The Policy of Appeasement as the Most Important Reason for the Outbreak of the Second World War
The outbreak of the Second World War had many causes, one of which was
the policy of appeasement which was one of the most important causes.
The policy of appeasement, between 1936 – 1939 was the policy of
giving in to Hitler’s demands to prevent another conflict. This was a
one of the major causes of the Second World War as Britain and France
could have stopped Hitler much earlier on, for example the invasion of
the Sudetenland, but instead they allowed Hitler to take what he
wanted in 1938 when the Sudetenland was handed to him. This policy of
giving in to ...view middle of the document...
anticipated that Hitler was going to invade Poland (as Germany had
surrounded Poland on three fronts after taking Czechoslovakia) and
Britain and France promised to protect Poland from a German attack. On
1 September 1939 the German army invaded Poland and on 3 September
Britain declared war on Germany, shortly afterwards France followed.
However, Britain and France would not have gone to war with Germany
over Poland if Hitler had not invaded Czechoslovakia and if Hitler
hadn’t occupied the Rhineland in an attempt to break the Treaty of
The German resentment of the Treaty of Versailles was a major cause of
the Second World War. The problem was that the treaty was a compromise
that satisfied no one and especially angered the Germans who felt it
was unfair. They believed that they were not the only country who
started the war yet Britain and France had imposed Article 231, the
war guilt clause, upon them. This war guilt clause in the Treaty of
Versailles meant that Britain and France could demand war reparations
from Germany and these were very high (£6600 million) and future
generations would still have to pay and suffer for a war they had
never witnessed. Some Germans did not even believe that they had lost
the war, expecting peace negotiations instead of the imposed “diktat”.
So many Germans grew to resent the Treaty of Versailles and were
seeking revenge in another war, this is why many Germans supported
Hitler as he promised to abolish the hated treaty. Ofcourse, if Hitler
had not come to power in
1933 there would not have been a war as there would not have been an
expansion of the German empire and so nothing would have triggered
Britain and France declaring war on Germany. Hitler also came to power
as Germany was suffering heavily from the Great Depression. Germany
had been blamed for starting the First World War, the Germans had to
pay the high reparations and its economy was in ruins with many
without jobs. The German people by 1933 were willing to follow anyone
who promised a better life and to get rid of the Treaty of Versailles
and so they followed Hitler.
The failure of the League of Nations to prevent war could also have
been a cause as the League was not prepared to use force to keep
peace. If the League had not failed then the Second World War would
not have started. The League of...