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Appeasement Essay

4292 words - 18 pages

Did the policy of appeasement go to any great lengths toward stopping the outbreak of war or did it simply delay the inevitable?

The task of explaining why appeasement, has been continuously addressed by historians over the years. To date, there is still no single cause identified. Nonetheless there is however a general consensus amongst historians that the frightful events of world war one, distilled a sense of fear and regret amongst British society, and consequently Britain strived to prevent any future war, through whatever means necessary. In the aftermath of World War 1, lay a mutual understanding between the British government and society that never again should a catastrophe such ...view middle of the document...

Hence the reduction of arms and peace became vote winners in elections. Appeasement can be defined as " a disposition to avoid conflict by judicious concession and negotiation". Neville Chamberlain noted that the British public would not wish nor accept another war. Therefore the British government sought to follow a policy of appeasement. However, everyone did not share the acceptance of the policy of appeasement. Looking on with hindsight many historians have condemned the actions of Chamberlain and his government. Especially the Liberal party of the time who were the most consistant critics of the policy. As it became evident that the policy of appeasement had failed in 1939 and that Britain would in fact go to war, the Liberal Leader Sir Archibald Sinclair expressed his feelings on the achievements of appeasement " We have eaten dirt in vain" This statement is clearly expressing the fact that Britain has tolerated the deceitful acts of Germany to no avail or successes. That the policy of appeasement was deemed to fail from the onset. Concluding that the policy was pointless as it only prolonged the inevitable. In order to make an informed conclusion to whether or not appeasement was the correct policy to pursue, it is essential to look at the events and debates leading up to the out-break of world war 2. The system of collective security, which was in part demanded by the British Public, came in the form of The League Of Nations. This was to be a system in which international disputes between nations would be settled by negotiation. The responsibility of the League was to act as an arbitrator in disputes between nations and to provide effective collective security against any form of military aggression. There were mixed opinions towards the League. Alan Sharp had referred to the League of Nations as a "compromise agreement, which pleased none of the parties involved." It was also referred to by Marshall Foch, the military commander-in-chief of the allied armies at the end of the war as, "this is not peace. It is an armistice for twenty years". These statements clearly show the harsh realities of the League. It was indeed a harsh peace, which did not completely satisfy the needs of all countries involved. Many feel it was essentially an opportunity for France to impose harsh repercussions on Germany for the destruction of her country. The main provisions of the League were The German army was to be limited to 100,000 and conscription banned. The navy was also to be reduced to a coastal force and the building of submarines and battleships were forbidden so too, was a German air force. She was also to lose European territory including Alsace-Lorraine, Eupen, Malmedy, North Schleswig, West Prussia, Poznania, and parts of Upper Silesia and Memel, and all her non-European colonies were to be placed under the control of the League of Nations. The Saar coalmining region was to be placed under the leagues control until 1935 and all foreign currency...

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