Appeasement Policy

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Appeasement was the policy followed by the British, and later by the French, of avoiding war with aggressive powers such as Japan, Italy and Germany, by giving way to their demands, provided they were not too unreasonable. There were two distinct phases of appeasement. From the mid-1920s until 1937, there was a vague feeling that war must be avoided at all cost, and Britain and sometimes France drifted along, accepting the various acts of aggression and breaches of Versailles. When Neville Chamberlain became British Prime Minister in May 1937, he gave appeasement new drive. He believed in taking the initiative. He would find out what Hitler wanted and show him that reasonable claims could be met by negotiation rather than by force.
The policy was thought essential to avoid war. Many also felt that Germany had genuine grievances as it had been treated too harshly at Versailles. Since, the League of Nations seemed to be helpless, Chamberlain believed that only way to settle disputes was by personal contact between leaders. The threat of Communist Russia was taken to be greater than the danger of Germany. The main basis for appeasement was the belief that Britain ought not to take any military action in case it led to a full-scale war, for which Britain was totally unprepared.
Appeasement failed with Hitler because it convinced him of the complacency and weakness of Britain and France to such an extent that he was willing to risk attacking Poland, thereby starting the Second World War.
A good example of Appeasement was the fact that France did not mobilize troops to stop the German re-occupation of Rhineland. Also, neither the British nor France did anything decisive to stop the Anschluss. The ultimate act of appeasement was the Munich Conference where Chamberlain was so desperate to avert war that he simply let Hitler occupy the Sudentenland. In fact, he was so pleased with his ‘achievement’ that when he arrived back in Britain after the conference, he waved the

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