted to settle complaint of Germany and create balance of power, did not make any attempt to prevent Hitler’s violation and so neither did France. In fact Germany had a much weaker military force than France (evidence?) as AJP Taylor states that it would have taken 10 years for Germany to “become a formidable military power.”[4] German generals were disapproving of Hitler’s plan for its uncertainty[5] and even Hitler warned his soldiers to withdraw if the French were to fight back.[6] However, the nonintervention of France and Britain reassured Hitler that these countries would not prevent him from such aggressive actions like in Rhineland since their only focus was placed on the maintenance of peace without provoking any war. As a result this “triumphant rescue” was not simply limited to a rescue but was rather seemed to be a triumphant ignition point of Hitler’s territorial invasion. Jeffery Record, a professor at U.S. Air Force’s Air War College notes in his book that “With each act of appeasement, Hitler's appetite grew.”[7] Austria was easily taken over, Hitler once more breaking the Treaty of Versailles by the German-Austrian Anschluss. There were no more guarantees remaining in international treaties. Winston Churchill said, “What is the effect of this upon what is called the balance of power?”[8] He was correct, for Britain and France were offering Hitler too many chances than their action to be considered as merely ways to keep balance of power. In 1938, Neville Chamberlain, who became Prime Minister of Britain in 1937, made a conspicuous mark on appeasement with Munich Agreement. He was ratifying Germany’s takeover of Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia, which was an astonishing fact that Britain was not simply remaining nonchalant as usual but proposing to legalize the invasion. What made this agreement look worse was the noteworthy calibre of the land given. Sudetenland, although was not the entire Czechoslovakia, was containing important resources such as coal and -as the country’s defensive zone- had majority of border fortifications.[9] Czechoslovakia now lost the most important core region of its country and was geographically fragile. Moreover, Czechoslovakia’s high-developed arms industry was under German control. Simply by taking what the agreement has offered him, Hitler was not only expanding German territory but also its militaristic strength. With such acquirement, according to R.J. Overy, “German demands became more uncompromising,”[10] and it easily invaded the entire Czechoslovakia, having his first conquering success with non-German population, and Poland, giving Neville Chamberlain’s realization of the limitation to appeasement. Britain was the country which mostly contributed to the appeasement policy with its consolidated aim to prevent war but it consequentially made itself to declare war, not Germany. Appeasement, which aimed to keep peace by settlement of grievances of Germany, was thought to be meaningless for it failed to continue the peace but lead to another catastrophic war—The Second World War.


Besides, the Anglo-French appeasement, though somehow managing to satisfy Hitler, stirred up grievances and apprehension in other nations. Since Britain and France were in the collective security of the League of Nations was this really an organ of “collective security” at the time? , many nations turned out to be relying on these countries to be protected from Germany. For example, the Soviet Union, which feared Poland since its invasion of Soviet Union in 1920 (more lies) , was more scared for it was signing a pact with Germany, so it joined the League of Nations. However, as mentioned above, Germany was growing in its strength and the appeasement was beginning to be mistrusted. Britain had promised not to breach any treaty unilaterally in Stresa Front (1935), signed with France and Italy, but it did sign the Anglo-German Naval Agreement with Germany in the next year, allowing Germany to have stronger navy. Britain’s action against the Stresa Front made France and Italy to have suspicion of its position as appeaser because they thought Britain was helping Germany to grow stronger and more aggressive. Italy, who was invading Abyssinia, thought Britain was weak and it will not try to stop its action just like it did not for Hitler, and continued its invasion, seizing the capital of Abyssinia. France had once again disappointed at Britain when it rejected to help France fight against Hitler invading Rhineland, for it thought Hitler’s action was justified. In 1938, Germany invaded Sudetenland and in the next year, invaded the entire Czechoslovakia and Poland; Hitler was making his territorial expansion eastwards. Stalin could not rely on Britain or France at all; he had to find ways to protect his country. Soviet Union signed Nazi-Soviet Pact with Hitler, solving Hitler’s fear of having two-front war again like Germany did in the First World War. Jeffrey Record writes this pact was the product of “Anglo-French appeasement of Hitler.”[11] Gabriel Gorodetsky also states in his book Grand Delusion: Stalin and the German invasion of Russia that the pact was ‘rather the result of profound Soviet mistrust of Britain and France,’ not ‘a “stab in the back” action or revolutionary “blueprint” or the “alliance.” ’ [12] Germany, because of Stalin, was now free to attack the West as it did not have to worry about the East anymore. Munich Agreement bought a great deal of hatred from Czechoslovakia as it did not simply let Germany have Sudetenland and offer an opportunity to invade the country but more for the fact that it did so without engaging Czechoslovakia, the victim itself. Even right before his flight to Munich, Chamberlain telegraphed to Prague, saying “I shall have the interests of Czechoslovakia fully in my mind.”[13] However, this was completely proved to be a lie. To Edvard Benes, the President of Czechoslovakia, Britain and France were not “friends” but only “cowards” who “must be punished.”[14] The appeasement policy was providing Hitler chances to satisfy his desire of territorial expansion and simultaneously, turned many other nations’ viewpoint to be pessimistic. Britain was seen to be irresponsible and unsuitable to its position as appeaser and so was France. Furthermore, the Anglo-French appeasement was creating mistrust between France and Britain. Appeasement was not limited to two leading nations of it, Britain and France, but required support form a wide range of area since it was a diplomatic policy that aimed to achieve global peace, not satisfying Hitler individually. However, it was only focusing on Germany, and by causing suspicion and rage in other nations, it could not earn much support and was therefore doomed to fail.


Nonetheless, the Anglo-French appeasement was making contribution to a maximum extent to prevent war and in doing so helped Britain to prepare war against Germany in the future. In Britain’s perspective, the Treaty of Versailles was being too harsh on Germany and it thought such aggressive German actions were only possible due to its grievances produced from the injustice of the treaty. For instance, the Disarmament Conference was only making Germany to disarm more and more while highly militarized nations such as France were not even disarming until fifth year and then did so only in terms of number of soldiers.[15] So for Hitler to break disarmament was not an unfair pursuit of his own interest but settlement of the injustice of Western powers. When Germany started rearmament, Britain seemed not to stop Hitler, but in fact Britain did by negotiating with him by giving him a limited growth of arms with Anglo-German Naval Agreement. The agreement might have been regarded as an opportunity for Hitler to grow German military strength but Britain was offering a limit to it, without its presence, Germany would have been able to rearm with no such limitation. There were also plausible reasons for Britain to allow Germany invading Rhineland, Austria and Sudetenland. Britain thought these lands were, if no coercive restriction was set by the Treaty of Versailles, supposed to belong to Germany. There were 6 million Germans in Austria, who were forbidden to reunify with Germany due to Treaty of Versailles; 3 million in Czechoslovakia, who were ignored.[16] The demilitarization of Rhineland was also set by the treaty in 1919 and Britain considered German reoccupation of it merely as returning Germany’s “own backyard.”[17] In fact Britain did not always let Germany use violation. When Spanish civil War broke out, Britain and France organized Non-Intervention Committee and Germany joined it, though was a lie, to stay as neutral country. [18] Germany later broke its promise and fought in the war by joining forces with Italy. Considering this perspective, it was Italy that made Hitler more ambitious, not Britain or France, who simply put efforts and tried to stop Hitler being too violent. When Hitler tried to dismember Czechoslovakia and rejected to listen to Britain to stop its action, Chamberlain flew to Germany to meet Hitler in person, which was the first time of a British prime minister’s flight. This, in addition to France’s decision not to fight, convinced Hitler to sign Munich Agreement and promise that it would be his “last territorial demand.” He could have attempted to invade the entire Czechoslovakia but Britain succeeded in stopping him and make an end-mark of his territorial invasion by giving only a part of the country. Neville Chamberlain was not a person who could foresee the future in which Hitler would break his promise and though Hitler broke the agreement, Chamberlain surely has to be given a credit since he put great amount of efforts to stop Hitler’s aggression as much as he could. A country which gave this credit was the United States, an isolationist who, at the initial stage, was unwilling to intervene in European affairs. The US, despite its position as a neutral country, was now trying to supply arms and raw materials to Britain and France.[19] More importantly, this help was largely due to the high moral ground built by Chamberlain’s efforts. More I think to its hope to get money. Though it was beyond people’s attention, Chamberlain was the leading figure in rearming Britain during the years of appeasement,[20] which meant he was also caring about the protection and strength of its own country and wanted them to be secured. Some nations like France and members of British Foreign Office regretted for allowing Rhineland invasion and thought they had to fight against Germany with force. According to AJP Taylor, Germany had strong government and it could “again make Germany a great military power.” [21] However, Britain did not have sufficient economy to increase arms expenditure nor any armed force,[22] and it has been mentioned, the US was isolationist and France was a country who relied on Britain. If the war was to break out anyway, it is very clear that it was much better to break out in the year it actually did, because without this period of rearmament and the support from the U.S., the situation might have looked quite different, in a bad way. Shortly, the appeasement helped as much as it could to prevent war and though it failed to, it had given Britain high morality during its years of process. With such moral ground, Britain succeeded in being supported by the US and making itself stronger enough to fight in a war.


In consequence, the Anglo-French appeasement of Hitler in the 1930’s, though a failure as a result, at least was a genuine attempt to maintain peace by solving complaints of a nation. During its years, it was seen unsuccessful due to the fact that it initially settled grievances of Hitler but later made Hitler’s desire bold and even provided opportunities for him to fulfil it. Many nations were beginning to be skeptical about the appeasement and Britain. They felt it was threatening their countries as it made Germany more aggressive and started to seek ways to protect their own countries, some persuading Britain to take action against Hitler, and some deserting hope of being protected by Britain and directly going to support Hitler. Nonetheless, the appeasement was, for quite many times, setting limits on Germany’s aggressive action, such as those on arms growth and the area it was going to take over. Moreover, by offering Britain high moral ground, the appeasement made the country deserve to get military support from the US and it gave enough time for Britain to strengthen itself by rearmament. Therefore, no matter how the consequence was, the appeasement should not always be seen with criticism but to be considered with addition of compliment, for it did settle grievances of Germany and many times did made contributions to the prevention war.

[1] http://thinkexist.com/quotes/anthony_eden/
[2] AJP Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1961, pg. 103
[3] http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,958452-5,00.html
[4] AJP Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1961, pg. 104
[5]http://www.ellonacademy.org.uk/subjects/Departments/history/Inter_Advanced_Higher_pages/Appeasement%20notes/rhrineland.htm
[6] http://anonymouse.org/cgi-bin/anon-www.cgi/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remilitarization_of_the_Rhineland
[7] Jeffrey Record, Appeasement Reconsidered: Investigating the Mythology of the 1930s, DIANE Publishing, 2005, pg. 2
[8] http://www.ers.north-ayrshire.gov.uk/History/Sources.htm
[9] http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/czechoslovakia_1938.htm
[10] R.J. Overy, The origins of the Second World War, Longman, 1998, pg. 66
[11] Jeffrey Record, Appeasement Reconsidered: Investigating the Mythology of the 1930s, DIANE Publishing, 2005, pg. 39
[12] http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3686/is_/ai_n8915701
[13] AJP Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1961, pg. 228
[14] Igor Lukes, Czechoslovakia Between Stalin and Hitler: The Diplomacy of Edvard Benes in the 1930’s, Oxford University Press, 1996, pg. 262
[15] International Military Tribunal, Trial of German Major War Criminals, William S Hein & Co, 2001, Pg. 284
[16] AJP Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1961, pg. 172-173
[17] http://www.blacksacademy.net/content/3116.html
[18] R.J. Overy, The origins of the Second World War, Longman, 1998, pg. 26
[19] ibid., pg. 70
[20] AJP Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1961, pg. 172
[21] ibid. pg. 102
[22] ibid., pg. 102


Example Two (in-class)


The Munich agreement is a topic that even today many historians disagree about how the situation was handled with Hitler and if appeasement was the correct way to do things. As Churchill argues “the war would have been unnecessary if we would have learnt to just say no”, what Churchill is arguing with this statement is that the war might have been avoided if Britain and France had not appeased Germany to the extent that they had. If the allies had fought Hitler when he marched into the reinland the war could have been avoided this is what Churchill is arguing. The Munich agreement is a prime example of Britain and France once again appeasing Hitler. However hindsight is always “2020” and at the time Chamberlain thought that his strategy of appeasement would buy them time to prepare when war came. Another reason why chamberlain appeased Hitler at Munich was because he thought that the land should belong to Germany as the people living there were mostly German and that therefore the territory could belong to Germany, and it looked as if Hitler was only trying to protect his people from what he thought would be a regime that would harm them (much like the situation in Crimea).



Appeasement at Munich guaranteed that war was not going to break out that year. The main fear was that the allies were not ready to fight Hitler and his army and they needed time to prepare. For the Britain at the time appeasement was the only option for several reasons. The people of Britain did not want another war after they had just fought and won the great war that ravished Europe and its people and forever changed how wars would be fought, the people did not want to have to live through anything like that ever again. The commonwealth was not ready to support Britain again in another of their European wars from which they were so far away from geographically, people in Canada, New eland and Australia for example were not prepared to die in Europe because another nation commanded them to. Britain was also not doing well Financially, they needed money to be able to fund the costs of building up an army and a navy to face Hitler’s Germany with, and at the time of the Munich agreement this was the only course of action that Chamberlain saw fit to do. The appeasement at Munich was done to give the allies time to prepare for the war that they knew was fast approaching and couldn’t be avoided.



However as many historians would argue such as Neil Ferguson is the fact that if Chamberlain and France had not appeased Hitler at Munich then the war might have gone differently as it could be argued that with the Sudetenland Germany would never have been able to conquer Czechoslovakia as the Sudetenland provide a natural border and the Czechs had one of the best trained armies in Europe. Even the foreign minister at the time Anthony Eden argues “You may gain temporary appeasement by a policy of concession to violence, but you do not gain lasting peace that way”. He knew that if they would continuously appease Hitler that at some point he would attack anyways. The allies should have avoided the policy of appeasement altogether, they should not have allowed Hitler to take back the Reinland, they should have stopped his Anschluss with Austria and in Munich when they just give Hitler the only natural defences that the Czechs had against him. Time needed to build an army would have been irrelevant if Hitler had been stopped before Munich, before he had Europe in a vice trembling before him.



“Appeasement” is what Chamberlain called his strategy to dealing with Germany; he believed that if he would give Hitler what he wanted that he could control him this way. He was wrong and this can be seen with the consequences that followed the Munich agreement. Time is what Chamberlain needed now after he had appeased Hitler for so long already that he had no other option but to do what he did, however this would not have been necessary if they had not appeased Hitler in the first place. In conclusion I believe that Appeasement was wrong from be beginning, not only at Munich should the allies have stood up to Hitler but also with the Reinland when Hitler marched his military into this area of his country that should have stayed a demilitarized zone. If they had done this Churchill argues that the “unnecessary war” could have been avoided. 

EXAMPLE 3
How far do you agree with the view of some recent historians that Chamberlain’s Appeasement of Hitler at Munich was NOT a mistake?



            Winston Churchill famously said “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last”. Is it fair to compare Neville Chamberlain’s 1930’s policy of appeasement to simply waiting for an inevitable death? Most British conservatives at the time were in favor of it, as well as a variety of contemporary historians such as Andrew Stedman and Nicholson Baker, as well as the late AJP Taylor. This essay will attempt to shed light on the various ways, both political, militarily and economic, in which appeasement was not a blundering mistake but instead crucial in the long run for setting up a political landscape that ultimately helped the allied powers win the war.

           

            There is a strong political reason as to why the Appeasement policy was an not irresponsible one on the part of Neville Chamberlain, but was in fact the most rational. Chamberlain’s conservatives who controlled nearly 50% of the house since the November elections in 1935 largely supported appeasement, as the traditional and orthodox conservative view dictated that the British remain as isolated from European mainland affairs as possible, and they saw appeasement as a way of avoiding another general world war. Furthermore, Hitler’s purportedly final demands at the Munich Agreement in September of 1938 seemed largely reasonable to all the signatories, including the UK. The Agreement concluded that Germany would be free to annex the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, which inhabited a large ethnic minority that the Nazi’s claimed were being oppressed. It had seemed that appeasing to these demands had quenched the last of Hitler’s thirst, with even the then foreign minister of Czechoslovakia, Jan Masaryk, having said, “If you have sacrificed my nation to preserve the peace of the world, I will be the first to applaud you.” The argument can be made that appeasement made the Britain and France look weak, however there was considerable concern from notable figures in British politics, such as renowned economist John Maynard Keynes, who noted that annexation of these lands was fair compensation for the crippling debt that the Treaty of Versailles left Germany in.

                                                                    

            While appeasement ultimately did fail, diplomatically, it bought Britain a crucial year in which it gained a powerful economic war footing. Chamberlain also recognized that the RAF (Royal Air Force) was heavily underfunded, and had the foresight to determine that air support would be crucial in all combat operations against Nazi Germany, as well as in the defence of the motherland, as seen in the Battle of Britain in the Fall of 1940. Evidence of this can be seen by the fact that during the time of the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938, all British fighters were not modernized. They were based off of the World War One biplane design, and it wasn’t until June 1939 that over 500 hurricanes (hi-tech fighters) were ordered. Germany, according to the BBC military historiographer Tony Banham, had nearly 3,000 modern combat fighters and bombers by September of 1939, while Britain only had 1,700. However, the UK at during the same time had ordered the manufacturing of over 3,000 fighters, twice the amount Nazi Germany ordered. This foresight and time bought by appeasement meant that by December 1942, Britain had over 5,000 modern combat aircraft while Germany had less than 3,500. The military significance that the appeasement policy wrought for the UK (and by extension, Europe) cannot be overstated and is frequently overlooked by Chamberlain critics.



            The aftermath of the First World War left vast disparity among a variety of social groups, and Britain as much as any nation was eager to have peace. All classes in the United Kingdom did not support a war, nor could they by 1938. Nearly 1,000,000 British soldiers died in the Great War, and the world was only just recovering economically from the Great Depression, which affected Europe greatly. The entire population of Britain already had gas masks in their homes one the day the war was announced through the BBC Wireless on a Sunday morning. Appeasement in its vary nature was meant to avoid a war at all possible costs, and France and Britain’s policy of allowing Hitler the demands he seemed reasonable at the times, as his requests were largely well founded. German troops who marched into Sudetenland were given a heroes welcome, resistance was near none existence. The Sudeten Crisis in 1938 was a pivotal point in proving appeasement could avoid a war, though it wasn’t until September 1st 1939 where the Nazi’s invaded Poland when Hitler crossed the line and military action was deemed necessary and largely encouraged by the population. At this point the fault is clearly upon Hitler’s shoulders, as he could no longer mask his façade as simply uniting all Germans when there were no Germans to be united in Warsaw.



            First wave appeasement advocates, such as Chamberlain, were profiled as naïve fools when it came to trusting the Germans. It is not until recently that these appeasers have been viewed as sensible and reasonable statesmen acting pragmatic and practicing realpolitik, as apposed to those that Fritz Fischer labeled in his book “From Kaiserreich to Third Reich” as enthusiastically warmongering, referring to Winston Churchill. While it is easy to criticize after something has gone wrong, one struggles to find which alternate solution could have been offered before September 1939 instead of appeasement in the face of the World still recovering for the Great War and the Great Depression. From Britain and the West’s point of view, there were two great evils in the world; Germany’s fascist state and the communist Russian Soviet Federations. It could be easy to see how Machiavellian appeasers may have even sided with Germany to march against the Soviet Union whilst holding a dagger behind their back to destroy the Nazi’s whilst they had their back turned had it been appeasers in charge for the majority of the war instead of Churchill. In reality, trying not to start a war and ending up in a war is more noble and reasonable than going into a war unprepared and ill timed, without social support. Hitler’s foreign policy truly made war inevitable, yet Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement, while curious at first sight, brought great military benefits in the long term as well as carried heavy political support because of the foresight and diplomatic nature of the policy.

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EXAMPLE THREE


            The problem with the question “Was Germany to Blame for the First World War?” is its direct assumption that Germany should be to blame for WWI. When historians tackle the question of who is to blame for WWI they start with the previously stated question and either try to prove Germany’s innocence or they agree with the question. The problem with this is that one should start with a neutral question, which does not automatically assume that Germany is to blame. In this essay I will answer the question by not trying to clear Germany’s guilt but by reviewing the facts from an outside position without the initial bias and will then look at the three main aggressors of the 1914 events.
            Since Germany was given total war guilt in article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles and even this question assumes that Germany was responsible for the war we will first be studying the actions of Germany’s incompetent Emperor Wilhelm II. The most dangerous part about Wilhelm II was that he had the urge to compensate his crippled arm by being aggressive, bombastic, and thrusting as Robert Massie says. He was not the man to have as an Emperor as he was not at all diplomatic, a trait, which was very necessary at the time. His lack of forward thinking is very evident in the First and Second Moroccan Crisis when wars were just narrowly prevented. Britain gave Morocco to France in the Entente Cordiale. Wilhelm II thought it to be a good idea too help Morocco try to gain independence from the French. This he hoped would loosen the relations between France and England and impress England. The affects were however quite the opposite to the hopes. England saw Germany’s actions as a threat and so moved closer together with France. His actions didn’t change anything in Morocco either because of the Algeciras Conference where the dispute was settled and France was allowed to stay in power. Wilhelm II was stupid enough to provoke a second Moroccan crisis, which ended in a very similar way to the first one. In between the first crisis in 1906 and the second crisis in 1911 Wilhelm also gave a very famous interview to the Daily Telegraph. This article was published in 1908 and further worsened the relations between Germany and England. In this article he enraged the English by saying “You English, are mad, mad, mad as March hares” he continues by saying that the German people have wanted war against the British and that he was the only man who stopped them, which was not true at all and also enraged the Germans. This is yet another example of his inability to think of the consequences, of his actions, and his undiplomatic way. Wilhelm’s next big blunder was in July of 1914 when he granted Austro-Hungary Germany’s full support, in the form of a Blank Cheque, in order to fight the terrorist state of Serbia. Although it was a plausible response (since Germany and Austria Hungary were allies) after the terrorist attack on Archduke France Ferdinand it was again not thought through. Instead of suggesting to call in a conference to settle the matter he very informally said that Austro-Hungary had Germany’s full support. Kaiser Wilhelm II had a lot of blunders and led to unnecessary tensions across Europe and also pushed Austro-Hungary in the wrong direction in 1914. However, it seems very unlikely that Wilhelm II had actually anticipated or wanted a war the size of WWI. This is the only plausible reason for why he should have gone on his summer cruise on the day the Blank Cheque was signed. He only returns from his cruise on the 27th of July when he had heard of the Ultimatum that Austria had set Serbia. His cruise was actually intended to last longer however Wilhelm saw the problems connected with the Ultimatum and requested to return immediately. Although Wilhelm II rarely thought of the affects of his actions and so caused tensions in Europe he never intended to start a war the size of WWI.
            A country, whose importance is often neglected in conjunction with the start of WWI is France whose real intentions in joining the war are not as obvious. France effectively used the war to win back Alsace and Lorraine from Germany. Christopher Clark argues that France cultivated an alliance with Russia, which obligates them to attack Germany under the prefix of a Balkan crisis. France’s goal from the alliance was that in the case of war they could regain Alsace and Lorraine. Not only did they forge alliances before the war, which would be useful for them in the case of war but they also had great interests in increasing the scale of the war. Christopher Clark argues that an American analyst of pre-war argues that the financial situation between France and Serbia was very intimate and dominant. Before the Great War broke out France had given Serbia substantial loans, which enabled Serbia to build up their army. Rondo Cameron a professor of economic history claims that Serbia owed 600 million Francs to France by the start of 1914. France helped Serbia build up their army, creating one of the most powerful nations in the Balkan area. However, France feared that in case of a war Serbia would not be able to pay back their large debt. France was so eager to join the war as they saw the chance to regain their lost territories and feared that Serbia would not be able to repay their loans. Furthermore, the assurance of the French President, Raymond Poincaré, during the height of the July Crisis, that France would fully support Russia in backing up Serbia even if this meant war with Germany shows France’s readiness to fight. This action can be explained very easily by Poincaré’s own words that the preservation of relations between France and Russia was “more important in French foreign policy than the avoidance of war”. This clearly shows that France was more interested in a war than losing its relations with Russia. France was a crucial part in building up the Serbian state and couldn’t have afforded to lose the Russian’s trust and so they were eager for war and also pushed for it in July of 1914.
            A country, which is often forgotten when it comes to who started WWI is Serbia even though the man who undoubtedly triggered WWI was a Serb. On June 28 Gavrilo Princip, member of The Black Hand, assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand from Austria while he was visiting Sarajevo. This was undoubtedly the event, which caused the chaos of the following month and the following four years. It is quite astounding that war between Austria and Serbia should not have broken out earlier as solely in the years between 1910 and 1914 there were seven political terrorist attacks against the political elite of the Habsburg Empire. The most prominent one being the attempted assassination on the Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the day the Austro- Hungarian parliament was opened in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This clearly shows Serbia’s aggravating attitude towards the Austrian empire. Not only did Serbian individuals show extremist views towards Austro- Hungary but these individuals were also backed and supported by the government. The group Unification or Death popularly known as the Black Hand was a terrorist society backed by the government, which fought for the unification of all Serbs. It saw Austro- Hungary’s annexation of Bosnia as a provocation and openly said that they would fight for Bosnia’s independence. The Black Hand’s support was even shown by Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia. The shows how much influence the organization had and that even the government encouraged terrorist actions against Austria, which were very likely to lead to a war. Lastly it is evident that the general public’s hate against the Austrians was so high that if Archduke Franz Ferdinand would not have been assassinated a different provocation going out from the Serbs would have started a great war. A Russian Liberal, who visited Serbia in 1908 was astounded by public’s hatred toward the Austrians. In his recollections he writes that the Serbs showed “a readiness to fight and victory seemed both easy and certain” against the Austrians this was so obvious that “to get into an argument over this would have been totally useless”. This once again shows Serbia’s clear anticipation and willingness to start a war with Austria, which would have in any case lead to a greater war.
            The point of this essay was not to answer the question of whether Germany should be blamed for WWI by saying yes or no and proving either but to look at three countries, which could be blamed for WWI and through this establish whether or not Germany can take on all the blame. This essay is limited to three countries however these countries all played significant roles in the build up towards WWI. In order to completely answer this question one would have to look at each countries actions individually and draw assumptions from there but this is an overwhelming task, which even historians fail to do. After looking at the roles of Germany, Serbia, and France in the build up towards The Great War I conclude that no one country can be blamed for such a complex war however that the actions of the individual countries accumulated to the escalations of the events in 1914.


From Paper 3 November 2004

For what reasons, and with what results, did Britain and France pursue a policy of appeasement in the 1930s?
 

Markscheme: Candidates should first identify what they understand by the term “appeasement” and then go on to analyze this definition in light of the policies/actions of the British and French governments. The traditional approach is that Chamberlain was duped by Hitler when they met and, by not taking a more aggressive stance, allowed Hitler free rein in Eastern Europe. Daladier was then convinced by Chamberlain to support him. More recent historiography maintains that Chamberlain had little choice for strategic reasons, because of the political climate in Britain and France, and actually bought time for Britain and France who could have done nothing about Czechoslovakia anyway. Appeasement also forced Stalin to sign the Nazi-Soviet Pact in order to try to delay a German offensive against Russia. Candidates who merely accept the traditional approach will need to support their arguments with solid evidence.
[0 to 7 marks] maximum for descriptive accounts of events in the 1930s.
[8 to 10 marks] for some mention of appeasement but only passing connection between this
and events.
[11 to 13 marks] for answers that include a more detailed account of events and which start to develop arguments either supporting or refuting the statement at a rather simplistic level.
[14 to 16 marks] for events/policies, linked to appeasement, where the line of argument is more clear and is supported by solid evidence although the analysis might not be fully developed.
[17+ marks] for answers that carefully select those policies/events which support/refute the statement and which provide a clear analysis of the relationship between it and the question.


Student Example:

On the 1st of September 1939, Hitler invaded Poland from the West, followed by an invasion from the East by the USSR. The end of appeasement had come and Britain and France finally declared war, putting a start to the Second World War. The British and French are often referred to as the “guilty men”, for having appeased Germany from 1919-1939, allowing Germany to breech the terms of Versailles, remilitarize, unite with Austria and annex Czechoslovakia, the British and French are deemed to have set the scene for a “preventable” second World War. However, historian Ruth Henig encourages the transformation of this rather simplistic view to a more encompassing one. She argues, “they were not ‘guilty men’” but rather “anxious and worried men...facing serious and complicated issues.” France and Britain’s domestic complications, as well as their failure to agree on a united policy towards Germany can support this argument.

During the 1930s, the British military, navy and air force were distraught “planning for three different wars”, according to historian Michael Howard whose work is focused on General Staffs and Diplomacy Before the Second World War. Not only was the British army equipped for a frontier war in India during this period of appeasement and havoc in Europe, but also between 1936-1939 more British troops were stationed in Palestine than available for Europe. Although the British air force was indeed planning a bombing offensive against Germany, its navy was planning a simultaneous war against Japan. The Chief of Staffs repeatedly warned Chamberlain during the 1930s that Britain did not have the military resources to contemplate war against Japan and Germany simultaneously if Italy was also hostile in the Mediterranean. Thus, when the annexation of Czechoslovakia occurred in March 1939, Britain simply did not have the means to intervene military, even if they wanted to. This led to the policy of appeasement being continued. However, it is also important to note that it was very difficult to “draw the line” as to where appeasement is acceptable and where it is not once it had begun, as Martin Gilbert shows so clearly in Roots of Appeasement. After all, until March 1939, Hitler’s aims had been in the framework of the 14 points, which although had not officially been granted to Germany, were generally acceptable terms for all other countries. German remilitarization in 1935 was deemed fair enough, as their country needed security in the form of defence, something all other countries already had. The Saarland plebiscite, Anschluss, and Sudetenland all counted more or less as self-determination, a Wilsonian ideal, once again a privilege most other countries in Europe were already benefiting from. Therefore, Britain was not yet sure of whether their military would even be necessary against Germany, as the malevolent nature of Hitler only became incessantly clear in March of 1939 by the time which Britain was not yet prepared to intervene.

 
On the other hand, there were the French, who according to Ruth Henig “took the view that British support was more crucial than obligations to Czechoslovakia or Poland,” justified by the fact that they were not prepared for a quick offensive. France was very much focused on the build up of the Maginot Line, which was not close to finish by the late 1930s. France realized that British aid would be vital if they were to intervene in Germany’s actions, due to the fact that widespread effects of the war had created short-term currency fluctuations, which hampered the restoration of international trade. As the entente powers had spent 2 and a1/2 times more than their opponents on the war, they now had substantial debt repayments mostly to the U.S.A, although France had also borrowed from Britain. These repayments heavily restricted their actions and their economy. After the example of Russia in 1917, the French were not prepared to go to war, as this would lead to further economic deterioration threatening France with a revolution. Thus despite the fact that France was fixated on Germany’s containment, it could not afford to go to war without what it called its most “selfish” ally, Britain, who was more focused on its empire during this period.

The underlining complication that ultimately allowed Hitler to take advantage of the situation in Europe and gain in confidence, is underlined in Ruth Henig’s quote: “ France...worked for German containment and strict treaty enforcement, and Britain for German conciliation and treaty revision.” Thus, although both powers were following a similar general aim, which was to prevent war as far as this was possible, their methods clashed dramatically. This can be better explained by AJP Taylor’s argument, that evoked much controversy in the time that in was published, “the [second world] war was implicit since the moment world war one ended” because of the failure of the war to either satisfy of crush Germany completely. This indeed was the result of the peace treaties, which were written by different countries with completely different levels of devastation after the war. Although Clemenceau did not achieve to “break Germany into 16 different pieces” through the Treaty of Versailles, French policies of keeping Germany crushed continued throughout the 1920s-1930s. These seriously conflicted with the British aim to rebuild Germany economically, as Germany had been a major pre-war trading partner for them, and they needed to regain this trading partner more desperately than ever after the economic situation they were in after World War One. This led to a remaining ambiguity in the treatment of Germany, such that Hitler was able “to take profit from the disarray”. The dependence of France on Britain for an intervention, and the dependence of Britain on Germany for economic improvement, led to a cycle of appeasement that escalated much quicker than Europe had expected, forcing the French and British to get involved in the last moment on September 1st when Hitler invaded Poland.


Though it is easy to argue that this invasion could have been prevented, this fact remains a debate amongst historians to this day. Though Allan Bullock argues that World War Two would not have broken out had Britain not appeased Germany since 1919, Keith Robbins (a historian writing in 1968, shortly after the fiery debate caused amongst historians by the publishing of AJP Taylor’s controversial new account of the origins of the Second World War) argues that Hitler “may have been disappointed that he was involved in the world war; he can hardly have been surprised.” This quote indicated that Hitler would have attempted to fulfil his expansionist aims no matter what, even if this required force, which in turn hints that the war would have occurred whether Hitler had been appeased or not. The idea that the war could have been localized if it had not been for appeasement still plays a vital role, however it is questionable whether Britain and France against Germany could have even won a localized war, in the economic and military situation they were in at the time. Hence, this essay must conclude that Ruth Henig’s argument is right, appeasement occurred due to “serious and complicated issues”, and it is unlikely that a different policy would have prevented completely prevented war at all.


 EXAMPLE TWO
“You may gain temporary appeasement by a policy of concession to violence, but you do not gain lasting peace that way,”[1] said Robert Anthony Eden, who was British Foreign Secretary from 1935 to 1955. But he resigned in the 30s because of his anger over appeasement! He was Foreign Secretary 1935–8, 1940–5, and then 1951–5. Please don’t use your essays to tell lies like that anymore. A typical example of appeasement could be that of Hitler in the 1930s. Since Germany left the League of Nations in 1933, Hitler started breaking the Treaty of Versailles, for instance, by rearming German army two years later which became his outset of territorial acquirements such as invasion of Rhineland and Austria in the following years. Britain and France therefore pursued a diplomatic policy of appeasement to prevent another outbreak of world war in the future. I don’t see where you get your “therefore”. France and Britain did not simply let Hitler have his own way in taking military actions but -since Neville Chamberlain became Britain’s prime minister- developed appeasement into a more eminent degree, for instance, ratifying Germany’s takeover of Sudetenland by Munich Agreement. As Sir Anthony Eden said, the outbreak of the Second World War was inevitable despite the efforts put into appeasement which aimed international peace, but the appeasement was not always proved to be bad.

The appeasement of Hitler acted as a catalyst of Hitler’s strength and ambitions for further territorial acquirement. After Hitler broke disarmament and left the League of Nations in 1933, he declared Germany’s rearmament in 1935. In the same year, Britain signed Anglo-German Naval Agreement with Germany which allowed Germany to have 35% of the Royal Navy’s fleet, giving Hitler an encouraging opportunity to strengthen German power. Furthermore, Britain and France were enabling Hitler to break two international treaties, Treaty of Versailles and Locarno Treaties, by not intervening Hitler for his invasion of Rhineland. France was not going to take action unless it had Britain’s assistance but as Britain viewed German action to be justified[2], (George Bernard Shaw described it as a "triumphant rescue of his country from the yoke the Allies imposed)"[3] Britain, who wanted to settle complaint of Germany and create balance of power, did not make any attempt to prevent Hitler’s violation and so neither did France. In fact Germany had a much weaker military force than France (evidence?) as AJP Taylor states that it would have taken 10 years for Germany to “become a formidable military power.”[4] German generals were disapproving of Hitler’s plan for its uncertainty[5] and even Hitler warned his soldiers to withdraw if the French were to fight back.[6] However, the nonintervention of France and Britain reassured Hitler that these countries would not prevent him from such aggressive actions like in Rhineland since their only focus was placed on the maintenance of peace without provoking any war. As a result this “triumphant rescue” was not simply limited to a rescue but was rather seemed to be a triumphant ignition point of Hitler’s territorial invasion. Jeffery Record, a professor at U.S. Air Force’s Air War College notes in his book that “With each act of appeasement, Hitler's appetite grew.”[7] Austria was easily taken over, Hitler once more breaking the Treaty of Versailles by the German-Austrian Anschluss. There were no more guarantees remaining in international treaties. Winston Churchill said, “What is the effect of this upon what is called the balance of power?”[8] He was correct, for Britain and France were offering Hitler too many chances than their action to be considered as merely ways to keep balance of power. In 1938, Neville Chamberlain, who became Prime Minister of Britain in 1937, made a conspicuous mark on appeasement with Munich Agreement. He was ratifying Germany’s takeover of Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia, which was an astonishing fact that Britain was not simply remaining nonchalant as usual but proposing to legalize the invasion. What made this agreement look worse was the noteworthy calibre of the land given. Sudetenland, although was not the entire Czechoslovakia, was containing important resources such as coal and -as the country’s defensive zone- had majority of border fortifications.[9] Czechoslovakia now lost the most important core region of its country and was geographically fragile. Moreover, Czechoslovakia’s high-developed arms industry was under German control. Simply by taking what the agreement has offered him, Hitler was not only expanding German territory but also its militaristic strength. With such acquirement, according to R.J. Overy, “German demands became more uncompromising,”[10] and it easily invaded the entire Czechoslovakia, having his first conquering success with non-German population, and Poland, giving Neville Chamberlain’s realization of the limitation to appeasement. Britain was the country which mostly contributed to the appeasement policy with its consolidated aim to prevent war but it consequentially made itself to declare war, not Germany. Appeasement, which aimed to keep peace by settlement of grievances of Germany, was thought to be meaningless for it failed to continue the peace but lead to another catastrophic war—The Second World War.

Besides, the Anglo-French appeasement, though somehow managing to satisfy Hitler, stirred up grievances and apprehension in other nations. Since Britain and France were in the collective security of the League of Nations was this really an organ of “collective security” at the time? , many nations turned out to be relying on these countries to be protected from Germany. For example, the Soviet Union, which feared Poland since its invasion of Soviet Union in 1920 (more lies) , was more scared for it was signing a pact with Germany, so it joined the League of Nations. However, as mentioned above, Germany was growing in its strength and the appeasement was beginning to be mistrusted. Britain had promised not to breach any treaty unilaterally in Stresa Front (1935), signed with France and Italy, but it did sign the Anglo-German Naval Agreement with Germany in the next year, allowing Germany to have stronger navy. Britain’s action against the Stresa Front made France and Italy to have suspicion of its position as appeaser because they thought Britain was helping Germany to grow stronger and more aggressive. Italy, who was invading Abyssinia, thought Britain was weak and it will not try to stop its action just like it did not for Hitler, and continued its invasion, seizing the capital of Abyssinia. France had once again disappointed at Britain when it rejected to help France fight against Hitler invading Rhineland, for it thought Hitler’s action was justified. In 1938, Germany invaded Sudetenland and in the next year, invaded the entire Czechoslovakia and Poland; Hitler was making his territorial expansion eastwards. Stalin could not rely on Britain or France at all; he had to find ways to protect his country. Soviet Union signed Nazi-Soviet Pact with Hitler, solving Hitler’s fear of having two-front war again like Germany did in the First World War. Jeffrey Record writes this pact was the product of “Anglo-French appeasement of Hitler.”[11] Gabriel Gorodetsky also states in his book Grand Delusion: Stalin and the German invasion of Russia that the pact was ‘rather the result of profound Soviet mistrust of Britain and France,’ not ‘a “stab in the back” action or revolutionary “blueprint” or the “alliance.” ’ [12] Germany, because of Stalin, was now free to attack the West as it did not have to worry about the East anymore. Munich Agreement bought a great deal of hatred from Czechoslovakia as it did not simply let Germany have Sudetenland and offer an opportunity to invade the country but more for the fact that it did so without engaging Czechoslovakia, the victim itself. Even right before his flight to Munich, Chamberlain telegraphed to Prague, saying “I shall have the interests of Czechoslovakia fully in my mind.”[13] However, this was completely proved to be a lie. To Edvard Benes, the President of Czechoslovakia, Britain and France were not “friends” but only “cowards” who “must be punished.”[14] The appeasement policy was providing Hitler chances to satisfy his desire of territorial expansion and simultaneously, turned many other nations’ viewpoint to be pessimistic. Britain was seen to be irresponsible and unsuitable to its position as appeaser and so was France. Furthermore, the Anglo-French appeasement was creating mistrust between France and Britain. Appeasement was not limited to two leading nations of it, Britain and France, but required support form a wide range of area since it was a diplomatic policy that aimed to achieve global peace, not satisfying Hitler individually. However, it was only focusing on Germany, and by causing suspicion and rage in other nations, it could not earn much support and was therefore doomed to fail.

Nonetheless, the Anglo-French appeasement was making contribution to a maximum extent to prevent war and in doing so helped Britain to prepare war against Germany in the future. In Britain’s perspective, the Treaty of Versailles was being too harsh on Germany and it thought such aggressive German actions were only possible due to its grievances produced from the injustice of the treaty. For instance, the Disarmament Conference was only making Germany to disarm more and more while highly militarized nations such as France were not even disarming until fifth year and then did so only in terms of number of soldiers.[15] So for Hitler to break disarmament was not an unfair pursuit of his own interest but settlement of the injustice of Western powers. When Germany started rearmament, Britain seemed not to stop Hitler, but in fact Britain did by negotiating with him by giving him a limited growth of arms with Anglo-German Naval Agreement. The agreement might have been regarded as an opportunity for Hitler to grow German military strength but Britain was offering a limit to it, without its presence, Germany would have been able to rearm with no such limitation. There were also plausible reasons for Britain to allow Germany invading Rhineland, Austria and Sudetenland. Britain thought these lands were, if no coercive restriction was set by the Treaty of Versailles, supposed to belong to Germany. There were 6 million Germans in Austria, who were forbidden to reunify with Germany due to Treaty of Versailles; 3 million in Czechoslovakia, who were ignored.[16] The demilitarization of Rhineland was also set by the treaty in 1919 and Britain considered German reoccupation of it merely as returning Germany’s “own backyard.”[17] In fact Britain did not always let Germany use violation. When Spanish civil War broke out, Britain and France organized Non-Intervention Committee and Germany joined it, though was a lie, to stay as neutral country. [18] Germany later broke its promise and fought in the war by joining forces with Italy. Considering this perspective, it was Italy that made Hitler more ambitious, not Britain or France, who simply put efforts and tried to stop Hitler being too violent. When Hitler tried to dismember Czechoslovakia and rejected to listen to Britain to stop its action, Chamberlain flew to Germany to meet Hitler in person, which was the first time of a British prime minister’s flight. This, in addition to France’s decision not to fight, convinced Hitler to sign Munich Agreement and promise that it would be his “last territorial demand.” He could have attempted to invade the entire Czechoslovakia but Britain succeeded in stopping him and make an end-mark of his territorial invasion by giving only a part of the country. Neville Chamberlain was not a person who could foresee the future in which Hitler would break his promise and though Hitler broke the agreement, Chamberlain surely has to be given a credit since he put great amount of efforts to stop Hitler’s aggression as much as he could. A country which gave this credit was the United States, an isolationist who, at the initial stage, was unwilling to intervene in European affairs. The US, despite its position as a neutral country, was now trying to supply arms and raw materials to Britain and France.[19] More importantly, this help was largely due to the high moral ground built by Chamberlain’s efforts. More I think to its hope to get money. Though it was beyond people’s attention, Chamberlain was the leading figure in rearming Britain during the years of appeasement,[20]  which meant he was also caring about the protection and strength of its own country and wanted them to be secured. Some nations like France and members of British Foreign Office regretted for allowing Rhineland invasion and thought they had to fight against Germany with force. According to AJP Taylor, Germany had strong government and it could “again make Germany a great military power.” [21] However, Britain did not have sufficient economy to increase arms expenditure nor any armed force,[22] and it has been mentioned, the US was isolationist and France was a country which relied on Britain. If the war was to break out anyway, it is very clear that it was much better to break out in the year it actually did, because without this period of rearmament and the support from the U.S., the situation might have looked quite different, in a bad way. Shortly, the appeasement helped as much as it could to prevent war and though it failed to, it had given Britain high morality during its years of process. With such moral ground, Britain succeeded in being supported by the US and making itself stronger enough to fight in a war.

In consequence, the Anglo-French appeasement of Hitler in the 1930’s, though a failure as a result, at least was a genuine attempt to maintain peace by solving complaints of a nation. During its years, it was seen unsuccessful due to the fact that it initially settled grievances of Hitler but later made Hitler’s desire bold and even provided opportunities for him to fulfil it. Many nations were beginning to be skeptical about the appeasement and Britain. They felt it was threatening their countries as it made Germany more aggressive and started to seek ways to protect their own countries, some persuading Britain to take action against Hitler, and some deserting hope of being protected by Britain and directly going to support Hitler. Nonetheless, the appeasement was, for quite many times, setting limits on Germany’s aggressive action, such as those on arms growth and the area it was going to take over. Moreover, by offering Britain high moral ground, the appeasement made the country deserve to get military support from the US and it gave enough time for Britain to strengthen itself by rearmament. Therefore, no matter how the consequence was, the appeasement should not always be seen with criticism but to be considered with addition of compliment, for it did settle grievances of Germany and many times did made contributions to the prevention war.

FOOTNOTES: [1] http://thinkexist.com/quotes/anthony_eden/  [2] AJP Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1961, pg. 103  [3] http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,958452-5,00.html  [4] AJP Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1961, pg. 104  [5]http://www.ellonacademy.org.uk/subjects/Departments/history/Inter_Advanced_Higher_pages/Appeasement%20notes/rhrineland.htm  [6] http://anonymouse.org/cgi-bin/anon-www.cgi/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remilitarization_of_the_Rhineland  [7] Jeffrey Record, Appeasement Reconsidered: Investigating the Mythology of the 1930s, DIANE Publishing, 2005, pg. 2  [8] http://www.ers.north-ayrshire.gov.uk/History/Sources.htm  [9] http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/czechoslovakia_1938.htm  [10] R.J. Overy, The origins of the Second World War, Longman, 1998, pg. 66  [11] Jeffrey Record, Appeasement Reconsidered: Investigating the Mythology of the 1930s, DIANE Publishing, 2005, pg. 39  [12] http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3686/is_/ai_n8915701  [13] AJP Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1961, pg. 228  [14] Igor Lukes, Czechoslovakia Between Stalin and Hitler: The Diplomacy of Edvard Benes in the 1930’s, Oxford University Press, 1996, pg. 262  [15] International Military Tribunal, Trial of German Major War Criminals, William S Hein & Co, 2001, Pg. 284  [16] AJP Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1961, pg. 172-173  [17] http://www.blacksacademy.net/content/3116.html  [18] R.J. Overy, The origins of the Second World War, Longman, 1998, pg. 26  [19] ibid., pg. 70  [20] AJP Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1961, pg. 172  [21] ibid. pg. 102  [22] ibid., pg. 102