Was the policy of appeasement a responsible/ reasonable policy to pursue in the 1930’s?
Table of Contents
Plan of the Investigation
Summary of Evidence
Evaluation of Sources
Section A: Plan of the Investigation
Appeasement is the policy of trying to alleviate someone or something by adhering to their demands in return for peace. The most notable inventor and user of the policy was Neville Chamberlin, Britain’s Prime Minister leading up to World War 2. The policy was heavily associated with World War 2, especially the events that lead up to it. Then and now many people have supported the policy as well as many have had great issues with it. The plan of investigation is to compare both supporting and opposing arguments for the policy of appeasement. The investigation will include the four viewpoints of Winston Churchill, R.A. Butler, A.L. Rowse, and Gerhard L. Weinberg from the book An Age of Conflict: Readings in Twentieth Century European History. As well as many other valuable primary and secondary sources listed in section F.
Word Count: 139
Section B: Summary of the Evidence
The policy that began with the promise Hitler made to Germany to protect the plenty of Germans in neighboring countries, followed by the union and annexation of Austria (The Anschluss), and then the take over of the Sudetenland. The Munich Conference held during September of 1938 included Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain. The Conference was held concerning the annexation by Germany of the Sudetenland, where the population was mainly German speaking people who were believed to be under oppression. Germany was able to invade and annex this land with no repercussions because of the policy of appeasement. France and Britain wanted nothing more than to avoid another world war and to make that happen, they had to keep Germany happy. “On their return to London and Paris, Chamberlain and Daladier were cheered by huge crowds for having prevented war”1. Following this, Hitler agreed to not asking for anymore land which left France and Britain feeling successful at finding peace. Many people had positive and negative comments towards this new policy implemented by France and Britain. The policy received enormous amounts of support at the time because people genuinely believed what Dalidier and Chamberlain were doing was a heroic prevention of war. But following 1939 there was much confusion as to why the policy was used instead of just taking action against Germany. “No strategy in the history of European international affairs in the twentieth century had more disastrous consequences”.2 Winston Churchill was very famously opposed to the policy of appeasement for a couple reasons that he strongly believed in. First and foremost, Churchill often referred to a guide in which relied on, honor. “There is however, one helpful guide, namely, for a nation to keep its word and to act in accordance with its treaty obligations to
Derfler, Leslie. "Appeasement: The Munich Pact ." In An Age of conflict: readings in twentieth century European history. (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers, 1990), 163 2
Derfler, Leslie, 164
allies.”3 Churchill believed that France abandoned Czechoslovakia in it’s weakest state and that sort of deed could not be defended. R. A. Butler also speaks about appeasement and on the contrary to Churchill, Butler agreed with appeasement and believed that what had to be done, was done. Butler doesn’t believe that Chamberlain was unaware that Hitler had more underlying plans than just occupying Sudetenland. He believed that Chamberlain knew that giving up Sudetenland to Germany would be a small price to pay for the current prevention of war. Butler believed Chamberlain was only trying to postpone a war because of the lack of preparation. Butler brings in the view of Sir John...
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