Role of Appeasement in World War II

Pages: 5 (2372 words) Published: September 29, 2014
“ Appeasement created the opportunity for Hitler to start World War II.” To what extent do you agree with the statement? Explain you answer.

The First World War ended in an Allied victory, but the economies of Britain and France were shattered. In order to rebuild their economies, they had to disarm rapidly. The First World War had also given rise to strong anti-war sentiments, especially in Britain and France. Germany, who was blamed entirely for the outbreak of the First World War, received harsh reparations and was forced to sign the unfair Treaty of Versailles, which made Germany lose territory, as well as limited her armaments. This sparked resentment in the Germans who felt injustice that the war was entirely blamed on them which was prominently evident in Adolf Hitler who rose to power as Fuhrer of Germany in 1933. The highly nationalistic Nazi leader came into power a goal: to make secure and to preserve the racial community and to enlarge it. He hated the Versailles settlement and wanted to destroy it, hence fore building up the army and recovering lost territories to preserve German race. Therefore the in contrast to the Allies, Germany under Adolf Hitler was aggressive and influenced by revisionism. In attempt to preserve peace and not start a war with Germany, Britain and France, the two great powers gave in to Germany instead of standing against the aggressive Hitler. Appeasement is a term often applied to the overly acquiescent foreign policy practiced by Neville Chamberlain when dealing with Hitler’s Nazi regime. However, instead of preserving peace that Britain and France desperately wanted, it ironically allowed Hitler who did not have concrete plans on how to achieve his goals, to exploit their weakness and used situations in his advantage, which then resulted in the Second World War. While some may agree to this stand, others argue that Hitler intended a major war right from the beginning as seen from his book Mein Kampf and later on plans verbalized at the Hossbach conference. His aggression threatened to destroy the balance of power, which made the Second World War inevitable, whereby appeasement cannot be blamed as the creation of opportunity to start a war except that it made things easier for Hitler. However, the sources which supports the latter are not fully reliable and consistent, showing evidences that Hitler had no cut and dry views on how he was going to proceed but instead merely reacted to situations that occur. Therefore, I agree to the statement that appeasement created the opportunity for Hitler to start World War II.

Indeed, appeasement created the opportunity for Hitler to start World War II; the opportunistic Hitler received encouragement from the passive Britain and France. Chamberlain’s overly acquiescent foreign policies towards Germany emboldened Hitler to become more aggressive and make increasingly unacceptable demands, which would result in a dominant Germany. He did not intend to cause a major war but expected a short and localized war, which he had no plans on how to so. However, he was a brilliant opportunist, taking advantages of the mistakes of the appeasers and hence was able to successfully remilitarize or invade other countries, which eventually created war when Germany was upsetting the balance of power. For example, in March 1935, Hitler used the excuse of British increasing their air force and France extending her conscription from 12-18 months to explain the reintroduction of conscription. Hitler buildup his peacetime army to 36 divisons (6000000 men) which was 6 times more that was allowed by the Treaty of Versailles. This was the first successful breach of Versailles whereby British and France took no action because they felt that the demands of the treaty was unfair to Germany and that since everyone was undergoing re-armament, his demands were not unreasonable. Subsequently, in March 1936 Hitler sent troops to the demilitarized zone Rhineland. He...
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